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Aug 20 -- The Census Bureau releases Phase 2 Week 1 data, for August 9-15  https://portal.census.gov/pulse/data/  Phase 2 survey data will be released every Thursday through October 15.
 
Aug 10 -- OMB approved the Census Bureau request to revise and extend the Small Business Pulse Survey. Census made new edits to the survey instrument and rationale.

Small Business Pulse Survey data: https://portal.census.gov/pulse/data/
Submission to OMB:  https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202007-0607-005
Revised survey instrument (new questions highlighted in green): https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/DownloadDocument?objectID=103050302
Rationale for questions on revised survey: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/DownloadDocument?objectID=103050702
Revised supporting statement (revisions in green): https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewDocument?ref_nbr=202007-0607-005
Additional supplementary documents: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewIC?ref_nbr=202007-0607-005&icID=241468
 
July 27 -- The Census Bureau filed an emergency request of OMB to approve an extension of its Small Business Pulse Survey for an additional nine weeks (i.e., phase 2), into October, and add several questions to the survey instrument. Census seeks a decision by August 9, 2020.
 
Content for the phase 2 SBPS proposes to capture information on concepts such as business closings, changes in employment and hours, disruptions to supply chain, re-hiring laid off employees, changes in hours worked from home, operating capacity factors, and expectations for future operations. These economic data will be used to understand how changes due to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic have and continue to affect American businesses and the U.S. economy.  
 
For phase 2 of the SBPS, content was recommended by the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Federal Reserve Board (FRB), the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), Office of Tax Analysis (OTA), Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), and the International Trade Administration (ITA). Existing relationships with staff at these agencies were used to gather content concepts that would be useful to those stakeholders and the businesses and policymakers that they serve.
 
Businesses will be contacted via email based on known email addresses that have been collected across economic programs. The sample will be split so that ~100,000 different respondents are selected weekly to reduce burden and survey fatigue.  Emails will be delivered in increments of 25,000 between the hours of 9AM -3PM every Sunday for nine weeks.  Knowing that small businesses are actively dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Census Bureau is optimistically aiming for a response rate of 15-20%. This estimate is based on the weekly average response rate of 25% for the first phase of the Small Business Pulse Survey.   We anticipate a lower response rate due to possible survey fatigue as well as the potential for business deaths leading to a smaller target population. For further discussion of response rates and nonresponse bias, see methodology https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/DownloadDocument?objectID=103051000

Research data products will potentially allow us to provide more detailed information about the businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic without creating additional reporting burden on small business owners.  For example, linking the SBPS to the Annual Business Survey, which includes detailed information about the gender, race, and veterans status of business owners, will allow the Census Bureau to provide data on any differential impacts by these characteristics.  Linking the SBPS to our data infrastructure will allow us to control for business size, age, access to credit before the pandemic, and other characteristics of businesses and their owners when measuring the effect of changing business conditions due to the pandemic on small businesses.
 
In the longer term, the Census Bureau will use the linked SBPS to understand whether low burden, high frequency collections such as the SBPS are predictive of future state business outcomes.   For example, if business applied for but did not receive federal assistance is this a significant predictor of that business’s future growth or survival?   Because some of the business outcomes we are interested in are potentially longer term than the survey, we cannot fully evaluate the usefulness of the SBPS in the short or medium terms.

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