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Nov 23 -- The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor, invites comments to OMB by December 23, 2022 regarding the proposed continuation of the Consumer Expenditure Surveys: The Quarterly Interview and the 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. Public and private users of price statistics, including Congress and the economic policymaking agencies of the Executive branch, rely on data collected in the CPI in their day-to-day activities. Hence, data users and policymakers widely accept the need to improve the process used for revising the CPI. If the CE Surveys were not conducted on a continuing basis, current information necessary for more timely, as well as more accurate, updating of the CPI would not be available. In addition, data would not be available to respond to the continuing demand from the public and private sectors for current information on consumer spending.

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.

Office of Management and Budget clearance is being sought to continue the Consumer Expenditure Surveys: The Quarterly Interview (CEQ) and the Diary (CED) and to make modifications to the CEQ.

The continuing CE Surveys provide a constant measurement of changes in consumer expenditure patterns for economic analysis and obtain data for future CPI revisions.

In the CEQ, CE is seeking clearance to make the below changes:

The CE requests clearance to modify point of purchase questions for utilities, to remove collection of data related to residential business properties, to collect all expenditures including sales tax, update wording on motorized versus non-motorized campers, collect the name of the foreign country when the point-of-service outlet is outside of the US, and update bracket ranges to more accurately reflect distributions of reported data on assets and liabilities.

The CE is also seeking clearance to streamline the CEQ questionnaire by grouping similar items together, rewording items to make collection easier cognitively, and aggregating collection of items previously collected separately where feasible. As a result, several questions were eliminated from the survey and two additional sections were added and one section was modified as listed below:

-- Adding a new section, Family Care and Education that combines questions previously asked across the interview on education, day care and camps, babysitting, school meals, adult day care and in-home care for invalids.
-- Adding a new section on Transportation that combines questions on vehicle operating expenses with questions on transportation via taxis, limousines, app-based ride shares, bike, scooter or moped rental using sharing services, and public transport.
-- Revising the Expense Patterns section to simplify the questions on usual weekly expenses for groceries, food or beverages consumed away from home, alcohol consumed at home, cigarettes and tobacco products.

No changes will be made in Diary (CED).

CE Program: https://www.bls.gov/cex/
BLS submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202211-1220-001 Click on IC List for questionnaire, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this site.
FR notice inviting public comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-25551
For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "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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