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Feb 11 -- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Invites public comments by April 12, 2021 on a proposal to modify the Consumer Expenditure (CE) Surveys and to test a self-administered Diary.
The Consumer Expenditure (CE) Surveys collect data on consumer expenditures, demographic information, and related data needed by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and other public and private data users. The continuing surveys provide a constant measurement of changes in consumer expenditure patterns for economic analysis and to obtain data for future CPI revisions. The CE Surveys have been ongoing since 1979.

The data from the CE Surveys are used (1) for CPI revisions, (2) to provide a continuous flow of data on income and expenditure patterns for use in economic analysis and policy formulation, and (3) to provide a flexible consumer survey vehicle that is available for use by other Federal government agencies.
In the Quarterly Interview Survey, each consumer unit (CU) in the sample is interviewed every three months over four calendar quarters. The sample for each quarter is divided into three panels, with CUs being interviewed every three months in the same panel of every quarter. The Quarterly Interview Survey is designed to collect data on the types of expenditures that respondents can be expected to recall for a period of three months or longer. In general the expenses reported in the Interview Survey are either relatively large, such as property, automobiles, or major appliances, or are expenses which occur on a fairly regular basis, such as rent, utility bills, or insurance premiums.

The Diary (or recordkeeping) Survey is completed at home by the respondent family for two consecutive one-week periods. The primary objective of the Diary Survey is to obtain expenditure data on small, frequently purchased items which normally are difficult to recall over longer periods of time.
The purpose of this request is to obtain clearance for modifications to the Consumer Expenditure (CE) Surveys and to test a self-administered Diary.
CE requests clearance to remove several point of purchase questions from the CEQ Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) instrument that are no longer needed by CPI and to add point of purchase questions for gasoline on trips including the name of the gas station or store and the location (city and state) where gasoline on a trip was purchased.

CE is requesting clearance to test a self-administered Diary. In lieu of the production procedures for an in-person interview in which FRs place the diaries and train respondents on how to record the household's daily expenditures, the Self-Administered Diary test will entail Diary placement and collection of sample unit, demographics, income, and select expenditure data through the Household Screener survey. Additionally, instead of the CED paper Diary, respondents will use the Online Diary with slight modifications.

The purpose of the Self-Administered Diary test is to determine the sampling and measurement error by comparing the sample composition of those that complete an online diary to that of the BLS CE diary production sample to determine the differences in representativeness for various population subgroups. Additionally, response and cooperation rates, as well as deviations in data quality will be evaluated. The test will be administered from October through December of 2021.

The Household Characteristics Survey and Consumer Expenditure Online Diary will be administered to a nationally representative sample of 2,000 persons (age 18 and older), with surveys conducted in English. Weighting the entire population to U.S. Census Bureau benchmarks secured from the latest American Community Survey (ACS) and the most recent March supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS) along several dimensions including gender, age, race/Hispanic origin, education, Census Region, income, home ownership status, household size, and metropolitan area.
CE website: https://www.bls.gov/cex/
Draft proposal documents for modified CE: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/iwdy7wdq1xfb3m9/AAB6LbWmuB5Kb-qIjuVmkmF3a?dl=0
FR notice inviting public comments: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/02/11/2021-02808/information-collection-activities-comment-request
Point of contact: David Swanson (BLS) (202) 691-6917 Swanson.David@bls.gov

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