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Census seeks 1,000 Bemidji workers

With Bemidji serving as a U.S. Census Bureau regional office, preparations are underway to hire 1,000 people.

"This is the largest civilian mobilization of workers in the history of the United States" Dennis Johnson, regional director, said in a statement about national efforts to gear up for the decennial census.

The hiring will take place between now and next spring in the Bemidji area and surrounding counties, the U.S. Census Bureau said. The actual Census count, taken every 10 years, is April 1.

"This strong economic shot in the arm is like having several factories open up in this area," Johnson said. "Up to a total of approximately 1,000 people will be on staff during peak times."

Johnson said they involve good-paying, temporary jobs for the field positions of recruiters, crew leaders, field supervisors, census takers and census clerks. Amount of pay depends on position and location. Work-related mileage is reimbursed. There may be some opportunities for advancement., he added.

Those seeking jobs can apply by calling the Census Bureau's toll-free Jobs Line at 1-866-861-2010.

The most important determination from the census will be the reapportionment of U.S. House members, which is based on equal population in each of the nation's 435 seats.

Minnesota is on the bubble, and could lose one of its eight congressional seats if population slips.

While U.S. Census estimates are out this week, last week the federal government issued its 2010 statistical abstract, which shows trends among the states.

It shows that Minnesota gained population during the decade, about 6.1 percent, but populations gains in the Southwest may still send a Minnesota seat to that region.

The report shows only two states lost population during the decade -- North Dakota and Louisiana. North Dakota lost 0.1 percent. Since it has only one U.S. House member, it cannot lose that member.

The great gains are in Nevada with 30.1 percent, Arizona at 26.7 percent, Utah with 22.5 percent and Idaho at 17.8 percent.

The statistical abstract shows the percentage of Minnesotans with a high school degree or more increased by 3.1 percent over the decade, to 91 percent, as reported by Minnesota Public Radio last week. Only Wyoming at 91.2 percent was better. Texas is the worst, at 79.1 percent.

In the first six years of the decade, Minnesota revenue increased almost 26 percent, MPR reported from the abstract. Over the same period, state spending increased 26.5 percent.

Minnesota state workers increased by 6.8 percent during the decade. Local government employment dropped by 1 percent. State worker earnings increased 23.5 percent, while city and county worker earnings increased about 24 percent through 2007, MPR said.

In current dollars, Minnesotans personal income rose 41 percent in this decade. Adjusted for inflation, the increase is 16 percent, MPR said. Minnesota ranks 10th in the nation in personal income, a rank that hasn't changed over the decade.