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July 9 -- OMB approves the BLS request described below without change.  https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202006-1220-005
 
June 30 -- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) asks OMB for emergency 180-day approval (by July 10) for a one-time United States Business Response Survey (BRS) and Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) supplement. BLS will field the BRS within a week of receipt of clearance.
 
The BRS questionnaire will be used to conduct a large, one-time survey, as well as a one-time supplemental survey to March 2020 JOLTS sample members. The large sample will allow the BLS to quickly collect and disseminate information related to how businesses have changed since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The supplemental survey to March 2020 Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) sample members will allow for specific business changes related to the coronavirus pandemic to be directly linked to JOLTS data.

The BRS will seek to identify changes to business operations, employment and workforce flexibilities and benefits that occurred from the onset of the coronavirus pandemic to when the survey is fielded. This survey will provide critical information that will complement the standard economic data BLS and the federal statistical system will publish for the same time period, and provide policy makers and data users additional information that could help to inform decisions.  
 
For the large sample BRS, BLS plans to select a sample of approximately 597,000 establishments. The objective of the large sample is to produce statistics at detailed levels including by size class, state, industry, and some state-industry, state-size combinations. Production of statistics at any detailed levels will depend on the ability to pass disclosure requirements to ensure confidentiality of the establishments responding to the survey.  
 
BLS also plans to survey the March 2020 JOLTS sample of establishments of 13,237 establishments. Collecting this information for these JOLTS sample units will be critical in analyzing and understanding the job openings and closings data reported in the JOLTS survey for the same timeframe.  
 
BLS expects a response rate of 25% for both the large sample and the supplemental JOLTS sample. This expectation is based on responses to prior test estimates of the QBS and results observed from the Census Pulse Survey of establishments.   

Sample Design and Selection Procedures: The survey analysis breakouts requested by researchers are show below, noting that all 50 states plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico are included:
    State by Special Interest NAICS Sector Categories  (6 special interest NAICS categories: 23, 31-33, 44-45, 62Alt, 72, Others)
    State by Size  (2 size categories: big, small)
    NAICS Sector Categories  (22 NAICS sector categories; 2 size categories (big, small))
    Industry Size Class  (9 classes: 1-4, 5-9, 10-19, 20-49, 50-99, 100-249, 250-499, 500-999, 1000+)

The BLS has reviewed the coronavirus pandemic surveys conducted by Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Additionally, BLS has communicated with the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Economic Development Administration, and the Small Business Administration with the goal of minimizing potential redundancy across agencies as agencies were developing questions on similar topics related to business changes during the coronavirus pandemic.  

We expect to publish survey results nationally, by state, by sector, and where possible by state and sector, but this is contingent on response and the ability to meet disclosure avoidance thresholds. With the intended large BRS sample size, BLS plans to calculate estimates at the national and state-level, and at the industry sector level, and at size class level. This will help assess state and industry differences in business situations and changes. The goal for the data will be to be published in a public news release and academic journal.  

BLS will follow a process similar to other one-time projects at BLS , which would include creating a page on the BLS public website: www.bls.gov as a home for all of the information related to this survey. This public page will include tabs for published data tables, technical notes, methodology and other relevant information. There would be a standard BLS press release to accompany the data release and BLS will promote the release on the BLS website and in social media in accordance with standard practices.

Once the survey is in the field, data collection is estimated to take approximately 2-3 months and data review and publication activities would take approximately 2-3 months. Publication can be expected roughly 4-6 months after data collection begins. The current goal for publication is early fall 2020, though this timeline is dependent on many other factors that could change due to the current environment.

BLS commits to publishing a 60-day Federal Register Notice (FRN) within 30 days of approval of this package announcing the emergency request and seeking comments on the survey. That 60-day FRN will provide notice to the public of this emergency request and afford comment on the collection.  

BLS submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202006-1220-005  Click on IC List for survey questions, View Supporting Statement for narrative on purpose, uses, methods, consultations, and timeline.
BRS Sample Overview:  https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/DownloadDocument?objectID=102175900
BRS Table Shells:  https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/DownloadDocument?objectID=102176000
 
Point of contact: Edwin L. Robison, Division Chief of the Statistical Methods Staff, Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics, BLS    (202) 691-6363

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