The Campaign Spot

Bob Shrum Hopes You Don’t Notice the Census

Bob Shrum, you’re so predictable. His last words on Meet the Press yesterday:

And by the way, Mike’s right about the economy. The next big thing to watch for are the March job numbers which come out in early April. Show significant job creation. Start recalculating the midterm.

Gee, what could make him suddenly think the March jobs numbers would be important? The Cleveland Plain-Dealer lays out some numbers:

800,000: The number of people the Census Bureau anticipates hiring for temporary work in April and May. The Census Bureau in mid-March will mail Census forms to each household in the United States. Forms not returned will result in door-to-door visits by census workers.

0.5 percentage point: The Commerce Department’s estimate (pdf) of the reduction in the nation’s unemployment rate if all 800,000 people hired are from the unemployed ranks. But if just 75 percent were unemployed, 10 percent were taking on second jobs and 15 percent weren’t previously in the labor market, the drop would be 0.4 percentage point.

So the Census Bureau is going to artificially and temporarily lower the unemployment rate by half a percentage point or so, and Bob Shrum hopes none of us notice this, and we consider it to be evidence of a solid recovery.

Most political hacks are transparent, but Bob Shrum actually lets ultraviolet light pass through, too.

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