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Blog Entries from December 2009

Commerce Department to Kick Off 2010 Census 'Portrait of America' Road Tour in New York City

Secretary Locke, Director Groves and Meredith Viera, Matt Lauer, Al Roker and AnnCurry from NBC's "Today Show" with 2010 Census NATIONAL vehicle behind. Click for larger image.

Monday, Jan. 4, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will join the Census Bureau in launching the 2010 Census Portrait of America Road Tour, a cross-country, interactive experience designed to educate the public about the importance of participating in the census and mailing back census forms this March. Locke and Census Bureau Director Robert Groves will kick off the national tour in New York City. Meanwhile, 12 regional tours will kick off across the country, including events in Boston and in Los Angeles with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. (More) (Road Trip vehicles) (2010 Census Web site) (Secretary’s blog) (Boston event photo)

Census Bureau Projects U.S. Population of 308.4 Million on New Year's Day 2010

Image of clock with cartoon of baby with top hat. Click to go to U.S. population clock.

On the eve of the 2010 Census, as the Census Bureau prepares to conduct an actual count of the nation’s population, the bureau projects that on Jan. 1, 2010—three months out from Census Day—the total U.S. population will be 308,400,408. This would represent an increase of 2,606,181, or 0.9 percent, from New Year’s Day 2009. In January 2010, one birth is expected to occur every eight seconds in the United States and one death every 12 seconds. (More) (U.S. Population Clock) (2010 Census)

The 2009 Holiday Season

U.S. Department of Commerce Fourteenth Street main entrance with holiday wreaths and bows above doors. Click for larger image.

The holiday season is a time for gathering with friends and family to reflect and give thanks. At this time of year, the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau presents holiday-related facts and figures from its data collection, including the details about mail, retail sales, toys, trees and decorations and much more. The Census Bureau projects the nation’s population at 308 million as we ring in the New Year 2010. Happy Holidays from the U.S. Department of Commerce! (More)

Census: Texas Gains Most in Population, Last Estimates Before 2010 Census Counts

Map of USA (Department of Commerce). Click for larger map.

Texas gained more people than any other state between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2009 (478,000), followed by California (381,000), North Carolina (134,000), Georgia (131,000) and Florida (114,000), according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates. “This is the final set of Census Bureau state population estimates that will be published before the official 2010 Census population counts to be released next December," said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. "We are focused now on ensuring we get a complete and accurate count in 2010." (More) (2010 Census)

Under Secretary Blank Locke Statement on November 2009 Personal Income and Outlays

Under Secretary Blank on podium.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis today released personal income and outlays data for November 2009. Personal income rose 0.4 percent, real disposable personal income increased 0.2 percent and real personal consumption expenditures advanced 0.2 percent. The saving rate in November was unchanged at 4.7 percent. “Consumer spending continues to expand in the fourth quarter of this year in sharp contrast with the declines a year ago,” said Commerce Department Under Secretary Rebecca Blank. (More) (Release)

Census: Nationwide Movement of Goods Reached 12.5 Billion Tons in 2007

Census Bureau seal.

Total shipments of goods in the United States accounted for nearly $11.7 trillion in revenue and 12.5 billion tons in 2007, according to new data released jointly by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. That is up from $8.4 trillion and 11.7 billion tons in 2002. These figures come from the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey, conducted every five years as part of the Census Bureau’s 2007 Economic Census. (More)

Under Secretary Blank Statement on Third Estimate of GDP in the Third Quarter 2009

Portrait of Blank.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released the third estimate of gross domestic product for the third quarter of 2009. Growth in real GDP was 2.2 percent at an annual rate, revised from the previous estimate of 2.8 percent. “The third-quarter gain marked the start of an economic recovery after a very deep recession,” U.S. Commerce Under Secretary Rebecca Blank said. “Consumer spending, residential construction and imports and exports have all moved from declines into positive growth in the third quarter.” (More) (Release)

Secretary Locke Announces $15.6 Million Grant to restore St. Louis Port

Secretary Locke with Commerce seal and flag in background.

File photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced a $15.6 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to reconstruct the St. Louis Municipal Terminal’s South Dock, which was damaged by extensive flooding in 2008. Three local St. Louis businesses served by the port met with Locke and Mayor Francis Slay before a City Hall news conference this morning to discuss the impact of ensuring the continuation of the area’s supply chain of river-related commerce. “Reconstruction of the critically important South Dock saves existing jobs and creates new ones by strengthening local connections to the global marketplace,” Locke said. (More) (Remarks)

Deputy Secretary Hightower Announces $39.7 Million Investment to Increase Broadband Access in New York

Hightower, Arcuri and SUNY Cortland president Dr. Erik J. Bitterbaum. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis F. Hightower and New York Congressman Michael Arcuri traveled to The State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland to spotlight a $39.7 million Recovery Act grant that will bring broadband Internet service to communities across the state that lack the technology. The investment will help bridge the technological divide, boost economic development, create jobs and improve education and health care. (More) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Announces $25.4 Million Investment to Increase Broadband Access to Maine, Vice President Announces $183 Million in 17 States

Recovery Act logo

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered remarks at the University of Maine announcing a $25.4 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant to help bring high-speed Internet access to underserved communities across the state. The project, and the private investments it will enable, has the potential to connect one-fifth of all Maine households to a high-speed, 21st century Internet backbone. Earlier in the day in Georgia, Vice President Joe Biden also announced an initial $183 million to expand broadband access in 17 states. (More) (Remarks) (VP Biden release)

NOAA Highlights Tsunami Advances, Urges Quick Action When Tsunami Threatens

Logo of TsunamiReady Community. Click to go to TsunamiReady Web site.

NOAA’s TsunamiReady Community

In December 2004, lack of an effective international warning system contributed to unprecedented loss of life when a tsunami devastated countless communities around the Indian Ocean and stunned the rest of the world. Through Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States accelerated preparation for a potential tsunami along the U.S. coastline and efforts to build partnerships for an international warning program. According to NOAA tsunami experts, the key to surviving a destructive tsunami is people’s ability to receive warnings and willingness to act quickly to move inland or to higher ground. (More)

Secretary Locke and Vice President Biden Host Middle Class Task Force Meeting Focused on Manufacturing

Official White House logo

Secretary Gary Locke joined Vice President Joe Biden to host a Middle Class Task Force meeting on the future of manufacturing. At the meeting, Biden announced the administration’s support for up to $10 billion in additional funding for a successful Recovery Act program to accelerate job growth in clean energy manufacturing—tripling the funding of the Recovery Act’s Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit. Other meeting participants included Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Director of the National Economic Council Lawrence Summers, and business, labor and academic leaders in the manufacturing sector. (Remarks) (Middle Class Task Force Web site)

Secretary Locke Statement on November 2009 New Residential Construction

Department of Commerce seal.

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Bureau of the Census today released data on new residential construction in November 2009. Permits rose 6.0 percent in November and starts increased 8.9 percent, in both cases exceeding market expectations. Permits have risen 17.3 percent above their low in April, and starts have advanced 19.8 percent above their April low point. These gains reflected increases in single-family activity, while multi-family starts have increased modestly. (More) (Release)

Secretary Locke Joins Vice President Biden in White House Roundtable on Enforcing Laws Against IP Piracy

Pictured are Presidential Senior Adviser Valerie Jarret, Secretary Gary Locke, Attorney General Eric Holder and Vice President Joe Biden. Click for larger image.

Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a roundtable discussion on enforcing laws against intellectual property piracy. They were joined by Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FBI Director Robert Mueller, USSS Director Mark Sullivan, as well as CEOs from major media conglomerates, union representatives, legal experts and other government officials. The White House meeting is the first of its kind and brought together stakeholders to discuss ways to combat intellectual property piracy in this rapidly-changing technological age.

Demonstration Network Planned for Public Safety 700 MHz Broadband

NIST logo. Click to go to NIST Web site.

Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) have announced plans to create a demonstration broadband communications network for the nation’s emergency services agencies using a portion of the radiofrequency spectrum freed up by the recent transition of U.S. broadcast television from analog to digital technologies. This demonstration network is currently in the preliminary planning stages and is expected to go live in mid-2010. (More)

Census: China's Population Projected to Peak in 2026, India to Become Most Populous Country in 2025

Census Bureau logo. Click to go to Census Bureau Web site.

China’s population is projected to peak at slightly less than 1.4 billion in 2026, both earlier and at a lower level than previously projected. Meanwhile, India’s population is projected to surpass China’s population in 2025, according to new data being released by the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau. These figures come from the population estimates and projections for 227 countries and areas released through the Census Bureau’s International Data Base. This release includes revisions for 21 countries, including China. (More)

Census Bureau Director Groves Gives Update on 2010 Census

Groves addressing the press. Click for larger image.

Dr. Robert Groves, director of the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau, updated the media on the status of the 2010 Census, announcing that an operation to update the Census Bureau’s address list earlier this year was successful and completed ahead of schedule. The address list will also continue to be updated throughout the next several months, as we approach Census Day, April 1, 2010, ensuring that every household will receive a questionnaire or be visited by a census worker. Dr. Groves also announced that all 494 local census offices across the nation are now open and recruiting has begun in targeted local areas. (2010 Census Web site) (2010 Census Blog)

NOAA Assesses Post-Tsunami Marine Debris in American Samoa

Submerged marine debris off Amanave Village in southwestern Tutuila. Click for larger image.

A team from Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has begun a survey of marine debris generated by the devastating September 29 tsunami in American Samoa. The team is carefully measuring the amount and impact of debris such as roofing and domestic goods in coral reef habitat near villages severely affected by the tsunami. Tsunamis are a natural occurrence, and corals can recover from damage by waves, sediment and plant debris resulting from a tsunami. Marine debris, however, can be very different. (More)

Secretary Locke Opens the Bright Green Expo in Copenhagen

Secretary Locke at podium, Bright Green Expo. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke spoke at the opening ceremony of the Bright Green Expo today at the U.N. Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen. The U.S. Department of Commerce, along with the Confederation of Danish Industry, hosted Bright Green to showcase companies, including dozens of U.S. companies that are already leading the way with innovation and intelligent technologies as the solution to the global climate challenge. Locke viewed the technologies on display and expressed support for what businesses are doing to transform the way the world uses energy. (Remarks) (Commerce at COP-15/Blog)

Secretary Locke Blogs from Copenhagen Climate Summit

Locke gesturing from podium with pen in hand.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke blogged on the Commerce Department’s COP-15 Web site today about his experiences thus far at the landmark conference on global climate change. In the post, Locke urges the country to seize the opportunity presented by comprehensive energy legislation to limit our dependence on foreign oil, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create clean energy businesses and jobs. “America has the ability and the obligation to preserve our planet and create good, new jobs,” Secretary Locke said. (Commerce Copenhagen Web site)

Commerce Deputy Secretary Hightower Promotes Export Opportunities to Small Businesses

Hightower on podium. Click for larger image.

Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis F. Hightower met with small business owners to discuss the key role exports will play in Detroit’s economic recovery. During his address at the “ExportsLive! Real Deals—Real Profits” seminar, Hightower stressed how exports will help revive businesses and create good-paying jobs. The gathering of small business leaders is geared toward helping companies grow and expand in global markets. The seminar was organized by the Export-Import Bank and included the participation of six federal agencies. (More) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Discusses Clean Energy Jobs in Copenhagen

Locke gesturing from the podium. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered the keynote address at the “Clean Energy Jobs in the Global Marketplace” forum at the U.N. Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen today. Locke discussed the Obama administration’s historic investments in clean energy and commitment to build a sustainable, clean energy global economy that drives investment and creates jobs at home and abroad. While President Obama has already done more to mitigate climate change than any president in U.S. history, Locke stressed that this is only the beginning of what must be done. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Statement on November 2009 Retail Sales Numbers

U.S. Department of Commerce seal.

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau released retail sales data for November 2009. Retail sales rose 1.3 percent, compared with an expected rise of 0.7 percent. Motor vehicle sales rose 1.6 percent, the second advance following the September drop related to the end of the Cash-For-Clunkers program. Sales excluding the volatile motor vehicle and gasoline components rose 0.6 percent, the fourth consecutive advance. (More) (Release)

Secretary Locke to Travel to Copenhagen to Discuss Administration's Commitment to Spur Clean Energy Technology, Reinvigorate the Economy

U.S. COP-15 logo. Click to go to State Department Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will travel to Copenhagen on Friday to discuss the Obama administration’s commitment to meet clean energy and climate change challenges and the promise clean energy development holds for spurring innovation, reinvigorating the economy and creating jobs. Secretary Locke has been a leading voice in the administration promoting innovation and investment in the clean energy economy. (More) (Commerce COP-15 Web site) (U.S. Center Web site)

Secretary Locke Statement on October 2009 Trade Numbers

Department of Commerce seal

On the eve of his trip to Copenhagen, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the October 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports increased by 2.6 percent to $136.8 billion since September 2009. Imports to the U.S. increased 0.4 percent to $169.8 billion. The trade deficit shrank 7.6 percent to $32.9 billion from a revised $35.7 in September. (More) (Release) (Fact sheet)

Under Secretary Blank to Help Census Bureau Kick Off Chicago 2010 Census In Schools Program

Blank at microphone. Click for larger image.

U.S. Department of Commerce Under Secretary Rebecca Blank, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, several former NFL players and students from King College Preparatory High School help U.S. Census Bureau officials launch the national 2010 Census in Schools program in Chicago. The program, "2010 Census: It's About Us," gives schools a wide range of free, optional, standards-based lesson plans on subjects related to the census, ranging from math to social studies. The program is designed for students in kindergarten through 12th grade and will reach all 118,000 schools and 56 million students nationwide. (More) (Fact Sheet-PDF)

Commerce Department Announces New Open Government Initiatives

U.S. Department of Commerce seal

The U.S. Commerce Department announced several initiatives that reflect President Obama’s commitment to increasing transparency and accountability in Washington and ensuring greater access and information for the American people. “President Obama took office with a call for unprecedented openness in government, and we are heeding that call,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “Americans have a right to understand the decisions made by their government, and today’s announcement will shed important light on them.” (More)

Secretary Locke Highlights E-Commerce's Role in Growing the Economy

Locke on podium.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke highlighted the importance of electronic commerce to the U.S. economy in a keynote speech at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Locke underscored the department’s commitment to working with U.S. industry and consumer advocates to protect consumers’ privacy and security online. The three-day conference will bring together senior government officials, business representatives, civil society, international organizations and academics from OECD and non-member economies to discuss consumer protection issues in today’s Internet economy. (Remarks)

NOAA: U.S. Temperatures Slightly Above Average, Precipitation Above Normal for 2009

Map showing U.S. temeperatures. Click for full-size map.

Global surface temperatures for 2009 will be well above the long-term average, while the annual temperature for the contiguous United States will likely be above the long-term average, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The analysis is based on global records, which began in 1880 and U.S. records beginning in 1895. (More) (Temp map) (Precip map) (Precip 1895-2009 graph)

Commerce Department Launches Copenhagen Climate Change Conference Web Site

U.S. COP-15 logo. Click to go to Web site.

The Department of Commerce has launched a Web site devoted to the participation of the United States in the 15th session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen, Denmark, Dec. 7-18. In cooperation with the U.S. State Department’s U.S. Center, the Web site,, will include daily schedules, links to related content and live Webcasts from the U.S. Center. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco will participate as major speakers at the conference. The Web site link will be available on the right navigation bar of the Commerce homepage for the duration of the conference. (Web site) (NOAA at Copenhagen)

Secretary Locke and Ambassador Kirk Welcome New Strategic Framework with Turkey

Secretary Locke, Ambassador and Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan respond to press questions from the stage. Click for larger image.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk inaugurated a new process of engagement with the government of Turkey on economic and trade issues. The new policy structure, to be known formally as the “Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation” (Framework), was unveiled on the occasion of the visit of Turkish Prime MinisterRecep Tayyip Erdogan to the White House. (More)

Five U.S. Organizations Announced as Recipients of 2009 Baldrige National Quality Award

Image of Baldrige Award medal. Click to go to Web site.

President Barack Obama and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced that five organizations are the recipients of the 2009 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest Presidential honor for innovation and performance excellence. “The road to greatness in America has been, and always will be, traveled by those who embrace change and work hard every day to be the best; the organizations we honor today with the Baldrige National Quality Award exemplify that spirit,” President Obama said. Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987 to enhance the competitiveness and performance of U.S. businesses. (More) (Program Web site)

Commerce's USPTO to Accelerate Review of Green Technology Patents

Kappos, Locke, Chu and Arun Majumdar anwer questions from the press.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will pilot a program to accelerate the examination of certain “green” technology patent applications, Secretary Gary Locke announced today. The new initiative, coming days before the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, will accelerate the development and deployment of green technology, create green jobs, and promote U.S. competitiveness in this vital sector. (More) (Remarks) (Energy Announcement)

Glider Completes Historic Crossing: New Technology Advances Climate Understanding

Photo of the Scarlet Knight. Click for larger image.

The first-ever 7,300-mile Atlantic Ocean crossing by an unmanned underwater glider is opening up a new world of ocean technology. A ceremony on Dec. 9 in Baiona, Spain, will celebrate the partnership effort among the U.S. interagency Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) through Rutgers University, NOAA, Puertos Del Estado (Spanish Port Authority), the National Oceanographic Partnership Program, and other European partners. “It is through efforts like this that we will continue to learn more about the wonders of the ocean at a critical time for our planet,” said Richard Spinrad, NOAA assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research. (More)

Secretaries Locke and Chu to Announce Initiatives to Accelerate Green Technology Innovation

Secretaries Locke and Chu at press conference.

File photo

In advance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, next week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Energy Secretary Steven Chu will announce new initiatives by their respective agencies to accelerate innovation in green technology, increase America’s competitiveness in this sector, and create jobs. At the Dec. 7 news conference, they will be joined by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office David Kappos.

NOAA: North American 2008 Cooling Attributed to Natural Causes

NOAA map

Cooler North American temperatures in 2008 resulted from a strong natural effect, and the overall warming trend that has been observed since 1970 is likely to resume, according to university and NOAA scientists. “Our work shows that there can be cold periods, but that does not mean the end of global warming. The recent coolness was caused by transitory natural factors that temporarily masked the human-caused signal,” said Judith Perlwitz, lead author of the study and a researcher with the Cooperative Institute for Research Environmental Sciences, and NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory. (More)

Secretary Locke Addresses Brazil-U.S. Business Council Annual Plenary Meeting

Locke on podium with plenary meeting banner behind him. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered the keynote address during the Brazil-U.S. Business Council annual plenary meeting at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Locke discussed the department’s role in expanding trade and ensuring the competitiveness of U.S. companies in markets across the globe. The plenary brings together top executives from the largest U.S. investors in Brazil and Brazil's leading companies to discuss private sector priorities for the bilateral and hemispheric trade and investment agenda with top decision makers from Brazil and Washington. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke to Attend White House Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth

Official White House logo. Click to go to

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will participate in a forum on Jobs and Economic Growth Thursday, Dec. 3, at the White House. The forum is an opportunity for President Obama and the economic team to hear from CEOs, small business owners, labor leaders and nonprofit heads about ideas for continuing to grow the economy and put Americans back to work. Locke will moderate a panel discussion on competitiveness and job creation with Christina Romer, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and make remarks at the closing session before introducing President Obama. Afternoon sessions and several discussion groups on jobs will be streamed live on the White House Web site.

Commerce Secretary Locke Joins Vice President Biden at the 2008 Baldrige Awards

Biden speaking on podium with award winners seated behind. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Locke and Vice President Biden presented three U.S. organizations with the 2008 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest honor for organizational performance excellence and innovation. The award promotes excellence in organizational performance, recognizes the achievements and results of U.S. organizations and publicizes successful performance strategies. Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th U.S. Commerce Secretary, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987. For additional information, visit (Remarks)

NIST Develops Experimental Validation Tool for Cell Phone Forensics

SIM chip image. © kenny1/Shuttercock. Click for larger image.

Image: kenny1/Shutterstock

Viewers of TV dramas don’t focus on the technology behind how a forensics crime team tracks a terrorist or drug ring using cell phone data, but scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) do. NIST researchers have developed a new technique aimed at improving the validation of a crime lab’s cell phone forensics tools. Early experiments show promise for easier, faster and more rigorous assessments than with existing methods. (More) (Report-PDF)