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Feb 17 -- The Census Bureau invites public comments by April 19, 2021 regarding its conduct of the Manufacturers' Unfilled Orders (M3UFO) Survey through 2024.
 
The data collected in the Manufacturers' Unfilled Orders (M3UFO) Survey will be used to benchmark the new and unfilled orders information published in the monthly Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories, and Orders (M3) Survey. The M3 Survey collects monthly data on the value of shipments, inventories, and new and unfilled orders from manufacturing companies. The orders, as well as the shipments and inventory data, are valuable tools for analysts of business cycle conditions. The data are used by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Council of Economic Advisers, the Federal Reserve Board, the Conference Board, as well as businesses, trade associations, and the media.

The monthly M3 Survey estimates are based on a panel of approximately 5,000 reporting units that represent approximately 3,100 companies and provide an indication of month-to-month change for the Manufacturing Sector. These reporting units may be divisions of diversified large companies, large homogenous companies, or single-unit manufacturers. The M3 estimates are periodically benchmarked to comprehensive data on the manufacturing sector from the Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM), the Economic Census (shipments and inventories) and the M3UFO Survey, which is the subject of this notice. To obtain more accurate M3 estimates of unfilled orders, which are also used in deriving M3 estimates of new orders, we conduct the M3UFO Survey annually to be used as the source for benchmarking M3 unfilled orders data.

Additionally, the M3UFO data are used to determine which North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industries continue to maintain unfilled orders; this is done in order to minimize burden on businesses by only requesting unfilled orders as part of the monthly M3 Survey for industries that still maintain unfilled orders.

Unfilled orders data are not currently collected in the ASM or the Economic Census. Research is currently being conducted on the feasibility of adding M3UFO questions to the ASM for Survey Year 2021 at the establishment levels. A combination of phone and in-person cognitive interviews with up to 40 respondents, over two rounds will begin in October 2020 and will likely conclude by March 2021.

There are no changes to the MA-3000 form, which is used to conduct the M3UFO survey.
 
M3UFO webpage, including form and technical documentation: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/m3ufo.html
FR notice inviting comments: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/02/17/2021-03177/agency-information-collection-activities-submission-to-the-office-of-management-and-budget-omb-for

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