Household and establishment survey response rates

Introduction

This page presents information on BLS establishment and household survey response rates—the percentage of the sample that responds to or participates in a survey. Response rates are usually calculated as:

Response Rate = (# units responding) / ((# units eligible) + (# of units with eligibility undetermined))

Different surveys have different definitions of what is and isn’t eligible. Refer to survey response rate calculations for more detail.

Historically, survey response rates have been used as a measure of how representative a survey is of the sampled population.1 Response rates of surveys don't relate well to nonresponse bias, but the pattern of the response rates may give insights into survey processes. There are many reasons why response rates differ between surveys: the amount of time available to collect data, the mode of data collection, and constraints on who can respond. Changes in patterns that are similar between surveys might indicate a common cause, while rate changes unique to a survey might point to a change in methods.

This report groups similar surveys to allow for comparisons. For example, response rates from surveys collected from business establishments are shown together while those collected from households are shown together.  Date ranges will vary from chart to chart depending on the most recent time period for which data are available.

Nonresponse bias links show examples of nonresponse bias studies (where available). Additional nonresponse bias studies may be found on the survey’s webpage, linked in the first column of each table.

Response rates on this webpage are updated annually.

Note

1Groves, R.M. & Peytcheva, E. (2008). "The impact of nonresponse rates on nonresponse bias: a meta-analysis." Public Opinion Quarterly, 72(2), 167–189.

Chart 1. Household surveys

View data

Note

CE-Diary and CE-Interview

Data are collected monthly throughout the year, but the response rates reflect the annual collection response rate of the published tables.

Telephone Point of Purchase Survey (TPOPS)

The drop in TPOPS response rates in 2012 is the result of the conversion from a landline only sample frame to a dual frame sample design containing both landlines and cell phones.

Household survey features
SurveySample size Mandatory/VoluntaryFrequencyCollection methodsCollection periodApproximate survey lengthNonresponse bias research

American Time Use Survey (ATUS)

2,060 households Voluntary Monthly Phone 8 weeks 18 min Info

Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CE) — Diary

1,700 households VoluntaryMonthlyDiary 2 months 2 weeksInfo

Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CE) — Interview

3,365 households VoluntaryMonthly Personal visit, Phone 1 month 65 minInfo

Consumer Price Index — Housing (CPI—Housing)

7,800 housing units Voluntary Monthly Personal visit, Phone 1 month 5 min Info

Current Population Survey (CPS)

60,000 households Voluntary Monthly Personal visit, Phone 10 days 10 min (varies by month) Info

Telephone Point of Purchase Survey (TPOPS)

33,000 householdsVoluntaryQuarterly RDD (Random Digital Dialing), Phone7 weeks 13 minInfo

Chart 2. Establishment surveys: overall unit response rates

View data

Notes

Annual Refiling Survey (ARS)

In order to achieve the necessary savings for the funding level allocated to BLS in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, the BLS reduced the scope and frequency of collection for select units in the ARS. For more information, refer to 2014 Budget Enacted for Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Consumer Price Index Commodities & Services (CPI C&S) and Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)

The drop in CPI C&S and JOLTS response rates in October 2013 was due to the Federal Government Shutdown.

Establishment survey features
Survey Sample size Mandatory/VoluntaryFrequencyCollection methodsCollection periodNonresponse bias research

Annual Refiling Survey (ARS)

1,200,000 establishments Mandatory in 26 statesAnnualMail, Web12 monthsInfo

Consumer Price Index — Commodities & Services (CPI C&S)

138,000 price quotes VoluntaryMonthlyPersonal visit, Web, Phone20-22 business days NA

Current Employment Statistics Survey (CES)

651,000 establishments Voluntary Monthly CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing), EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), Web, Fax, TDE (Touchtone Data Entry), Other 10-16 business days Info

Employment Cost Index (ECI)

15,000 establishments VoluntaryQuarterlyPersonal visit, Web, Fax, Phone, Mail, E-mail45 days NA

International Price Program — Exports (IPP-Exports)

5,400 price quotes Voluntary Annual Personal visit, Web 1 yearInfo

International Price Program — Imports (IPP-Imports)

9,175 price quotes Voluntary Annual Personal visit, Web 1 yearInfo

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)

16,000 establishments VoluntaryMonthlyCATI, Web, E-mail, Fax11-17 business daysInfo

Occupational Employment Statistics Survey (OES)

1,200,000 establishments Voluntary in most statesAnnualMail, Fax, Phone, Web, E-mailAbout 6 months NA

Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII)

240,000 establishments MandatoryAnnualMail, Fax, Phone, Web, E-mail7 monthsInfo

Chart 3. Establishment surveys: initiation

View data

Notes

Consumer Price Index — Commodities & Services (CPI C&S)

The CPI rate is an unweighted average over the most recent eight semi-annual initiation (collection) periods, whereas the other surveys' rates are calculated based on the most recent initiation (collection) period.

Employment Cost Index (ECI)

The higher than usual ECI initiation rates for September 2015, December 2015, March 2016, and June 2016, are due to higher response rates for the initiation of the state and local government sample, which occurs approximately every 10 years.

International Price Program – Exports (IPP-Exports) and International Price Program – Imports (IPP-Imports)

The IPP fields one import and one export sample each year. Each sample takes approximately 12-15 months to initiate. The month listed in the chart and initiation rate table is the end date for a particular initiation period of a sample.

Establishment survey features
SurveyNumber of initiations attempted annuallyMandatory/VoluntaryCollection methodsCollection period

Consumer Price Index — Commodities & Services (CPI C&S)

10,500 establishments VoluntaryPersonal visit, Web February-July and August-January

Current Employment Statistics Survey (CES)

70,000 establishments Voluntary CATI 3 months

Employment Cost Index (ECI)

3,300 establishments VoluntaryPersonal visit, Web, Fax, Phone, Mail, E-mail45 days

International Price Program — Exports (IPP-Exports)

950 establishmentsVoluntaryPersonal visit1 year

International Price Program — Imports (IPP-Imports)

1,500 establishments VoluntaryPersonal visit1 year

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)

7,200 establishments Voluntary CATI 3 months

Producer Price Index (PPI), Initiation

4,500 establishments Voluntary Personal visit 24-30 months

Chart 4. Establishment surveys: repricing/collection at first preliminary release

View data

Notes

General

These rates only include data received prior to the deadline for the first preliminary release for surveys that have multiple releases prior to the final release. Final release response rates for these surveys and for surveys that have only a single release can be found on chart 5.

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)

The drop in JOLTS response rates in October 2013 was due to the Federal Government Shutdown.

 

Establishment survey features
Survey Sample size Mandatory/VoluntaryFrequencyCollection methodsCollection period

Current Employment Statistics Survey (CES)

651,000 establishments VoluntaryMonthlyCATI, EDI, Web, Fax, TDE, Other10-16 business days

International Price Program — Exports (IPP-Exports)

8,650 items VoluntaryMonthly WebAbout 20 days

International Price Program — Imports (IPP-Imports)

13,400 items VoluntaryMonthly WebAbout 20 days

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)

16,000 establishments VoluntaryMonthlyCATI, Web, E-mail, Fax11-17 business days

Producer Price Index (PPI)

25,000 establishments VoluntaryMonthly Web 14-15 business days

Chart 5. Establishment surveys: repricing/collection at final release

View data

Establishment survey features
Survey Sample size Mandatory/Voluntary FrequencyCollection methodsCollection period

Consumer Price Index — Commodities & Services (CPI C&S)

10,500 establishments Voluntary February-July and August-January Personal visit, Web NA

Current Employment Statistics Survey (CES)

651,000 establishments VoluntaryMonthlyCATI, EDI, Web, Fax, Other10-16 business days

Employment Cost Index (ECI)

12,200 establishments VoluntaryQuarterlyWeb, Fax, Phone, Mail, E-mail45 days

International Price Program — Exports (IPP-Exports)

8,650 items VoluntaryMonthly WebAbout 20 days

International Price Program — Imports (IPP-Imports)

13,400 items VoluntaryMonthly WebAbout 20 days

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)

16,000 establishments Voluntary Monthly CATI, Web, E-mail, Fax 11-17 business days

Producer Price Index (PPI)

25,000 establishments Voluntary Monthly Web 14-15 business days

Notes

Consumer Price Index Commodities & Services (CPI C&S) and Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)

The drop in CPI C&S and JOLTS response rates in October 2013 was due to the Federal Government Shutdown.

For help on BLS response rates or comments about the web page please contact us.

 

Last Modified Date: June 20, 2018