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Dec 22 -- The Census Bureau informed OMB of its plans to add COVID vaccination and other questions to the experimental Small Business Pulse Survey and add COVID vaccination questions and delete underutilized questions in the experimental Household Pulse Survey.
 
1) Small Business Pulse Survey -- submission to OMB https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202012-0607-007
Cognitive Interviewing for Phase 4 of the Small Business Pulse Survey (SBPS) https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/DownloadDocument?objectID=107334400
 
Over the next month, Census will test newly developed and revised questions about the effect of changing business conditions due to  the Coronavirus pandemic and other social changes on small businesses in the United States. The proposed new questions cover the following topics:   

-    Requiring COVID-19 testing
-    Requiring COVID-19 proof of vaccination
-    Decrease in leased/rented space
-    Adding pickup/carryout/delivery
-    Use of COVID-19 related leave
-    Changes to capital expenditures
-    Plans for business travel expenditures

Proposed instrument for SBPS cognitive testing: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/DownloadDocument?objectID=107334300

2) Regarding the Household Pulse Survey, the Census Bureau tells OMB:  On October 31, 2020, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provided clearance to the Census Bureau to conduct Phase 3 of the Household Pulse Survey (OMB No. 0607-1013, expiration 10/31/2023). A condition of that clearance was that the Census Bureau would continue the survey using the Phase 2 instrument through December, 2020, and then take a hiatus in data collection to evaluate the questionnaire content. During the hiatus, the Census Bureau would work with the other Federal agencies to produce relevant and meaningful data given the ongoing circumstances of the pandemic. The Census Bureau anticipated a break of approximately two months.  
 
Given current information about the trajectory of the pandemic, however, it may be imprudent to take the hiatus as planned at the end of December, 2020. The Census Bureau therefore requests approval to continue administering the current Phase 3 instrument through January and February, 2021. While the survey continues, the Census Bureau will evaluate the continued utility of items on the Phase 3 instrument as described above. Further, it will execute a thorough non-response bias analysis to supplement the Source & Accuracy Statements that accompany each bi-weekly data release.  
 
Additionally, we propose adding a brief series of questions to the Phase 3 instrument as soon as possible regarding individuals’ intention to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Given that time is of the essence for these items, we request approval to include them immediately, effective the data collection period starting January 6, 2021. To maintain balance with regard to the estimated burden to the public, we would remove questions from the current survey for which we find utility has declined over time. The Intent to Vaccinate questions proposed for inclusion, along with the questionnaire items proposed for removal are included in Attachment B.

Finally, we note here that there will be a brief break in Household Pulse Survey data collection from December 21, 2020 – January 6, 2021. This break is necessary to facilitate acquisition of additional SMS texting capacity. The Census Bureau experimented with the use of texting for the first time on the Household Pulse Survey and we currently observe that more than 60% of the response has been elicited through SMS. Given this positive effect on response, we consider it prudent to take this break and restart the survey with the ability to continue texting.
 
Household Pulse Survey information collection request submitted to OMB  https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202012-0607-008
Letter to OMB describing proposed actions: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/DownloadDocument?objectID=107344500
Proposed vaccination questions and proposed questions for deletion https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/DownloadDocument?objectID=107344800

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