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Dec 21 -- The Census Bureau invites comments to OMB by January 20, 2023 regarding the extension of the Survey of Construction Questionnaire for the Building Permit Official (SOC-QBPO).

The information collected on the SOC-QBPO is necessary to carry out the sampling for the Survey of Housing Starts, Sales and Completions (OMB number 0607-0110), also known as the Survey of Construction (SOC). Government agencies and private companies use statistics from the SOC to monitor and evaluate the large and dynamic housing construction industry.

The SOC-QBPO is an electronic questionnaire. The field representatives (FRs) either call or visit the respondents to enter their survey responses into a laptop computer using the Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) software formatted for the SOC-QBPO. The overall length of the interview will not change, and the sample size will only receive a minor downward adjustment.

The Census Bureau FRs use the SOC-QBPO to obtain information on the operating procedures of a permit office. This enables them to locate, classify, list, and sample building permits for residential construction. These permits are used as the basis for the sample selected for SOC. The Census Bureau also uses the information to verify and update the geographic coverage of permit offices.

Failure to collect this information would make it difficult, if not impossible, to accurately classify and sample building permits for the SOC. Data for two principal economic indicators are produced from the SOC: New Residential Construction (housing starts and housing completions) and New Residential Sales. Government agencies use these statistics to evaluate economic policy, measure progress towards the national housing goal, make policy decisions, and formulate legislation. For example, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System uses data from this survey to evaluate the effect of interest rates in this interest-rate sensitive area of the economy. The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) uses the data in developing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The private sector and other data users from Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) use the information for estimating the demand for housing, building materials and the many products used in new housing and to schedule production, distribution, and sales efforts. The financial community uses the data to estimate the demand for short-term (construction loans) and long-term (mortgages) borrowing.
Form SOC-QBPO https://www.census.gov/construction/soc/forms.html
Census submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202212-0607-003 Click View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this site.
FR notice inviting public comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-27708
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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