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Nov 9 -- The U.S. Census Bureau invites comments by January 10, 2022 regarding a proposed new survey, the Business Pulse Survey.
 
During the Coronavirus pandemic, the Census Bureau launched new weekly and monthly programs to measure the pandemic's impact on the economy. The Census Bureau was commended by policy makers, media, academia, and other stakeholders on its timeliness and rapid response to their data needs to understand the impact of the pandemic on the economy. The Census Bureau has a need to collect and publish economic baseline data on a frequent, ongoing basis.
 
The Business Pulse Survey will be a new experimental survey with bi-weekly data collection and publication. This continuous near real time data publication will provide a baseline of the U.S. economy and will measure change as a result of current and future economic shocks. The ongoing nature of the Business Pulse Survey is in response to stakeholder feedback on the Small Business Pulse Survey (SBPS), which was that economic baseline or `norms' data would have been helpful to have in comparison to the SBPS data on pandemic impact.

The Business Pulse Survey will evolve and progress to its full desired scope over time, in stages or phases. The Census Bureau plans to learn from the incremental progress of the Business Pulse Survey and make improvements to the survey as it matures. Initially, the Business Pulse Survey will be an expansion of the Small Business Pulse Survey (OMB Number: 0607-1014). The SBPS was restricted to small businesses with 1-499 employees and included only a single island territory, Puerto Rico. The Business Pulse Survey's initial sample criteria will include all single unit employer businesses in the U.S. and U.S. Island Areas. At full scope, the Business Pulse Survey will allow for data collection from businesses across most non-farm sectors of the U.S. economy, while producing statistics on employer and non-employer businesses across all employer size classes, as well as geographically detailed data on the fifty U.S. states, Washington DC, and the U.S. Island Areas.

The Business Pulse Survey will collect the following high-level topics:

Overall current business performance or business climate
Change in operating revenues/sales/receipts
Change in employment
Change in hours of paid employees
Expectations: Future performance
 
Business Pulse Survey data would be collected in near-real time and disseminated as experimental products. Business Pulse Survey data will be experimental with the goal of meeting Census Bureau quality standards for regularly occurring, non-experimental statistics.
 
The Business Pulse Survey instrument will include core, emergency, and supplementary content. Core content will form the basis of the instrument and run continuously; core content will include measures of economic activity that are applicable across all non-farm sectors and are important across the business cycle and during economic or other emergencies. Emergency content will be deployed rapidly, tailored to the specific emergency, and will be included temporarily as warranted by the specifics of the emergency. Supplemental content will be included on the instrument with a regularly periodicity and will be designed to provide urgently needed data on an emerging or current issue. Core concepts for the Business Pulse Survey will be selected based on research and analysis conducted during the SBPS, stakeholder feedback, and the ability to collect complementary items on monthly, quarterly, annual, or census programs to provide context and benchmarking.
 
The Census Bureau will be contacting approximately 200,000 respondents every two weeks and anticipates receiving approximately 45,000 responses. The initial target population for the Business Pulse Survey includes all non-farm, single-location employer businesses with receipts ≥ $1,000 in the 50 states, Washington D.C., and the U.S. Island Areas classified in industries covered by the Economic Census. Future changes to the target population will include the addition of employer businesses with more than one location (multi-unit businesses) and non-employer businesses.
 
The Business Register contains validated e-mail addresses for approximately 1.4 million businesses in the current target population. These email addresses will be updated and supplemented with emails collected via current survey programs and the Census Bureau’s Customer Respondent Management tool. The total universe of single-location employer businesses is approximately 5.4 million businesses. The total estimated sample size is 1.2 million businesses. Each sampled business will be systematically assigned to one of six bi-weekly panels to create a twelve-week wave.
 
Draft survey content and technical documentation: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/zmfpjnnvylx1yxo/AACwm4qgpEqJ9km5gyt3Gi0Ja?dl=0
FR notice inviting comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/11/09/2021-24502/agency-information-collection-activities-submission-to-the-office-of-management-and-budget-omb-for

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