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Jobless count on census work

Joe Napsha
| Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010

Laid-off construction worker Greg Gazetsky of Long Branch in Washington County has learned that good job opportunities are hard to find.

"There's nothing good (paying) out there. I'd do anything, but most of the jobs are paying pretty low," Gazetsky, said Tuesday at the Monessen District Library.

Gazetsky, 56, was joined by about 60 other job seekers applying for a U.S. Census Bureau job. They took a 30-minute exam as part of the application process for one of the part-time or full-time temporary positions helping to count the people living in Western Pennsylvania.

"It's nice to hear that they're looking to hire someone now," said Gazetsky, who has been laid off from his laborer's job since October.

The jobs range in pay from $15 an hour to $17 an hour, which is more than the non-government work he has been pursuing, he said.

The Pittsburgh area's jobless rate fell in November to 7.9 percent, and Gazetsky is among the 95,100 people still looking for work in the seven-county region.

The Census Bureau will fill hundreds of jobs -- crew leaders, census takers, recruiting assistants and clerks -- for the agency's offices in Pittsburgh, Beaver Falls, Greensburg and Altoona, said Pam Golden, a spokeswoman for the agency's Pittsburgh office.

Some jobs will be filled this month and February, but the majority will be hired in the spring, Golden said.

The number of jobs and their duration has not been determined, she said. That will depend upon how many census questionnaires, which people will receive from the bureau in March, are completed and returned.

Another job seeker, Gary Jones, 53, of Monessen, said he has not been able to find good-paying job since Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp. eliminated his job when it shutdown its Monessen steel mill in 1986.

"This is real important for me," Jones said.

Bryan Anthony, 31, of Charleroi is looking for a "bridge job" that will allow him to earn money while he continues his search for a work. He recently earned an associate degree in the information technology.

"I've got to find something in between. The economy is horrible now," Anthony said.

Several students from the nearby Douglas Education Center in Monessen were seeking a census job as well, including Jennifer Falcone, 22, of Monessen.

"Whatever I can get (I will take). Money is money," said Falcone, who came from New York City to study in the school's special effects make-up program.

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