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Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Current Population Survey (CPS), Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC)

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The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)).


To ensure consideration, written comments must be submitted on or before November 20, 2012.


Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at


Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument(s) and instructions should be directed to Lisa Paska, U.S. Census Bureau, DSD/CPS HQ-7H108B, Washington, DC 20233-8400, (301) 763-3806 (or via the Internet at


I. Abstract

The Census Bureau plans to request clearance for the collection of data concerning the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to be conducted in conjunction with the February, March, and April CPS. The Census Bureau has conducted this supplement annually for over 50 years. The Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics sponsor this supplement.

In the ASEC, we collect information on work experience, personal income, noncash benefits, health insurance coverage, and migration. The work experience items in the ASEC provide a unique measure of the dynamic nature of the labor force as viewed over a one-year period. These items produce statistics that show movements in and out of the labor force by measuring the number of periods of unemployment experienced by people, the number of different employers worked for during the year, the principal reasons for unemployment, and part-/full-time attachment to the labor force. We can make indirect measurements of discouraged workers and others with a casual attachment to the labor market.

The income data from the ASEC are used by social planners, economists, government officials, and market researchers to gauge the economic well-being of the country as a whole and selected population groups of interest. Government planners and researchers use these data to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of various assistance programs. Market researchers use these data to identify and isolate potential customers. Social planners use these data to forecast economic conditions and to identify special groups that seem to be especially sensitive to economic fluctuations. Economists use ASEC data to determine the effects of various economic forces, such as inflation, recession, recovery, and so on, and their differential effects on various population groups.

A prime statistic of interest is the classification of people in poverty and how this measurement has changed over time for various groups. Researchers evaluate ASEC income data not only to determine poverty levels but also to determine whether government programs are reaching eligible households.

The ASEC also contains questions related to: (1) Medical expenditures; (2) presence and cost of a mortgage on property; (3) child support payments; and (4) amount of child care assistance received. These questions enable analysts and policymakers to obtain better estimates of family and household income, and more precisely gauge poverty status.

The U.S. Census Bureau continues to follow the 1999 mandate from Congress regarding passage of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), or Title XXI. The mandate increased the sample size for the CPS, and specifically the ASEC, to a level achieving estimates that are more reliable for the number of individuals participating in this program at the state level. Since 2000, the ASEC is conducted in February, March, and April, rather than only in March, to achieve the increase in sample size.

II. Method of Collection

The ASEC information will be collected by both personal visit and telephone interviews in conjunction with the regular February, March and April CPS interviewing. All interviews are conducted using computer-assisted interviewing.

III. Data

OMB Control Number: 0607-0354.

Form Number: There are no forms. We conduct all interviewing on computers.

Type of Review: Regular submission.

Affected Public: Individuals or households.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 78,000.

Estimated Time per Response: 25 minutes.

Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 32,500.

Estimated Total Annual Cost: There are no costs to the respondents other than their time to answer the CPS questions.

Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.

Legal Authority: Title 13, United States Code, Section 182; and Title 29, United States Code, Sections 1-9.

IV. Request for Comments

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

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

Dated: September 18, 2012.

Glenna Mickelson,

Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.

[FR Doc. 2012-23297 Filed 9-20-12; 8:45 am]