An important role fulfilled by CNSTAT panels is to evaluate federal household and business surveys and consider ways in which they can be improved and updated. CNSTAT panels have made recommendations on topics ranging from increasing the efficiency of the data collection methods to enhancing the usability of the data.
A recent study advised the Bureau of Labor Statistics on options for redesigning the Consumer Expenditure surveys, which are the principal source of knowledge about changing patterns of consumer spending in the United States. Another recent study evaluated redesign options for the Energy Information Administration’s Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey and Residential Energy Consumption Survey, which are the most relevant sources of data available to researchers and policy makers interested in residential and commercial energy consumption. CNSTAT panels have also provided guidance on improving the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the National Crime Victimization Survey, the Agricultural Resource Management Survey, the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics surveys of research and development expenditures in academia, the business sector, and government, and other flagship household and business surveys of the federal statistical system.
Workshops organized by CNSTAT have brought together leaders in the statistical, policy analysis, and research communities to discuss challenges common to federal household surveys, such as declining response rates, and challenges common to business surveys, such as impediments to developing a synchronized business address list for use in government surveys.