By TINA IRGANG
WASHINGTON (Sept. 9, 2009)—The Census Bureau will open 11,350 temporary census jobs in Maryland this fall, for everything from staffing offices to performing field work for the next decennial survey, bureau spokeswomen said.
The next hiring phase will begin in mid-November, with another scheduled for spring 2010, spokeswoman Lisa Cochran said.
The Data Capture Center in Essex, Md., alone is expected to hire 2,500 to 3,000 people, said Sheila Collins, a spokeswoman for Lockheed Martin. Lockheed will operate the center through a subcontractor. It is one of only three in the nation, and its main task will be to process questionnaires as they are returned, Collins said.
Jobs will also be available at five Maryland census offices scheduled to open this fall in Easton, Rockville, La Plata, Towson and Catonsville. Three offices are already open in Baltimore, Frederick and Largo. Census jobs will range from full-time management positions in local offices to short-term positions as field workers, with hourly pay starting at $13, according to Census Bureau information.
The first hiring phase in Maryland earlier this year produced an unusually well-qualified pool of applicants, Census Bureau spokeswoman Sylvia Ballinger said.
"With the economy the way it is, we get lawyers and master's degree holders who are out of work. And we're happy to provide jobs to tide them over."
Applicants for census jobs tend to be a diverse group, Ballinger said.
"It really runs the gamut. Even retirees are coming back into the fray."
Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., encouraged all Marylanders to apply and said the jobs "will be a help to families suffering from the economic crunch who need a little help until that next opportunity arrives."
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates Maryland's jobless rate at 7.3 percent for July, the most recent month for which data is available. This is below the national rate of 9.4 percent, but significantly higher than July 2008's rate of 4.4 percent.
Baltimore economist and CEO of Sage Policy Inc. Anirban Basu said the temporary jobs "come at exactly the right time."
"These jobs do serve as a bridge between the depth of unemployment in 2009 and the presumed recovery expected in 2010," Basu said.
Potential applicants may prepare now by taking a 28-question practice test online at http://2010.census.gov/2010census, Ballinger said. The test evaluates basic math, reading and organizational skills. The bureau has also set up a toll-free jobs line at 1-866-861-2010, where Marylanders may begin the application process by scheduling a testing appointment in November.
Capital News Service contributed to this report.