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Feb 14 -- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is soliciting comments concerning the proposed revision of the “National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979.” Written comments must be submitted on or before April 15, 2024.

The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) is a representative national sample of persons who were born in the years 1957 to 1964 and lived in the U.S. in 1978. These respondents were ages 14 to 22 when the first round of interviews began in 1979; they were ages 59 to 66 as of December 31, 2023. The NLSY79 was conducted annually from 1979 to 1994 and has been conducted biennially since 1994. The longitudinal focus of this survey requires information to be collected from the same individuals over many years in order to trace their education, training, work experience, fertility, income, and program participation, and to continue tracing their interactions with the labor market as they experience changes in health, family situations, and other environmental contexts.

In addition to the main NLSY79, the biological children of female NLSY79 respondents have been surveyed since 1986. A battery of child cognitive, socio-emotional, and physiological assessments was administered biennially from 1986 until 2012 to NLSY79 mothers and their children. Starting in 1994 through 2018, children who had reached age 15 by December 31 of the survey year (the Young Adults) were interviewed about their work experiences, training, schooling, health, fertility, self-esteem, and other topics.

One of the goals of the Department of Labor (DOL) is to produce and disseminate timely, accurate, and relevant information about the U.S. labor force. The BLS contributes to this goal by gathering information about the labor force and labor market and disseminating it to policymakers and the public so that participants in those markets can make more informed, and thus more efficient, choices. Research based on the NLSY79 contributes to the formation of national policy in the areas of education, training, employment programs, school-to-work transitions, and preparations for retirement. In addition to the reports that the BLS produces based on data from the NLSY79, members of the academic community publish articles and reports based on NLSY79 data for the DOL and other funding agencies. To date, more than 3,000 articles examining NLSY79 data have been published in scholarly journals. The survey design provides data gathered from the same respondents over time to form the only data set that contains this type of information for this important population group. Without the collection of these data, an accurate longitudinal data set could not be provided to researchers and policymakers, thus adversely affecting the DOL's ability to perform its policy- and report-making activities.

The BLS seeks approval to conduct Round 31 of the NLSY79. Respondents of the NLSY79 will undergo an interview of approximately 73 minutes during which they will answer questions about schooling and training, employment and labor market experiences, family relationships, wealth, and expectations about the future.

During the field period, about 100 NLSY79 interviews will be validated to ascertain whether the interview took place as the interviewer reported and whether the interview was done in a polite and professional manner.

BLS has undertaken a continuing redesign effort to examine the current content of the NLSY79 and provide direction for changes that may be appropriate as the respondents age. The 2024 instrument reflects a number of changes recommended by experts in various fields of social science and by our own internal review of the survey's content.

The Round 31 questionnaire includes new questions on the location of work that will empower research examining how the growth of remote work arrangements may affect the labor market experiences of people in this age cohort. It also asks about the respondents' assets and assesses their cognitive ability—both areas that have appeared in previous rounds of the NLSY79 but not in Round 30.

NLSY79: https://www.bls.gov/nls/nlsy79.htm
Draft technical documentation: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/xtybc42c1r33v7vh6i7fn/h?rlkey=hkryagulwl74opyq3prf5o3p8&dl=0 Draft data collection instruments to be provided by BLS around end of February.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2024-03078

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