Information Collection Activities, Comment Request


Federal Register, Volume 83 Issue 94 (Tuesday, May 15, 2018)

Federal Register Volume 83, Number 94 (Tuesday, May 15, 2018)


Pages 22520-22521

From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office

FR Doc No: 2018-10332




Bureau of Labor Statistics

Information Collection Activities, Comment Request

AGENCY: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.

ACTION: Notice of information collection, request for comment.


SUMMARY: The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a pre-clearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. This program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is soliciting comments concerning the proposed revision of the ``The Consumer Expenditure Surveys: The Quarterly Interview and the Diary.'' A copy of the proposed information collection request can be obtained by contacting the individual listed below in the ADDRESSES section of this notice.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted to the office listed in the Addresses section of this notice on or before July 16, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Send comments to Nora Kincaid, BLS Clearance Officer, Division of Management Systems, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Room 4080, 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20212. Written comments also may be transmitted by fax to 202-691-5111 (this is not a toll free number).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nora Kincaid, BLS Clearance Officer, at 202-691-7628 (this is not a toll free number). (See ADDRESSES section.)


  1. Background

    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.

    Page 22521

  2. Current Action

    Office of Management and Budget clearance is being sought for the proposed revision of the Consumer Expenditure Surveys: The Quarterly Interview and the Diary.

    As part of an ongoing effort to improve data quality, maintain or increase response rates, and reduce data collection costs, CE is seeking clearance to make the changes outlined below. In Interview (CEQ), several questions will be modified including collapsing the items codes for attachable campers and unattached campers into a single item code; regrouping the clothing sections for easier understanding by the respondent such as adding a swimwear category, regrouping items previously collected in the ``Swimwear, swim cover-ups, or swimwear accessories'' category, and renaming the outerwear section to ``Coats and Jackets''; replacing questions on prepaid long distance calling cards with a question on prepaid cellular cards; deleting the ``Miscellaneous expenses/souvenirs'' question in the trip section as this has led to duplicate reports. Additionally, an extended recall section will be added on the point of purchase of items for consumer units (CUs) based on 1) the PSU in which the consumer unit resides (population group) and 2) whether the item was not reported by the consumer unit in the current reference period. Only consumer units that did not report an expenditure for the item and reside in the PSU in which the extended recall section is being asked will receive these additional questions. In the Diary survey (CED) a question will be added on the veteran status of each member of the consumer unit who is 17 and over. Additionally the pick-up window, or the time an FR is allowed to pick up the completed Diary will be extended to 10 days from 7 days. Finally, an additional column will be added to the Diary form for the respondent to record the point of purchase for the expenditure the respondent has recorded.

    A full list of the proposed changes to the Quarterly Interview Survey are available upon request.

  3. Desired Focus of Comments

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics is particularly interested in comments that:

    Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility.

    Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used.

    Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected.

    Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses.

    Title of Collection: The Consumer Expenditure Surveys: The Quarterly Interview and the Diary.

    OMB Number: 1220-0050.

    Type of Review: Revision, of a currently approved collection.

    Affected Public: Individuals or Households.

    Total Response Burden for the Quarterly Interview and Diary Surveys


    Average time

    Total Frequency Total per response Estimated

    respondents responses (minutes) total burden


    Quarterly Interview Survey...... 5877 4.5413 26,689 62.7337 27,905

    Diary Survey.................... 5,478 4.2 23,008 43.3336 16,617


    Totals...................... 11,355 .............. 49,697 .............. 44,522


    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval of the information collection request; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Signed at Washington, DC, this 9th day of May 2018.

    Eric Molina,

    Acting Chief, Division of Management Systems.

    FR Doc. 2018-10332 Filed 5-14-18; 8:45 am

    BILLING CODE 4510-24-P