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Jan 21 --  The U.S. Census Bureau is requesting that OMB approve renewed clearance for Form C-411, “Survey of Residential Building or Zoning Permit Systems.” Public comments should be received by February 22, 2021. The Census Bureau does not propose any changes to Form C-411.
The Census Bureau produces statistics used to monitor activity in the large and dynamic construction industry. These statistics help state and local governments and the federal government, as well as private industry, to analyze this important sector of the economy. The accuracy of the Census Bureau statistics regarding the amount of construction authorized depends on data supplied by building and zoning officials throughout the country.   

The Census Bureau uses Form C-411 to obtain information from state and local building permit officials needed for updating the universe of permit-issuing places which serves as the sampling frame for the Report of Privately-Owned Residential Building or Zoning Permits Issued (OMB number 0607-0094), also known as the Building Permits Survey (BPS), and the Survey of Housing Starts, Sales, and Completions (OMB number 0607-0110), also known as Survey of Construction (SOC). These two sample surveys provide widely used measures of construction activity, including the principal economic indicators, New Residential Construction and New Home Sales. Data from the BPS and SOC are also used by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in the calculation of estimates of the Residential Fixed Investment portion of the Nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In addition, data from the BPS are used by the Census Bureau in the calculation of annual population estimates; these estimates are widely used by government agencies to allocate funding and other resources to local governments.

The questions on Form C-411 pertain to the legal requirements for issuing building or zoning permits in the local jurisdictions. Information is obtained on such items as geographic coverage and types of construction for which permits are issued.
We use the information to verify the existence of new permit systems or changes to existing systems. Based on the information, the Census Bureau adds new permit-issuing places to the universe, deletes places no longer issuing permits, and makes changes to the universe to reflect those places that have merged.

Failure to maintain the universe of permit-issuing places would result in deficient samples and inaccurate statistics. This in turn jeopardizes the accuracy of the above-mentioned economic indicators. These indicators are closely monitored by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and other economic policy makers because of the sensitivity of the housing industry to changes in interest rates.

Submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202101-0607-003  Click on IC List for forms, View Supporting Statement for documentation.
FR notice inviting comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/01/21/2021-01186/agency-information-collection-activities-submission-to-the-office-of-management-and-budget-omb-for
Point of contact: William Abriatis, Branch Chief, Residential Construction Branch, Census Bureau  (301) 763-3686 william.m.abriatis@census.gov
For AEA members wishing to submit comments to OMB, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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