Census

Republican Bill Would Get Rid of Economic Indicators

Would prevent the Census bureau from conducting surveys except for the decennial population count

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WASHINGTON—A group of Republicans are cooking up legislation that could give President Barack Obama an unintentional assist with disagreeable unemployment numbers—by eliminating the key economic statistic altogether.

The bill, introduced last week by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), would bar the U.S. Census Bureau from conducting nearly all surveys except for a decennial population count. Such a step that would end the government's ability to provide reliable estimates of the employment rate. Indeed, the government would not be able to produce any of the major economic indices that move markets every month, said multiple statistics experts, who were aghast at the proposal.