WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The U.S. Census Bureau needs to hire 500,000 people for jobs across the country in the next few months to ensure the 2020 population count is carried out accurately and on time.

Dale Kelly, the chief of the field division with the Census Bureau, said the positions include census takers, supervisors and office positions.

“For our census takers, their task is really to go door-to-door for people who don’t self respond,” said Kelly.

The Census Bureau is opening 248 satellite offices around the country and some of the new hires will need special skillsets.

“It’s important that we hire people who will work in those communities because they know their neighbors, they speak that language they are that local voice,” Kelly said.

But hiring hundreds of thousands of workers in just a few months is proving to be a serious challenge, in part because of the low unemployment rate.

The bureau said it’s recruiting people who are already employed and want a second job. They’re also looking at students and retirees looking for extra income, as well as seasonal employees who can start after the holidays.

U.S. Census Bureau workers. (NEXSTAR)

Kelly said the positions are more than just jobs: they’re critical to the partnership between local communities and the federal government.

“It determines the flow of federal funding — approximately $675 billion a year that flows to communities,” he said.

That money goes toward projects like improving local schools, roads and hospitals.

The census results also determine how congressional seats are divided between the states.

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