Thousands of $15/hr jobs available ahead of 2020 Census in Triangle area

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- With unemployment hovering at around just 3 percent in Wake County the federal Census Bureau is having a hard time filling the 10,000 workers it needs in the Raleigh Area Census Office for the 2020 headcount.

Right now it has hired just 6,000 workers and Wake County's planning director is concerned.

"It's for the next ten years. That's why every person counts and why we are marketing and promoting as much as we can to make sure that everybody participates in our community so that we get what our community needs," Tim Maloney told ABC11.

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He fears that if every single person in the county isn't counted, Wake won't get its fair share of federal funds - millions of dollars each year.

And having enough census takers is a crucial element of an accurate count.

The folks at NCWorks are doing what they can to help fill the jobs.

Ken Gathers, who heads up that office, told ABC11, "We're constantly promoting the census employment to all of our job seekers."

The NCWorks Raleigh office serves Wake and Johnston counties.

Census workers from the Raleigh Area Office will fan out in those two counties in 2020 and four others - Franklin, Vance, Granville and Person.

The 2010 census took place when the country was recovering from the Great Recession and unemployment was high.

But in 2020 unemployment in Wake County is around 3 percent and that's the big reason the Census Bureau is 4,000 workers short in its Raleigh office.

RELATED: 2020 Census: How unaccounted children affect your community

"I didn't realize there was a manpower shortage. That's kind of surprising," Raleigh resident Charles Harris said as he sat in front of a computer at NC Works.

He added, "Been out of work several months and when I saw the census I said that sounds like something I'd be interested in."

He picked census jobs flyer from a kiosk at the front of the office that holds other promotional material from the Census Bureau.

A weekly census job fair is also held here.

"Salaries for these positions are very competitive. They start at 15 upward to $19 an hour. It does allow for flexible schedules, overtime. So it does allow individuals who may be underemployed to find supplemental employment or individuals who are between employment to definitely have something to definitely fill that gap," Gathers said

And when Harris heard how much the jobs could pay he was even more interested.

"That's good pay especially, you know, if you're unemployed," he said.

Interested in finding a Census job? Click here for more information.

Wake County's planning director hopes all the jobs will be filled by spring.

Tim Maloney noted that Wake residents who take the jobs will also be giving back to their fellow citizens.

"You're helping your community and getting paid for it as we try to achieve as best and as accurate of a census count here in Wake County. That means more money in federal distributions back to our community."
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