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April 2 -- The Census Bureau invites public comments by May 3, 2021 on the proposed Phase 5 of the Small Business Pulse Survey, to be conducted over 9 weeks starting on May 17th, 2021 and ending on July 18, 2021.
 
Phase 1 of the Small Business Pulse Survey was launched on April 26, 2020 as an effort to produce and disseminate high-frequency, geographic- and industry-detailed experimental data about the economic conditions of small businesses as they experience the coronavirus pandemic. It is a rapid response endeavor that leverages the resources of the federal statistical system to address emergent data needs. Given the rapidly changing dynamics of this situation for American small businesses, the Small Business Pulse Survey has been successful in meeting an acute need for information on changes in revenues, business closings, employment and hours worked, disruptions to supply chains, and expectations for future operations. In addition, the Small Business Pulse Survey provided important estimates of federal program uptake to key survey stakeholders.

Due to the ongoing nature of the pandemic, the Census Bureau subsequently conducted Phases 2, 3 and 4 of the Small Business Pulse Survey. The Office of Management and Budget authorized clearance of Phase 4 of the Small Business Pulse Survey on February 16, 2021. The Census Bureau now seeks approval to conduct Phase 5 of the Small Business Pulse Survey which will occur over 9 weeks starting May 17, 2021.

The continuation of the Small Business Pulse Survey is responsive to stakeholder requests for high frequency data that measure the effect of changing business conditions during the Coronavirus pandemic on small businesses. While the ongoing monthly and quarterly economic indicator programs provide estimates of dollar volume outputs for employer businesses of all size, the Small Business Pulse Survey captures the effects of the pandemic on operations and finances of small, single location employer businesses. As the pandemic continues, the Census Bureau is best poised to collect this information from a large and diverse sample of small businesses.  
 
Phase 5 of the Small Business Pulse Survey proposes to capture information on concepts such as business closings, changes in revenue, changes in employment and hours, vaccine requirements, disruptions to supply chain, operating capacity factors, and expectations for future operations. These economic data will be used to understand how changes due to the response to the Coronavirus pandemic have and continue to affect American businesses and the U.S. economy. Content for Phase 5 will remain the same as the previous phase, with two minor additions of response categories (“Restaurant Revitalization Fund” and “Shuttered Venue Operators Grants”) will be added as options in questions 15 and 16.
 
The Census Bureau is seeking approval for this collection by May 3, 2021. It anticipates contacting approximately 100,000 respondents per week and receiving approximately 22,500 responses per week. Phases 1, 2, and 3 survey response rates were approximately 26%, 23%, and 20.5% respectively. All results from the Small Business Pulse Survey will continue to be disseminated as U.S. Census Bureau Experimental Data Products (https://portal.census.gov/​pulse/​data/​).
 
Small Business Pulse Survey website: https://www.census.gov/data/experimental-data-products/small-business-pulse-survey.html
Phase 5 submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202103-0607-004 Click on IC List for draft survey, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation
FR notice inviting public comments: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/04/02/2021-06803/agency-information-collection-activities-submission-to-the-office-of-management-and-budget-omb-for   
 
Point of contact: econ.pulse.data@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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