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Jan 28 -- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is soliciting comments by March 29, 2021 concerning the proposed design of Round 20 of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97).
 
The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97) is a nationally representative sample of persons who were born in the years 1980 to 1984. These respondents were ages 12-17 when the first round of annual interviews began in 1997; starting with round sixteen, the NLSY97 is conducted on a biennial basis. Round twenty interviews will occur from September 2021 to June 2022. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) contracts with a vendor to conduct the NLSY97. The primary objective of the survey is to study the transition from schooling to the establishment of careers and families. The longitudinal focus of this survey requires information to be collected from the same individuals over many years in order to trace their education, training, work experience, fertility, income, and program participation.
 
The BLS seeks approval to conduct round 20 of biennial interviews of the NLSY97. Respondents of the NLSY97 will undergo an interview of approximately 75 minutes during which they will answer questions about schooling and labor market experiences, family relationships, and community background. During the fielding period for the main round 20 interviews, no more than 2 percent of respondents will be asked to participate in a brief validation interview a few weeks after the initial interview. The purpose of the validation interview is to verify that the initial interview took place as the interviewer reported and to assess the data quality of selected questionnaire items.

The BLS plans to record randomly selected segments of the main interviews during round 20. Recording interviews helps the BLS and its contractors to ensure that the interviews actually took place and interviewers are reading the questions exactly as worded and entering the responses properly. Recording also helps to identify parts of the interview that might be causing problems or misunderstanding for interviewers or respondents. Each respondent will be informed that the interview may be recorded for quality control, testing, and training purposes. If the respondent objects to the recording of the interview, the interviewer will confirm to the respondent that the interview will not be recorded and then proceed with the interview.

Round 20 will be a predominantly telephone survey. We anticipate that approximately 90 percent of interviews will be completed by telephone, with the remaining interviews being conducted in person.

The round 20 questionnaire will resemble the round 19 questionnaire with few modifications. New questions for the round 20 questionnaire include questions on hours worked from home, on the value of a job, on labor market volatility due to Coronavirus pandemic, on contracting of Coronavirus, on vaccines, on applications for Unemployment Compensation, on criminal background checks, on internet access and on the respondents' previous on experience with NLSY97's Coronavirus supplemental survey. In addition, we have made attempts to streamline the questionnaire so that it will be shorter and less burdensome for respondents. To this end, fewer questions will be asked about college enrollment, non-compete agreements, device ownership, chronic pain, and the use of pain killers.
 
NLSY97 webpage: https://www.bls.gov/nls/nlsy97.htm  
Draft NLSY97 Round 20 survey instrument, Supporting Statement (including members of the NLSY97 Technical Review Committee), and proposed changes from Round 19 to Round 20 https://www.dropbox.com/sh/96znqjwrdfnrqvh/AADOHmmZM_zqlOADoF6okl3Ha?dl=0
FR notice inviting comments: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/01/28/2021-01696/information-collection-activities-comment-request
 
Point of contact: NLS_INFO@bls.gov

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