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General Update

The 2018 End-to-End Census Test is now in peak operations and all systems are functioning smoothly. This is an important development. We learned last Fall that our reengineered approach to Address Canvassing is sound, and our automated field management systems—including full support of payroll and administration operations—functioned effectively in many different geographic situations including areas with low internet connectivity. Our public facing support systems supporting internet and telephone response also are working well, just as they did in the 2017 Census Test. The big news this month is that with Nonresponse Followup fully underway (since May 9), we can report that the field management systems for case management, including the delivery of NRFU workloads to the enumerators and the collection and transmission of data on the handled devices, have been deployed with only minor glitches.

One clear learning is that recruiting and hiring the field staff necessary to support NRFU and other operations will be challenging. We fell short of our goal of fielding 900 core enumerators, although the 700 we have in the field are the getting the job done. We will be looking closely at our recruiting and hiring strategies as we prepare for the 2020 Census because hiring the temporary staff we need is tougher than we expected due to the strength of the economy.

We face a second potential challenge in leasing the field offices (called Area Census Offices) necessary to manage our field operations.  It is taking longer than we planned to secure leases for the 40 “wave 1” ACOs needed for early operations.  These offices must be fully operational by January 2019.  As of May 31, 34 have a lease award, two have an occupancy agreement signed, and four have space identified and a pending lease award. The Census Bureau is working closely with the General Services Administration in order to obtain office space through all leasing processes that are available, up to and including the more time-intensive traditional leasing process. All 40 of the Wave 1 ACOs are scheduled to open between January and March 2019. The remaining 208 ACOs, “wave 2”, are scheduled to open between June and September 2019. The lease status for the Wave 2 ACOs is on track.

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