Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The ATUS is the Nation's first federally administered, continuous survey on time use in the United States.
The ATUS develops nationally representative estimates of how people spend their time. Respondents also report who was with them during activities, where they were, how long each activity lasted, and if they were paid. All of this information has numerous practical applications for sociologists, economists, educators, government policymakers, businesspersons, health researchers, and others, potentially answering the following questions:
• Do the ways people use their time vary across demographic and labor force characteristics, such as age, sex, race, ethnicity, employment status, earnings, and education?
• How much time do parents spend in the company of their children, either actively providing care or being with them while socializing, relaxing, or doing other things?
• How are earnings related to leisure time—do those with higher earnings spend more or less time relaxing and socializing?
• Where do people work—at a workplace, in their homes, or someplace else?
• How does the way people use their time affect their health, safety, and well-being?
The ATUS data are collected on an ongoing, monthly basis, so time series data will eventually become available, allowing analysts to identify changes in how people spend their time.
Office of Management and Budget clearance is being sought for the ATUS. This survey collects information on how individuals in the United States use their time. Collection is done on a continuous basis with the sample drawn monthly. The survey sample is drawn from households completing their final month of interviews for the Current Population Survey (CPS). Households are selected to ensure a representative demographic sample, and one individual from each household is selected to take part in one Computer Assisted Telephone Interview. In this interview, respondents are asked to report all of their activities for one pre-assigned 24-hour day, which is the day prior to the interview. A short series of summary questions and CPS updates follow the core time diary collection. After each full year of collection, annual national estimates of time use for an average weekday or weekend day are available.
Beginning in January 2010, well-being questions sponsored by the National Institute on Aging are proposed to be added to the ATUS. These questions will be included in the survey for 12 months (through December 2010). These questions will ask respondents to rate on a 0-to-6 scale how happy, tired, stressed, sad, and in pain they felt during randomly selected activities. Respondents will not be asked these questions about personal activities. Additional questions will be asked about general health, use of pain medications, and interactions with others.
The data from this module will provide a richer description of work. Specifically, the results will measure how workers feel during work episodes compared to nonwork episodes, and how often and with whom workers interact on the job. The results also can be used to measure whether the amount of pain varies by occupation and disability status. These data will also allow for research into how pain and aging affect time usage.
Because the ATUS sample is a subset of households completing interviews for the CPS, the same demographic information collected from that survey is available for ATUS respondents. Comparisons of activity patterns across characteristics such as sex, race, age, disability status, and education of the respondent, as well as the presence of children and the number of adults living in the respondent's household, are possible.
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 whether 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 through 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.
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.