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Blog Entries from February 2010

Secretary Locke Encourages San Francisco's Participation in 2010 Census

2010 Census Web site marquee. Click to go to Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a 2010 Census event in San Francisco to raise awareness of the census just weeks before questionnaires begin arriving in mailboxes March 15-17. Locke stressed the importance of a complete count, as the census is the basis for critical decisions, including congressional representation and the allocation of more than $400 billion annually in federal funds. The 2010 Census form is the shortest in history—only 10 questions that take about 10 minutes. (2010 Census Web site)

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

Portrait of Blank.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis today released the second estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) for the fourth quarter of 2009. Real GDP was revised up slightly from 5.7 percent at an annual rate to 5.9 percent, primarily reflecting a smaller drawdown of inventories. (More) (Release)

Secretary Locke Urges Formation of Regional Innovation Clusters to Create Jobs, Encourage Growth

Secretary Locke gesturing from podium.

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U. S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered the keynote address at the “Clustering for 21st Century Prosperity” forum hosted by the National Academy of Sciences. Locke’s remarks focused on the importance of advancing regional innovation clusters to create 21st century jobs. Regional Innovation Clusters (RICs) are a proven way to create jobs and grow the economy. They are geographic concentrations of businesses, government, academic and non-profit institutions that have common needs for talent, technology and infrastructure. (Remarks) (Podcast)

Secretary Locke Promotes National Export Initiative During Tour of Local Manufacturing Facility

Locke talking to facility works while touring. Click for larger image.

Following on the heels of President Obama’s State of the Union pledge to double U.S. exports in the next five years, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Ellicott Dredges in Baltimore, Md., to discuss export strategy and toured the company’s manufacturing facility. During his visit, Locke, joined by Congressman John Sarbanes, met with local businesses and discussed the National Export Initiative (NEI) and highlighted the role the Commerce Department continues to play in supporting U.S. businesses like Ellicott Dredges. (More) (Remarks)

NIST Launches New Competition for Research Facility Construction Grants

NIST logo. Click to go to NIST Web site.

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced a new competition for grants for the construction of new or expanded scientific research buildings at institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations. NIST has $50 million available for the cost-sharing grants and anticipates funding three to five projects with grants of $10 to $15 million each. The NIST grants will fund new or expanded facilities for scientific research in fields related to measurement science, oceanography, atmospheric research or telecommunications, the research fields of the Commerce Department’s three science agencies. (More)

Secretary Locke Hosts Forum on Speeding University Research from Lab to Marketplace

Secretary Locke at podium.

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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke hosted a forum today with university leaders, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists on “Catalyzing University Research for a Stronger Economy” to address the critical importance of technology commercialization for America’s economic competitiveness and job creation. Joining Locke at the event were the presidents of several premiere universities, including Stanford, Nebraska, Akron and Kentucky. Locke and participating White House officials listened for suggestions that can improve and accelerate commercialization of federal R&D in university labs. (Remarks)

National and Local Organizations Help Increase Awareness as 2010 Census Partnerships Grow to 200,000

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The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians has become the 200,000th partner for the 2010 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. The number of partners supporting the 2010 Census exceeds the 140,000 that signed on to support the 2000 Census. To date, partners have donated 35,088 training locations, saving taxpayers an estimated $338.5 million in rent. The Red Lake Nation, based in Red Lake, Minn., joins a long list of local and national organizations and corporations, as well as other American Indian-Alaska Native nations, working to promote participation in the 2010 Census. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces Expanded Commerce-UPS Partnership to Boost U.S. Exports, Support Job Creation

Secretary Locke with UPS vehicles. Click for larger image.

On the heels of President Obama’s State of the Union pledge to double U.S. exports in the next five years, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and UPS CEO and Chairman Scott Davis announced new steps in an expanded partnership between UPS and the Department of Commerce that is designed to increase U.S. exports among small- and medium-sized businesses. Locke and Davis also met with local business leaders to discuss the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI) and how it will help American companies become more competitive while supporting job creation here at home. (More) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Announces ARRA Grants to Expand Broadband Internet Access and Expand Economic Growth

Recovery Act logo. Click to go to Commerce Department Recovery Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced 10 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) investments to help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, create jobs and improve education and health care cross the country. The grants will increase broadband access and adoption in California, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. (More) (Remarks)

President Obama Records Message Urging Participation in 2010 Census

2010 Census logo. Click to go to Web site.

Continuing a White House tradition of strong support for the census dating back to 1790, President Barack Obama recorded a public service announcement (PSA) encouraging national participation in the 2010 Census. The 30-second PSA released today by the U.S. Census Bureau asks every household to take 10 minutes to answer the 10 questions on the 2010 Census form and to mail it back. (More) (President’s PSA) (2010 Census Web site)

NOAA National Weather Service to Use New Hurricane Wind Scale

Satellite image of Hurricane Ike, 2008. Click for larger image.

NOAA’s National Weather Service will use a new hurricane scale this season called the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The scale keeps the same wind speed ranges as the original Saffir-Simpson Scale for each of the five hurricane categories, but no longer ties specific storm surge and flooding effects to each category. Changes were made to the Saffir-Simpson Scale because storm surge values and associated flooding are dependent on a combination of the storm’s intensity, size, motion and barometric pressure, as well as the depth of the near-shore waters and local topographical features. (More)

NTIA, Census Bureau Report New Findings on Internet Use in the United States

Image of circle of connected computers. Courtesy of Shutterstock

Image © Francesco Bisignani/Shutterstock

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a new report taking a first look at data collected through the Internet Usage Survey of more than 50,000 households, commissioned by NTIA and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in October 2009. Since 2007, the data show that, while virtually all demographic groups have experienced rising broadband Internet access adoption at home, historic disparities among particular demographic groups overall continue to persist. (More) (Census tables) (NTIA “Digital Nation” report—PDF)

Under Secretary Blank Statement on New Residential Construction in January 2010

Department of Commerce seal.

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau today released data on new residential construction in January 2010. Housing starts rose 2.8 percent in January and permits decreased 4.9 percent. Starts have advanced 23.4 percent and permits have risen 24.7 percent above their April 2009 low point. “Despite the mixed performance at the start of the year, the outlook for growth in housing activity remains positive,” Commerce Under Secretary Rebecca Blank said. (More) (Release)

NIST Issues Expanded Draft of Smart Grid Cyber Security Strategy

NIST logo.

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued the second draft of its Smart Grid Cyber Security Strategy and Requirements, which now identifies more than 120 interfaces that will link diverse devices, systems and organizations engaged in two-way flows of electricity and information and classifies these connections according to the level of damage that could result from a security breach. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces Travel and Tourism Advisory Board

Locke gesturing from podium.

File photo

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced his decision to appoint the new members of the United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (Board). The board’s new charter expanded membership to include a more diverse and expansive industry representation from private sector participants in the travel and tourism industry. The appointees represent a broad cross-section of the industry including transportation services, financial services, and hotels and restaurants, as well as a mix of small and large firms from across the country. (More) (TTAB Web site) (Member list)

2010 Census 'Portrait of America' Road Tour at Daytona Beach Speedway

No. 16 Ford Fusion with onlookers. Click for larger image.

The 2010 Census is right around the corner, with forms to be mailed in mid-March. Thirteen vehicles are traveling across the country, engaging audiences at events from the Super Bowl to state and county fairs, church functions and community events. From Feb. 11-14, 2010 Census-sponsored No. 16 Ford Fusion, was on display at Daytona International Speedway and will be driven in three upcoming NASCAR races in Atlanta, Ga., Bristol, Tenn. and Martinsville, W.Va. by Greg Biffle. (More) (Road Tour) (Vehicles) (2010 Census Web site)

Secretary Locke Statement on January 2010 Retail Sales Numbers

Department of Commerce seal

The Commerce Department's U.S. Census Bureau today released retail sales data for January 2010. Retail sales increased 0.5 percent compared with an expected rise of 0.3 percent. Retail sales rose 7.6 percent at an annual rate in the fourth quarter, following a gain of 6.4 percent in the third quarter. (More) (Release)

Secretary Locke Statement on December 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services

Locke speaking from lectern.

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the December 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 in December 2009 increased by 3.3 percent to $142.7 billion since November 2009. Imports in December increased 4.8 percent over November to $182.9 billion. Total U.S. exports decreased by 15 percent to $1.55 trillion for 2009 from 2008. The final trade deficit for 2009 was $381 billion with total U.S. imports of $1.93 trillion. (More) (Release)

Commerce Awards Recovery Act Broadband Expansion Grants Totaling More than $20 Million for Virginia

Recovery Acy logo.

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced two grants totaling more than $21.5 million to expand broadband Internet infrastructure in Virginia. Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) provides grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. These investments will help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth and create jobs. (More)

Commerce Department Proposes Establishment of NOAA Climate Service

Department of Commerce seal.

Individuals and decision-makers across widely diverse sectors—from agriculture energy to transportation—increasingly are asking Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for information about climate change in order to make the best choices for their families, communities and businesses. To meet the rising tide of these requests, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced the intent to create a NOAA Climate Service line office dedicated to bringing together the agency’s strong climate science and service delivery capabilities. (More) (Announcement) (Climate Web site)

Super Bowl XLIV: Census Bureau Facts for Features & Census 2010

Logo of Census 2010. Click to go to official Web site.

Super Bowl XLIV will be played Feb. 7 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., a Miami suburb. To commemorate this occasion, the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau has compiled a collection of facts examining the demographics of the host city, as well as the cities represented by the contenders, in this year’s edition of our nation’s most celebrated sporting event. With the mail-out of 2010 Census and the questionnaires slightly more than a month away, the Census Bureau will run three ads promoting census awareness during the Super Bowl telecast—two during the pregame show and one during the third quarter. (Facts)

Secretary Locke Promotes Renewable Energy Export Opportunities at RETECH 2010

Secretary Locke.

File photo

A day after unveiling the details of the president’s National Export Initiative, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke urged attendees at the Renewable Energy Technology (RETECH) 2010 Conference to explore the export opportunities available for renewable energy technology that can support good paying jobs in a growing sector. (More) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Unveils Details of the National Export Initiative

Locke gesturing with hands from podium. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke unveiled details of President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) today. During last week’s State of the Union speech, the president announced a goal of doubling exports over the next five years to support two million jobs in America. Locke detailed how the Export Initiative will help the country reach that goal—providing more funding, more focus and more cabinet-level coordination to grow U.S. exports. The NEI represents the first time the United States will have a government-wide export-promotion strategy with focused attention from the president and his Cabinet. (More) (Remarks) (C-SPAN video, 1:00 p.m. EST)

NIST's Second 'Quantum Logic Clock' is Now World's Most Precise Clock

Image of clock compared to the size of a quarter. Click for larger image.

Physicists at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have built an enhanced version of an experimental atomic clock based on a single aluminum atom that is now the world’s most precise clock, more than twice as precise as the previous pacesetter based on a mercury atom. The new clock is the second version of NIST’s “quantum logic clock,” so called because it borrows the logical processing used for atoms storing data in experimental quantum computing, another major focus of the same NIST research group. (More)

Administration's Budget Proposal Seeks Investments in Innovation, Clean Energy, Infrastructure and Job Creation

U.S. flag over entrance of Department of Commerce.

President Barack Obama today submitted to Congress an $8.9 billion FY 2011 budget request for the U.S. Commerce Department. The budget reflects priorities that will spur the growth of U.S. exports and the jobs that come with them, improve our scientific and technological capabilities and upgrade our capabilities for weather and climate observations and forecasting. (Press release)