The jobs are temporary, but they pay $18 an hour and there are lots of them — with too few applicants.

The Berkshire Eagle  reports every 10 years, the federal government hires more than half a million people to help it count how many people live in the United States.

Believe it or not, that translates to 833 jobs in Berkshire County.

Mark Maloy, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission staffer who leads the countywide Complete Count Committee, said that, as of this week, about 250 people had applied for census jobs in the region.

To apply, people 18 and older can go online to 2020census.gov/jobs or call 855-562-2020. The jobs start in early 2020 and will run for several weeks. Candidates are encouraged to have cars but do not need them if they have access to public transit.

Olson, the census official, said the government marked a milestone last week when it confirmed the validity of 50 million addresses in 1.1 million census blocks. For that, the bureau hired 22,000 people, Olson said.

The next step ramps up the challenge. The bureau hopes to receive 2.7 million applications for the 500,000 jobs it will fill in 2020 for the actual count.

That work will involve chasing after people who did not complete census documents mailed to addresses across the country — and in Berkshire County.

People hired as "enumerators" will work about 20 to 25 hours a week and set their own schedules. Candidates willing to work evenings and weekends are particularly needed, Olson said in the census event this week, because that's when people are home.

It takes about 30 minutes to apply online. The process includes a mandatory check of a candidate's background, including criminal records.

 

Candidates for census jobs, though, must be U.S. citizens. They also must have valid Social Security numbers, email addresses and access to a computer for online training. Men must be registered with the Selective Service System or have an exemption if born after Dec. 31, 1959.

Candidates can hold other jobs, but that work cannot conflict with the census positions, according to the bureau.