Expanded Time Use Survey Planned

Questions that DOL proposes to add would ask respondents "how happy, tired, sad, stressed, and in pain they felt the day before the interview."

The Labor Department plans to add a "well-being supplement" to the BLS American Time Use Survey and has submitted the necessary request to the Office of Management and Budget for approval.

The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) is a national, continuous survey on time use in the United States. As the department's notice explains, "The ATUS measures, for example, time spent with children, working, sleeping, or doing leisure activities." If the well-being questions are approved, they would be asked immediately after the survey and would ask how people experience their time -- "specifically how happy, tired, sad, stressed, and in pain they felt the day before the interview."

Respondents would be asked these questions about three randomly selected activities from the activities reported in the ATUS time diary, in which respondents report their activities from 4 a.m. on the day before the interview to 4 a.m. on the day of the interview. "A few activities, such as sleeping and private activities, will never be selected," the notice assures us.

"The module also would collect data on whether people were interacting with anyone while doing the selected activities and how meaningful the activities were to them. Some general health questions, a question about overall life satisfaction, and a question about respondents' overall emotional experience the day before also would be asked." The proposed additions are almost identical, it says, to those asked in 2010 under the ATUS with OMB's approval.

The notice says this new addition will help BLS provide its data on economic and social issues and also will closely support the mission of the sponsor of this collection: the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health. About 12,800 individuals or households will be surveyed.

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