Christine Egan, a 31-year-old massage therapist, says her census job offered shelter from the economic storm last year. “The economy was terrible; there was nothing,” she says. “I’ve already gone through ‘horrific,’ so I’m immunized.” She smiles, optimism almost extending to her eyes. “It must be better now, right?”
When the Census Bureau hired upward of 700,000 Americans over the last two years — most in the last six months — it landed more experienced workers with more sophisticated skills than any time in recent memory. This was the unintended upside of the nastiest recession of the last 70 years.