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From AEAStat staff:
 
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/01/21/2020-00842/information-collection-activities-comment-request
 
QCEW Business Supplement (QBS): BLS announces its plan to create a new mini-survey of a sample of businesses (N = 45,000) on rotating topics--the first is business outsourcing. Through the QBS, the BLS will be able to capture information on the US economy in a more efficient and timely manner than is currently possible. The QBS will allow BLS to quickly collect information so that stakeholders and data users can understand the impact of specific events on the US economy as they occur, improving the relevancy of the data.  

The initial survey will focus on the ways employers contract for services with other employers, or individuals. For example, employers may use the services of other companies or individuals to maintain their computers or networks, manufacture their products, for customer outreach activities, or facilities maintenance rather than their own employees. The draft initial QBS is available at https://www.dropbox.com/s/3w4zuv6p6zuz054/2020_QBS_Survey_Business_Functions_Draft_01212020.docx?dl=0  

BLS will use the Annual Refiling Survey (ARS) as a platform for conducting the QBS. Each year, the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) Program conducts the ARS by reaching out to approximately 1.2 million establishments requesting verification of their main business activity, and their mailing and physical location addresses. The fully web-based ARS allows for an accelerated timeframe for collection and provides a low-cost platform for conducting the quick, short surveys of the QBS.  
 
The QBS, based on the ARS data collection platform, will allow BLS to leverage the multitude of information already known about the sample units to allow for targeted sampling. It also will permit BLS to target only the units meeting the specific set of characteristics desired allowing BLS to delve into specific areas of economic interest without burdening establishments which do not meet the specific targeted features.
 
The QBS is designed to incorporate new questionnaires as the need for data arises, as frequently as twice a year. The BLS plans to conduct multiple small surveys under the QBS clearance.  
 
AEA members are encouraged to provide BLS with feedback on the initial QBS and suggestions for future QBS modules by March 23, 2020. More detailed information on the QBS proposal and previous testing is available at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/syds7rkdljj3qrk/AAASguBmc-ygj2XfFQtbHKCca?dl=0
 
The AEAStat primer on how to respond to a call for comments on a federal data collection is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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