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International Conference on Establishment Surveys Montreal, 2007 Richard Rosen, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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1 International Conference on Establishment Surveys Montreal, 2007 Richard Rosen, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Any opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not constitute policy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Adding New Data Elements to an Ongoing Survey: Operational and Response Issues

2 Current Employment Statistics Survey One of the oldest and largest US Surveys Number of workers, payroll and hours Monthly Quick turnaround: Reference period is the pay period of the 12 th 12 collection days Data published first Friday of following month Data closely watched by policymakers, financial markets, media, business, labor

3 Current Data Items All Employees Woman Employees Production/Construction/Nonsupervisory Employees Payroll Hours Overtime (Manufacturing)

4 New Data Items All Employee Payroll Hours Overtime (Manufacturing) Gross Monthly Earnings (GME)

5 Reason for New Data Items Production workers only comprise about 80% of total, therefore the hours/earnings measures are not comprehensive Research showed that more respondents could provide total payroll and hours GME: broader measure of earning wanted by BEA for personal income and GDP

6 Data Item Issues: OLD Production/Construction/Nonsupervisory Definition not clearly understood Hard to obtain from payroll records Data item response about 40% for payroll/hours

7 Data Item Issues: NEW Availability of Hours for Supervisors/managers, etc. Multiple payrolls (i.e.. Managers paid biweekly, Nonsupervisory paid weekly) Gross Monthly Earnings: New concept, different time period

8 Tasks Forms Design Systems Updates Two processing/estimation systems Six collection systems Data transport system Estimator for GME Train interviewers and other staff

9 Planning Began in 2003 for implementation in 2005 Teams to work on all major aspects Forms Systems Edits Estimation

10 Forms How to get additional data items on form (twice as many items) How to handle multiple payrolls Separation of GME from other items Different concept/definition Different time period (entire month) Different reasons for change

11 Forms-Cont. Interdisciplinary Team Developed four different layouts Expert review Two rounds of cognitive field tests · Downey, Goldenberg, Rosen, Gomes, Manning, Cognitive Testing of New Forms for the Current Employment Statistics Survey, ASA, August 2005.


13 CES Collection Form-New

14 Edits: No Real History What would relationship be between All Employee Earnings and Production Worker Earnings? General expectation that it would be higher, but by how much GME even more difficult Inclusion of bonuses, stock options, severance pay could really skew data Made some initial assumptions; revised as actual data became available

15 Respondents How to notify respondents of change? How will respondents react? More data items Increased burden Will response rates suffer?

16 Respondent Contact Varied by mode Many respondents on self-reporting modes; touchtone, mail. CATI: Interviewer began to discuss two months before change FAX: Interviewers made special efforts to contact in advance

17 Respondent Contact-cont. Special Transition Letter Electronic: Began intensive work with firms to reprogram electronic files Touchtone and mail: Designed mock form to highlight new items



20 Results Overall transition has been successful Higher data item response for All Employee Payroll/Hours Reasonably high item response for GME But: Overall response rates have declined




24 Data Item Response AE Payroll and GME reporting mostly mirrors what respondents were providing for PW Payroll by mode TDE: Good reporters= high response CATI/FAX: More reluctant reporter, hence need CATI= modest response EDI: Many large firms not currently providing PW payroll; difficult to convince firms to re- program their data files; slow improvement

25 Data Item Response Rates



28 Looking at the new data … Hourly Earning for All Workers averages about 15% higher than current series Gross Monthly Earnings is somewhat volatile, shows spikes at end of each quarter, especially 4 th Quarter; likely due to Bonus Payments




32 Conclusion Conversion to new data elements appears to be successful. Conversion has been easier with smaller firms. Some decline in overall response due to increased respondent burden Trade-off in terms of improved data item response and usefulness of new data

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