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Notice

Proposed Collection, Comment Request

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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ACTION:

Notice.

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 (PRA95) [44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)]. 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 extension of the Annual Refiling Survey (ARS) forms. A copy of the proposed information collection request (ICR) 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, 2007.

ADDRESSES:

Send comments to Amy A. Hobby, BLS Clearance Officer, Division of Management Systems, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Room 4080, 2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE., Washington, DC 20212, 202-691-7628. (This is not a toll free number.)

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Amy A. Hobby, BLS Clearance Officer, 202-691-7628. (See Addresses section.)

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program, formerly known as the ES-202 Program, is a Federal/State cooperative effort which compiles monthly employment data, quarterly wages data, and business identification information from employers subject to State Unemployment Insurance (UI) laws. These data are collected from State Quarterly Contribution Reports (QCRs) submitted to State Workforce Agencies (SWAs). The States send micro-level employment and wages data, supplemented with the names, addresses, and business identification information of these employers, to the BLS. The State data are used to create the BLS sampling frame, known as the longitudinal QCEW data.

To ensure the continued accuracy of these data, the information supplied by employers must be periodically verified and updated. For this purpose, the Annual Refiling Survey (ARS) is used in conjunction with the UI tax reporting system in each State. The information collected on the ARS is used to review the existing industry code assigned to each establishment as well as the physical location of the business establishment. As a result, changes in the industrial and geographical compositions of our economy are captured in a timely manner and reflected in the BLS statistical programs.

The ARS also asks employers to identify new locations in the State. If these employers meet QCEW program reporting criteria, then a Multiple Worksite Report (MWR) is mailed to the employer requesting employment and wages for each worksite each quarter. Thus, the ARS is also used to identify new potential MWR-eligible employers.

II. Current Action

While the primary purpose of the ARS is to verify or to correct the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code assigned to establishments, there are other important purposes of the ARS. The ARS seeks accurate mailing and physical location addresses of establishments as well as geographic codes such as county and township (independent city, parish, or island in some States).

Once every three years, the SWAs survey employers that are covered by the State's UI laws to ensure that State records correctly reflect the business activities and locations of those employers. States send an ARS form to approximately one-third of their businesses each year, surveying the entire universe of covered businesses over a three-year cycle. The selection criterion for surveying establishments is based on the nine-digit Federal Employer Identification Number of the respondent.

The ARS remains largely a mail survey, although steps have been taken to reduce the amount of paperwork involved in responding to the survey. For example, BLS staff review selected, large multi-worksite national employers rather than surveying these employers with traditional ARS forms. This central review significantly reduces postage costs incurred by our State partners in sending ARS forms. It also reduces respondent burden, as the selected employers do not have to submit ARS forms.

Single-worksite employers have been identified as potential users of the BLS-developed Touchtone Response System (TRS). Employers can use the TRS if they meet certain conditions and there are no changes to specific data elements based upon the employer's review. The TRS reduces respondent burden because it is quick, free, and convenient. It also allows respondents to help BLS reduce survey costs because they do not return the form in the business reply envelope provided. All States are now using the TRS in conducting the ARS.

Another recent initiative to reduce the costs associated with the ARS is the use of a private contractor to handle various administrative aspects of the survey. This initiative is called the Centralized Annual Refiling Survey (CARS). Under CARS, BLS effectively utilizes the commercial advantages related to printing, stuffing, and mailing large volumes of survey forms.

III. 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 Start Printed Page 27592whether 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 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.

Type of Review: Extension of currently approved collection.

Agency: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Title: Annual Refiling Survey (ARS).

OMB Number: 1220-0032.

Affected Public: Business or other for-profit institutions, not-for-profit institutions, and farms.

Frequency: Annually.

Form No.Total respondentsFrequencyTotal responsesAverage time per response (minutes)Total burden (hours)
BLS 3023-(NVS)1,530,531Once1,530,5315127,544
BLS 3023-(NVM)40,423Once40,4231510,106
BLS 3023-(NCA)219,670Once219,6701036,612
Totals1,790,6241,790,624174,262

Total Burden Cost (Capital/Startup): $0.

Total Burden Cost (Operating/Maintenance): $0.

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.

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Signed at Washington, DC, this 10th day of May, 2007.

Cathy Kazanowski,

Chief, Division of Management Systems, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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[FR Doc. E7-9375 Filed 5-15-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4510-24-P