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Aug 20 -- The Census Bureau plans to request a revision of the current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) clearance of the Quarterly Services Survey (QSS).  The Census Bureau invites public comments on its planned request by October 19, 2020.
 
In particular, the Census Bureau plans to seek approval for two new questions on expected revenues -- on a pilot basis for four consecutive quarters, with the possibility of continuing collection for an additional four quarters. Respondents will be asked for forecasts with two different time horizons—a single point estimate one quarter ahead and a one year ahead estimate with five points and corresponding probabilities. For the 2021 Quarter 1 reporting period, QSS respondents would see questions similar, but possibly not identical, to the following drafted questions:

What is the approximate expected dollar value of revenue you would anticipate for this firm during the quarter ending June 30, 2021?

Looking ahead to the quarter ending March 31, 2022, what is the approximate dollar value of revenue you would anticipate for this firm during that quarter and what likelihood do you assign to that value?

Leading indicators and forward-looking measures such as forecasts and projections are highly valued for their ability to help decision-makers, businesses, and individuals plan and adjust policies if necessary. Responses to these questions will provide a better understanding of business uncertainty and insight on future business activity.

The QSS covers employer firms with establishments located in the United States and classified in select service industries as defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The primary estimates produced from the QSS are quarterly estimates of total operating revenue and the percentage of revenue by source. The survey also produces estimates of total operating expenses from tax-exempt firms in industries that have a large not-for-profit component. For hospitals, the survey produces estimates of the number of inpatient days and discharges, and for select industries in the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector, the survey produces estimates of admissions revenue.
 
Firms are selected for the QSS using a stratified design with strata defined by industry, tax status, and estimated size based on annual revenue. The sample consists of approximately 19,500 firms and is a subsample of firms from the larger Service Annual Survey. Each quarter the QSS sample is updated to reflect the addition of new businesses and the removal of firms that have gone out-of-business.
 
The QSS coverage currently includes all or parts of the following NAICS sectors: Utilities (excluding government owned); transportation and warehousing (except rail transportation and postal); information; finance and insurance (except funds, trusts, and other financial vehicles); real estate and rental and leasing; professional, scientific, and technical services (except offices of notaries); administrative and support and waste management and remediation services; educational services (except elementary and secondary schools, junior colleges, and colleges, universities, and professional schools); health care and social assistance; arts, entertainment, and recreation; accommodation; and other services (except public administration).
 
FR notice: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/08/20/2020-18312/agency-information-collection-activities-submission-to-the-office-of-management-and-budget-omb-for
Currently approved QSS forms and Supporting Statement:  https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=201804-0607-003
 
Point of contact: Nicole Davis, Special Projects Lead, Economic Indicators Division, U.S. Census Bureau  O:  301-763-7134 | M:  202-507-3127      Nicole.Davis@census.gov

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