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Blog Entries from May 2012

R&D, Patents are Key Manufacturing Drivers Chief Economist Mark Doms Tells National Association for Business Economics 2012 Conference

SME Companies Share of Total US Goods Exports 2000-2010

This afternoon Chief Economist Mark Doms addressed the 2012 National Association for Business Economics (NABE) Industry Conference, themed “Making it in America: Manufacturing Matters” in Cleveland, OH.  Hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, this NABE industry conference focused on “the changing dynamics and rebalancing of U.S. manufactures in the global economy, focusing on its rejuvenation and new challenges and opportunities.” He previewed an upcoming ESA report showing that many communities depend critically on manufacturing, and these communities are spread all across the United States. That is because manufacturing provides the basis for many middle class jobs with good benefits.

  • Much of our country’s innovation comes from the manufacturing sector: close to 70 percent of our research and development and 90 percent of our patents.
  • Since the trough of manufacturing employment, firms have added about a half million new jobs. 
  • The manufacturing industry has been one of the leading contributors to GDP growth over the last two years, accounting for 38 percent of total economic growthIn 2011, the U.S. exported over $1.26 trillion worth of manufactured goods, more than double the amount in 2002.  Also, since the trough in 2009, manufactured goods exports are up 38 percent.
  • In particular, small and medium sized companies are increasingly contributing to our export growth, and they now make up over a third of total exports. 

That is why the Administration’s focus on manufacturing is so important. Doms highlighted what the Commerce Department is doing to help.

The Importance of Culture, Partnerships, and Perspective in Regional Economic Development

Economic Development Administration seal

Guest blog post by Paul J. Corson, Deputy Director of the U.S. Commerce Department Economic Development Administration’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Recently, as part of our ongoing series of public conference calls with members of the National Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE), we spoke with Dr. Christina Gabriel, president of the University Energy Partnership, a nonprofit organization that was founded jointly in 2010 by five major research universities in the Pittsburgh area, and Dr. Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan. Dr. Gabriel and Dr. Coleman, who both play leading roles in regional-based economic development in promoting the commercialization of research, stressed similar themes, including the importance of culture, partnerships, and perspective in regional economic development.

During her call on May 22, Dr. Gabriel emphasized the importance of leveraging local strengths. She noted that while foundations historically have embodied a regional perspective when it comes to economic development, many universities have only recently begun to do so. Universities possess very rich and diverse strengths that are best leveraged by applying them to difficult problems in collaborative efforts. For example, the University Energy Partnership was set up to leverage broad research efforts and applied technology developments in the energy space that has been developed over many years—not just in the Pittsburgh region, but throughout the four neighboring states.

In order to achieve success in regional cooperatives, Dr. Gabriel recommended that institutions focus on what their region is good at, and to build around that. She cautioned against blindly following the latest fad and hiring consultants to try and steal companies from other regions. By focusing on regional strengths, she said, even regions that have fewer resources—including those that have lost human and industry resources—can slow, and even reverse, these declines.

Plan to Stay in Business

Weston Markeplace was flooded when Tropical Storm Irene hit the state. FEMA is providing assistance to those who were impacted by Tropical Storm Storm Irene hit Vermont in 2011. Storm Irene hit Vermont in 2011. Irene. Photo by Annette Foglino/FEMA

Guest blog post by Dan Stoneking, Director, Private Sector, FEMA Office of External Affairs

I used to own a small business called Stoneking Graphic Design. I know first-hand how hard it was to build it in my small town in New Hampshire: Long hours. Little security. So I was particularly moved to hear about the Weston Market place in Vermont that was flooded last year during Hurricane Irene.

As a new hurricane season is upon us, I worry about the Weston Markets in other towns. Disasters not only devastate individuals and neighborhoods, but entire communities, including businesses of all sizes. For small business owners, having a business continuity plan can help protect their company, keep their employees safe, and maximize their chances of recovery after an emergency or disaster.

Ready Business, an extension of the Ready national disaster preparedness campaign, helps owners and managers of small- and medium-sized businesses prepare their employees, operations and assets in the event of an emergency. Ready Business asks companies to take three simple steps: plan to stay in business, encourage your people to become Ready, and protect your investment. The Business section of contains vital information for businesses on how to get started preparing their business and their unique needs during an emergency.

Spotlight on Commerce: Hari Sastry, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Resource Management

Hari Sastry, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Resource Management

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of an America Built to Last.

As Deputy Assistant Secretary for Resource Management, my main responsibility is to support the Office of the Secretary to link Budget, Performance, and Risk Management with the strategic direction of the Department. The budget for the Department of Commerce is approximately $8 billion and contains numerous Presidential priorities including trade promotion and advance manufacturing as well as programs of national security such as weather prediction and export control enforcement. Furthermore, we are working with each bureau to create a uniform enterprise risk management framework to improve Department’s ability to understand the status of major programs and make decisions based on that information. Our office plays a critical role in supporting the President’s agenda, as we use performance and risk information to formulate the budget in accordance with the Administration’s priorities. My favorite part of this job is that both policy formulation and implementation come together as budgets are formulated, allowing me to get a complete picture of how public policy works.

I was born and grew up in Chicago, IL. My parents emigrated from India in the early 1970s and have lived in the Chicago area for most of my life. I received a BS in Mathematics from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI, a Masters in Public Health from the University of Illinois-Chicago with a focus in Epidemiology, and moved to DC in 1997 to get a Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University with a focus on health policy. I worked at the Office of Management and Budget for 11 years on veterans and military health issues prior to joining the Department of Commerce.

Spotlight on Commerce: Nishith Acharya, Director, Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship and Senior Adviser

Nishith Acharya, Director, Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship and Senior Adviser

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of an America Built to Last.

As Director of the Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, my main responsibility is to manage and coordinate efforts to commercialize more of the research that is funded by the federal government.  The US government provides about $150 billion in research funds to universities, labs and companies annually, and we are finding ways for support greater commercial application of that research to create successful companies and jobs. We support the President’s Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, work with over 500 universities around the country on issues of innovation and entrepreneurship, and run the i6 Challenge, which is a $1 million award to six different winners each – focused on creating more commercial ventures at our research institutes.

Our office plays a critical role in supporting the President’s agenda.  America’s greatest advantage is its innovation infrastructure and its deep culture of entrepreneurship.  Our office supports the development and implementation of programs and policies to enhance that.  This includes funding for innovation centers, coordination with universities and federal labs, and communication with entrepreneurs directly to understand their challenges and needs from the Administration.  Supporting innovation is critical for sectors such as manufacturing and energy, and entrepreneurship can never be taught too early.

I grew up in Wayland, MA, just outside of Boston.  My parents emigrated from India in the 1960’s and have lived in the Boston area for most of my life. I got my BS in Political Science and Economics from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. and then moved to DC to get my Master’s in Public Administration from the George Washington University with a specialization in international development.

Nationwide Adoption of NIST-Developed Test Predicted to Cut Death Toll Due to Cigarette-Caused Fires

Examples of results of the Standard Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of Cigarettes (ASTM E2187) are shown. Non-filter (top) and filter (left) cigarettes "failed," having burned the full length in the test. The cigarette that extinguished before burning its full length (right) passed. The test calls for performing 40 such determinations for each cigarette and reporting the number of full-length burns. Cigarettes are positioned on the standard ASTM E2187 test substrate.

In 2003, New York became the first state requiring cigarettes sold within its borders to pass a fire safety standard based on a test developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to reduce the risk of igniting upholstered furniture and bedding, a major cause of residential fires.

Last year, when Wyoming enacted a law similar to New York’s, a milestone with lifesaving consequences was achieved: all 50 states had made the Standard Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of Cigarettes (ASTM E2187) a regulatory requirement.

A new study projects that, with nationwide adoption, deaths due to fires ignited by cigarettes or other tobacco products will drop 30 percent below the total number of such fatalities in 2003, the last full year before the ASTM E2187 was first implemented in a state. The projected decrease translates into about 200 lives saved annually.  More from NIST

Spotlight on Commerce: Karen Hyun, Senior Policy Adviser

Karen Hyun, Senior Policy Adviser

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of an America Built to Last.

At the Commerce Department, I have the privilege to serve as Secretary Bryson's senior policy adviser on energy and environment issues.  

My parents emigrated from Korea over forty years ago with a couple of suitcases and an incredible work ethic.  They eventually landed in a small town in eastern Pennsylvania, halfway between my dad's small business fixing electric motors and the Veterans' Administration medical center where my mom was a doctor.  My sisters and I were products of our parents' focus on education, independence, public service, and proximity to a good public school system.   

When I was in elementary school, my dad used to wait with me at the bus stop until the bus came to pick me up.  The only days when this did not happen were election days because my parents were already waiting in line at the polls.  Early on, they instilled in us the right and responsibility to vote.  Although it was years before I could vote, my curiosity on how democracy works was piqued at an early age.  

My parents probably wanted me to follow in their footsteps and be an engineer or a doctor, but I chose a major in Earth Systems at Stanford University.  Earth Systems is a major in environmental science and policy and I chose to focus on our ocean ecosystems.  This was my first foray into learning about public policy that led to a Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island and several years on the Committee on Natural Resources in the U.S. House of Representatives.  

$26 Million Competition to Help Accelerate Growth of Advanced Manufacturing and Clusters

$26 Million Competition to Help Accelerate Growth of Advanced Manufacturing and Clusters

Guest blog post by Matt Erskine, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, and Dr. Patrick Gallagher, Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology

Manufacturing, especially advanced manufacturing based on new technologies, is a sector of vital importance to America’s economic viability—both to businesses and the people they employ. A recent study conducted by the Department of Commerce bears this out: Manufacturing is responsible for 70 percent of our private-sector research and development (R&D), 90 percent of our patents, and 60 percent of our exports. And the benefits accrue to manufacturing workers, since they earn pay and benefits that are about 17 percent higher than average.

That is why the $26 million Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, supported by 14 Federal agencies and announced today by the Obama administration, is so important.

The Advanced Manufacturing Jobs Accelerator is a competition to help grow industry clusters by strengthening connections to regional economic development opportunities; enhance a region’s capacity to create high-quality sustainable jobs; develop a skilled advanced manufacturing workforce; encourage the development of small businesses; and accelerate technological innovation. 

At the Department of Commerce, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Economic Development Administration (EDA) are leveraging resources, along with the Departments of Energy and Labor, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the National Science Foundation, to support public-private partnerships to spur economic and job growth in manufacturing clusters. Approximately 12 projects are expected to be chosen. This is the third in a series of multiagency Jobs and Innovation Accelerator challenges since 2011.

Winners of the 2011 challenge, which was funded by EDA, the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, and the SBA, have already begun to foster business growth and create jobs. For example, in the Greater Kansas City area, eight regional organizations joined together to form the Kansas City Jobs Accelerator. This organization is helping the advanced manufacturing and information technology cluster in the bi-state region by identifying game-changing technologies and processes and putting them in the hands of small businesses and talented entrepreneurs. Their tactics include coordinating research resources, helping prepare workers for careers in advanced manufacturing, and creating a clearinghouse for regional cluster and commercialization information.

Enhancing Global Commerce Through The America Invents Act

Implementation of the America Invents Act--the most significant overhaul to U.S. patent law in more than a century--beyond our borders is an essential response to an evolving intellectual property terrain impacting our global economy. It is a terrain being shaped by cross-disciplinary technologies—from computers to mobile phones to life-saving drugs—that are a growing part of everyday life. And that terrain continues to be shaped by our key trading partners around the world, including China.

These efforts are important in keeping the momentum toward meeting President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014, which will support millions of good-paying U.S. jobs. Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos recently met with China’s leading IP stakeholders, providing an overview of the significant changes to the U.S. patent system resulting from the agency’s ongoing implementation of the 2011 America Invents Act. He outlined the progress the USPTO is making in its implementation; the need for further harmonization of the world’s patent laws; and the benefits of a worksharing process that enables patent applicants to simultaneously pursue patent protection in multiple countries, known as the Patent Prosecution Highway, or PPH 2.0.

With an increasing emphasis on innovation in the U.S. and China, Kappos noted the importance of harmonizing our patent processes and advancing our worksharing initiatives—not just to ensure the smooth and efficient operation of our respective IP systems, but also to cultivate and commercialize new technologies blooming in the labs of both countries.

Memorial Day: A Look at Veterans in America Today

NPS/Andersonville National Historic Site. Flags decorate the graves in Section E of the Andersonville National Cemetery

Guest blog post by Melissa Chiu, Chief of the Industry and Occupation Statistics Branch, U.S. Census Bureau

As we honor those soldiers who have given their lives to their country this Memorial Day, we can also take the opportunity to better understand America’s veterans. The American Community Survey provides a profile of our 21.8 million veterans.

So, who are our veterans in America? U.S. veterans are made up of every gender, race, ethnicity and almost every age group. There were more women veterans in 2010 than twenty years ago; this group has grown by 3 percentage points since 1980 to 1.6 million in 2010.  It is important to recognize that women constitute 19 percent of veterans in the age group 18 to 34.  There were 9 million veterans 65 and older in 2010 and, at the other end of the age spectrum, 1.7 million were younger than 35.

We find that veterans age 18 to 34 are more racially and ethnically diverse than older veterans. Non-Hispanic whites account for 17.5 million veterans. In addition there were 2.4 million black veterans, 1.2 million Hispanics, 265,000 Asians, 157,000 American Indians or Alaska Natives and 28,000 Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders in 2010.

Europe Travel Log: Secretary Bryson’s Meetings and Events in Berlin, Germany

Photo of Bryson and others on elevated walkways

On May 24-25, U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson visited Berlin, Germany–the final stop on his European trip this week–to meet with senior business and government leaders and to address a major conference on trans-Atlantic trade. The Secretary delivered remarks on the importance of trans-Atlantic trade and a strong bilateral investment relationship between the United States and Germany. He also highlighted Germany's vocational training system, which he witnessed first-hand earlier in the week, as an important model for the United States.

‪While in Berlin, Secretary Bryson also met with Minister for Economics and Technology Philipp Roesler, State Secretary Harald Braun of the Foreign Ministry, and Chancellor Merkel's Senior Economic Adviser Lars-Hendrik Roeller. These meetings focused on how the U.S. and Germany can work together to advance economic growth and increase jobs by reducing barriers to trans-Atlantic trade.

‪Secretary Bryson also met with Hans-Peter Keitel, Chairman of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) along with representatives from companies across various sectors, ranging from industrial to IT to automotive and manufacturing. The Secretary encouraged the businesses to consider further investment in the United States, highlighting the attractiveness of the investment climate, including the resources provided by SelectUSA, the first coordinated effort by the U.S. government to attract new business investments to America.

Exports, Foreign Direct Investment, and Greener Fuel to Jumpstart Georgia’s Economy

Image of Georgia biomass facility

Guest blog post by Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine

As they search for opportunities to grow their economies and create jobs, no region in the United States can really choose to ignore the global marketplace—in fact, it just makes common sense. The latest export numbers bear this out: Since 2009, record-breaking levels of U.S. exports have supported an additional 1.2 million American jobs. And in March, the latest figures show that U.S. exports increased 2.9 percent, the largest increase since July 2011.

The benefits of increased engagement with world markets is something that the city of Waycross, Georgia, has experienced firsthand. In 2010, local authorities successfully concluded negotiations with a German energy firm, RWE Innogy, to build a new $135 million wood pellet manufacturing plant in the Waycross–Ware County Industrial Park. The pellets, which are produced from locally-sourced wood, are used as a cleaner-burning substitute for coal in the generation of electricity. A challenge was making sure that these pellets could be shipped quickly and cost effectively to major transportation hubs. A $1.3 million grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) resolved this by funding the construction of a new rail spur, ensuring that the pellets could be shipped to the port of Savannah and from there to overseas buyers.

NOAA Predicts a Near-Normal 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Satellite image of Hurricane Irene, 2011

Anniversary of Hurricane Andrew underscores necessity to prepare every year

Conditions in the atmosphere and the ocean favor a near-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin this season, Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today from Miami at its Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, and home to the Hurricane Research Division.

For the entire six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says there’s a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named storms with top winds of 39 mph or higher, of which four to eight will strengthen to a hurricane with top winds of 74 mph or higher, and of those, one to three will become major hurricanes with top winds of 111 mph or higher, ranking Category 3, 4 or 5. Based on the period 1981-2010, an average season produces 12 named storms with six hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

“NOAA’s outlook predicts a less active season compared to recent years,” said NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D. “But regardless of the outlook, it’s vital for anyone living or vacationing in hurricane-prone locations to be prepared. We have a stark reminder this year with the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew.” Andrew, the Category 5 hurricane that devastated South Florida on August 24, 1992, was the first storm in a late-starting season that produced only six named storms.

Favoring storm development in 2012: the continuation of the overall conditions associated with the Atlantic high-activity era that began in 1995, in addition to near-average sea surface temperatures across much of the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, known as the Main Development Region. Two factors now in place that can limit storm development, if they persist, are strong wind shear, which is hostile to hurricane formation in the Main Development Region, and cooler sea surface temperatures in the far eastern Atlantic.  Full NOAA press release

Europe Travel Log: Secretary Bryson Takes Key Meetings in Dusseldorf and Visits Training Facility in Berlin, Germany

Consul General Janice G. Weiner; Commerce Secretary John Bryson; NRW Economics Minister Harry K. Voigtsberger; U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Philip D. Murphy.

Following his visit to Paris, France earlier this week, U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson visited Dusseldorf, Germany on Wednesday, before taking off for Berlin. Secretary Bryson is in Europe this week to meet with government and business leaders, reaffirm the United States’ commitment to lowering trade barriers, and encourage European businesses to invest in the U.S.

In the morning, Secretary Bryson led a roundtable discussion with key members of the U.S. and German business community, including representatives from UPS, FedEx, and the American Chamber of Commerce, among others, as well as the Economics Minister of North Rhine Westphalia. The group discussed successes and challenges in trade and investment, as well as opportunities for continued cooperation and public-private partnerships, such as the Commerce Department partnerships with FedEx and UPS, to promote exports and build greater awareness of Commerce programs and initiatives to help small businesses. Secretary Bryson took the opportunity to encourage further German investment in the United States, highlighting the attractiveness of the investment climate and resources for potential investors, including SelectUSA, the first coordinated effort by the U.S. government to attract new business investments to America.

2010 Census: On-Time, Under-Budget, and Extremely Accurate

Image of Census bureau with social medai icons and website address

Guest blog post by Commerce Deputy Secretary Rebecca M. Blank

Yesterday's U.S. Census Bureau report shows that not only was the 2010 Census delivered on time and significantly under budget–but even more important, it was extremely accurate. I am proud of the extraordinary accomplishment by the Census Bureau and the Commerce Department in its success with the massive 2010 Decennial Census effort that gathered data vital to understanding our nation’s population and to allocating equal representation in our democratic system. The accuracy of the 2010 Decennial Census is particularly impressive considering outside predictions of failure. The Census was able to reverse a decades-long decline in survey response rates with its 2010 count.

The data released yesterday are from a post-enumeration survey of the 2010 Census called the Census Coverage Measurement (CCM) program, which measures the accuracy of the coverage of the nation’s household population (excluding the 8.0 million people in “group quarters,” such as nursing homes or college dorms). It surveys a sample of the 300.7 million people living in housing units and then matches the responses to the census, providing an estimate of exactly who was or wasn’t counted in the census. The results found that the 2010 Census had a very small net overcount–just 0.01 percent–which is statistically virtually the same as zero, and a significant improvement over the 0.49 percent overcount in 2000 and 1.61 percent undercount in 1990. You can learn more about how the Census Bureau conducts the CCM survey after the census to help measure its quality.

Europe Travel Log: Secretary Bryson Travels to Paris, France

This week, U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson visited Paris, France for the first leg of a European trip to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to lowering trade barriers and encouraging European businesses to invest in the U.S. In France, Bryson is meeting with several key members of the U.S. and French business communities, as well as with a minister in the new French government. These meetings focused on increasing French investment in the United States, supporting U.S. companies with operations in France, and learning about the new government’s economic policy plans.

On Monday, Secretary Bryson met with the leadership and key members of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in France to discuss investment and trade issues facing U.S. industry and to support U.S. company operations and interests in France. He also met with the leadership and key members of MEDEF, a major French business association, to highlight the attractiveness of the investment climate in the United States and learn about the successes, concerns and problems of current and potential investors. Bryson also took the opportunity to introduce French investors to SelectUSA, the first coordinated effort by the U.S. government to attract new business investments to America.The Secretary later met with the head of the French export agency, UBI France, and the CEOs of three French small businesses that are entering the U.S. market.

Crimes Against Marine Mammals Exhibit Opens at D.C.'s Crime Museum

Image of entangled seal

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Marine Mammal Protection Act through an eye-opening exhibit that showcases different violations of the Act, how law enforcement agents investigate those violations, and how you can help protect marine mammals. Created by Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries and the Crime Museum in Washington, D.C., the exhibit opens today at the museum and runs through September 3, 2012.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act  was passed in 1972 and prohibits, with certain exceptions, the take of marine mammals in U.S. waters or by U.S. citizens on the high seas, and the importation of marine mammals and marine mammal products into the U.S.  More at NOAA Fisheries release

International Buyer Program Announces 2013 Roster of Trade Shows

IBP B2B Matchmaking at Pack Expo 2010

Guest blog post by Gary Rand, Acting Director of the International Buyer Program

If you’re a U.S. company, your chances of finding the right international business partner greatly increases at a trade show that has been selected as a venue for the International Buyer Program. You’ll not only meet more international buyers, representatives and distributors, but your products and services can be listed in the Export Interest Directory distributed to all international visitors to the show. In addition to assistance from our experienced U.S. Commercial Service staff, you will also have access to an on-site International Business Center, where your company can meet privately with prospective international buyers, sales representatives and business partners.

That’s why I am pleased to announce the 30 U.S. trade shows in 2013 to which the International Buyer Program (IBP) will bring prospective international buyers. Thanks to our rigorous competitive selection process, I am confident these 30 trade shows will provide excellent B2B matchmaking venues for U.S. companies looking to expand their international sales to new markets, or to start exporting.

The advantage of the IBP versus other B2B matchmaking service offerings is it enables U.S. companies to meet a breadth of pre-screened prospective buyers from around the world all in one domestic venue. In fact, last year the IBP recruited nearly 13,500 prospective buyers from international markets to come to U.S. trade events to meet U.S. exporters. As a result, the IBP generated over $900 million in exports in 2011–a 10 percent increase over 2010. Over 49 percent of these successes were by U.S. firms that exported to a new market. There are still over 25 trade shows for remaining in 2012. For those U.S. companies planning to exhibit at any of these shows, the IBP is a great way to maximize your trade show investment.

The International Buyer Program is a joint government-industry effort designed to increase U.S. export sales by promoting international attendance at major U.S. industry exhibitions. The IBP provides practical, hands-on assistance to U.S. exhibitors interested in exporting and making contacts with prospective overseas trade partners. This assistance includes export counseling, marketing analysis, and matchmaking services. The IBP is an important part of our implementation of the Obama administration’s National Export Initiative which aims to double the value of U.S. exports over the next five years.

NIST: Improving Safety Measures and Measures of Safety for World Metrology Day 2012

NIST engineer Kate Remley holds two Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) devices with wireless alarm capability (Photo copyright Paul Trantow/Altitude Arts)

Sunday, May 20, was World Metrology Day, a celebration of the signing of the Treaty of the Meter on that date in 1875. By signing the treaty, representatives from 17 nations, including the United States, recognized the importance of worldwide uniformity of measurements and established a collaborative global framework for the advancement of measurement science. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Metrology for Safety.”

Measurement plays a key role in ensuring that products—e.g., cars, paints, food and medicines—and processes such as medical procedures, are safe. As the U.S. national metrology institute, the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) creates standard reference materials, improves measurement tools, develops performance metrics and advances metrology so that the nation has the best safety measures and measures of safety.

Deputy Secretary Blank Advocates Public Service in Commencement Speech

Guest blog post by Commerce Deputy Secretary Rebecca M. Blank

This morning, I had the privilege of delivering the commencement address to graduate students at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) commencement ceremony.

I was also deeply honored to receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree during the ceremony for my work as a public servant, including the leadership I provided in my previous job at Commerce, overseeing the nation’s premier statistical agencies, the Census Bureau (during the 2010 Census) and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The commencement speech provided an opportunity to give advice to the graduate students and to encourage them to use their expertise and experience to find solutions to the pressing problems facing our world. UMBC is particularly well-known for its scientific training. Science, technology, engineering and math–STEM fields–are particularly important, and it is STEM-related research that will drive innovation in the years ahead. In fact, STEM jobs have grown three times faster than other jobs, indicating the need for more workers with these skills.

Secretary Bryson Awards Presidential Export Honors to U.S. Exporters, Including 35 Small- or Medium-Sized Enterprises

Secretary Bryson delivers remarks, congratulates recipients

Thirty-five outstanding small- or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) took center stage at the President’s “E” Awards ceremony at the White House today. This morning, Commerce Secretary John Bryson and Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Michelle O’Neill joined Senior Adviser to the President Valerie Jarrett to honor U.S. companies and organizations that have made significant contributions to increasing American exports. A total of 41 companies and organizations—the largest group to receive the award in the past twenty years—were honored at the ceremony, which marks the 50th annual “E” Awards.

Winners of the 2012 “E” award represent diverse communities across the country from places like Bakersfield, Calif., Baton Rouge, La., Bolingbrook, Ill., and Bradford, Pa. Of the honorees recognized at today’s ceremony, 35 are SMEs, 20 are manufacturers, and 17 are both.

“E” Award recipients contribute to the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI) goal of doubling U.S. exports in order to support American jobs. A key component of the NEI is ensuring that America’s small businesses have the tools, resources and relationships they need to make exporting a growing part of their business operations and creating jobs in the United States.

Deputy Secretary Blank Delivers Remarks on Manufacturing at the Aspen Institute

Deputy Secretary Blank delivers remarks at the Aspen Institute (Photo: Steve Johnson, Aspen Institute)

This morning, Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank delivered the keynote address at “Manufacturing, Innovation, and Workforce Training: What Works In Germany and The United States For Jobs and Growth,” a conference co-sponsored by the Aspen Institute, the German Center for Research and Innovation, the German Embassy, and the Representative of German Industry and Trade. Her remarks come the week before Commerce Secretary John Bryson travels to Dusseldorf and Berlin to meet with government and business leaders.

Deputy Secretary Blank noted how both America and Germany have shown strength in areas such as manufacturing and exporting. She emphasized the importance of maintaining economic growth by strengthening the U.S.-German economic relationship.

NOAA, BOEM: Historic, 19th Century Shipwreck Discovered in Northern Gulf of Mexico

While most of the ship's wood has long since disintegrated, copper that sheathed the hull beneath the waterline as a protection against marine-boring organisms remains, leaving a copper shell retaining the form of the ship.

During a recent Gulf of Mexico expedition, NOAA, BOEM and partners discovered an historic wooden-hulled vessel which is believed to have sunk as long as 200 years ago. Scientists on board the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer used underwater robots with lights and high definition cameras to view remnants of the ship laden with anchors, navigational instruments, glass bottles, ceramic plates, cannons, and boxes of muskets.

Equipped with telepresence technology, Okeanos Explorer reached audiences around the world who participated in the expedition through live streaming Internet video. As members of the public ashore watched live video from the ocean bottom, they became “citizen explorers,” sharing in the discovery with maritime archaeologists, scientists and resource managers from a variety of federal, academic and private organizations.

The NOAA-funded 56-day expedition that ended April 29 was exploring poorly known regions of the Gulf, mapping and imaging unknown or little-known features and habitats, developing and testing a method to measure the rate that gas rises from naturally-occurring seeps on the seafloor, and investigating potential shipwreck sites.  Full story

Advanced Manufacturing Gets a Boost in Conover, North Carolina

An architect’s rendering of Conover Station in Hickory, North Carolina. The new home of the Manufacturing Solutions Center is being built with help from the Economic Development Administration. (photo courtesy Conover Station)

Guest blog post by Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine

Speaking last week at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Secretary of Commerce John Bryson focused on the importance of manufacturing to boosting U.S. economic growth, job creation and exports. To see evidence of that, we need only look to the city of Conover, North Carolina, where Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has been supporting elected officials and local private and public sector leaders—including a community college and a nonprofit manufacturing center—in their efforts to make this area a regional hub for advanced manufacturing expertise and to expand the region’s reach into international markets.

A $1.5 million EDA investment made in 2010 to the city of Conover and Catawba Valley Community College is helping build a new home at Conover Station in Hickory, North Carolina, for the Manufacturing Solutions Center (MSC) and its business incubator. The two establishments are already cultivating a new form of manufacturing, one based in smaller and smarter factories that nourish innovation. The new 30,000 square foot facility, which is being built on the premises of a former furniture manufacturing plant, will allow for the expansion of those efforts.

U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson Delivers Remarks to Steel Manufacturers Association

This afternoon, Commerce Secretary Bryson delivered keynote remarks at the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA) 2012 Annual Members conference, where he discussed the importance of the steel industry and the administration’s efforts to support U.S. manufacturers.

As the Secretary said, this administration understands the importance of supporting U.S. manufacturers. When President Obama came into office, the United States was at risk of losing over one million auto industry jobs. The ripple effect on the supply chain would have been devastating, potentially eroding the U.S. manufacturing base and driving the economy from a deep recession into depression. Instead, due to the president’s leadership, the auto industry survived and is now thriving, adding more than 200,000 jobs over the last two and one-half years.

There is an inextricable link between America’s ability to produce and America’s ability to innovate, compete and create jobs. Manufacturing is responsible for 70 percent of U.S. private sector R&D, 90 percent of patents, and 60 percent of our exports. In addition, the Commerce Department released a report just last week showing that manufacturing workers earn pay and benefits about 17 percent higher than other workers.

NOAA: April Global Temperatures are Fifth-Warmest

Most of the globe's land areas experienced warmer-than-average temperatures, resulting in the second-warmest April land temperature, behind 2007 (Credit: NOAA Visualization Lab)

La Niña ends; neutral conditions return over equatorial Pacific Ocean

According to NOAA scientists, the globally-averaged temperature for April marked the fifth warmest April since record keeping began in 1880. April 2012 also marked the largest departure from the 20th century average temperature in more than a year.

La Niña, typically associated with cooler global temperatures, dissipated and transitioned to neutral conditions during April as sea surface temperatures continued to warm across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, neutral conditions are expected to continue through the Northern Hemisphere's summer.

April analysis

U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Now in Force!

Colombian porches superimposed on map of Colombia

Ed Note: The following is a cross-post that originally appeared on ITA's blog, "Tradeology."

Christopher Blaha is a Senior International Economist within the Office of Trade and Policy Analysis and Julie Anglin is the Colombia Desk Officer within the International Trade Administration.

Today more than 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia become duty-free as part of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement. This includes agricultural and construction equipment, building products, aircraft and parts, fertilizers, information technology equipment, medical scientific equipment and wood. Also, more than half of U.S. exports of agricultural commodities to Colombia become duty-free, including wheat, barley, soybeans, high-quality beef, bacon and almost all fruit and vegetable products.

The agreement also provides significant new access to Colombia’s $180 billion services market, supporting increased opportunities for U.S. service providers. For example, Colombia agreed to eliminate measures that prevented firms from hiring U.S. professionals, and to phase-out market restrictions in cable television.

Prior to the enactment of this agreement, the average tariff that U.S. manufactured goods faced entering Colombia was 10.8 percent. With entry into force today, Colombia’s average tariff rate for manufactured goods from the United States has been reduced to 4 percent.

Department of Commerce and Environmental Protection Agency Announce New Initiative to Boost exports and Create Jobs

Secretary Bryson, second from right, poses with government and university officials

Today, at a Technology Market Summit held at American University, Commerce Secretary John Bryson and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson launched an environmental technology initiative to help create American jobs in the growing environmental industry.

The Environmental Technologies Export Initiative builds on President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014 and support millions of American jobs.

As Secretary Bryson pointed out in his remarks at the event, the American environmental industry generates approximately $312 billion in revenues each year, with a global market of more than $800 billion. This growing industry employs nearly 1.7 million Americans and includes over 60,000 small businesses across the country.

The initiative will include a web-based tool, which is scheduled to be launched in the fall at This will help environmental firms find the tools and information they need to sell their goods abroad.

Summary of Twitter #MFGChat on ESA's Manufacturing Jobs report

Today @CommerceGov, @EconChiefGov, and @TheMFGInstitute joined the manufacturing community on Twitter to discuss the Economic and Statistics Administration’s “The Benefits of Manufacturing Jobs” report. #MFGChat is held monthly. Below is a selected transcript of the conversation.

Robin Chase, Founder of Zipcar and Buzzcar, Discusses Opportunities to Leverage Excess Capacity for Innovation

Robin Chase, Founder of Zipcar and Buzzcar

Guest blog post by Nish Acharya, director of the U.S. Commerce Department Economic Development Administration’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

In the second of the series of conference calls with national leaders in innovation and entrepreneurship, we had small business owners, entrepreneurs, innovators and stakeholders join me for an in-depth conference call with Ms. Robin Chase, founder and former CEO of Zipcar, founder and CEO of Buzzcar, and a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE).

Ms. Chase started the conversation by giving us some background about how she started Zipcar in June 2000 with $75,000 that she had raised. She was able to raise more money from the Boston venture capital community by attending every start-up meeting she could, using the fact that she obtained degrees from a “local” college and university to pitch her idea. Her efforts paid off: for example, an MIT angel venture group funded a significant portion of the early investment in Zipcar.

Ms. Chase shared that she spends a lot of time thinking about the use of excess capacity and believes that this is a fertile area for innovation. She provided several examples of companies that have been built around this concept, including Skype and Buzzcar.

National Travel and Tourism Strategy Sets Goal to Draw 100 million International Visitors to U.S.

One of America's many beautiful National Parks

Guest blog post by Secretary of Commerce John Bryson and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

As we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, the U.S. government is doubling down on its commitment to create more jobs for Americans by growing international and domestic travel and tourism that powers our economy.

Last year, 62 million international tourists visited the United States and pumped a record $153 billion into local economies, helping to support the 7.6 million jobs in our travel and tourism industry. These numbers make tourism America’s number one service export.

That’s why the White House released a new National Travel and Tourism Strategy today, charting a new course toward making America a more attractive and accessible destination than ever before. The Strategy sets a goal of drawing 100 million international visitors by 2021, which is expected to generate $250 billion annually in visitor spending by 2012. The strategy also encourages more Americans to travel within the United States.

America is the land of extraordinary natural wonders – from the Grand Canyon to the Florida Keys; from Yellowstone to Yosemite. America is where we do big things, and as a result, we have incredible landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Empire State Building; the Hoover Dam and the Gateway Arch. This is the land of iconic cities and all their sights – from Independence Hall in Philadelphia to the Space Needle in Seattle to the skyline of Chicago. From the Mall of America to Walt Disney World, we have it all right here.

At President Obama’s direction in January, we co-chaired an interagency task force to develop the strategy – identifying concrete steps in five key areas designed to promote these destinations and make America as number one tourism destination in the world:

Job Creation Through Export Development: EDA Commemorates World Trade Month

Logo: World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia

Guest blog post by Acting Assistant Secretary for Economic Development Matt Erskine

In Commerce Secretary Bryson’s statement to mark World Trade Month, he discussed steps the Obama administration is taking to give “American workers and businesses a fair shot in the global economy by supporting trade agreements that will open up markets to U.S. companies, working to aggressively investigate unfair trade practices taking place anywhere in the world, and continuing to work to ensure that our workers and businesses are competing on a level playing field.” President Obama will issue a proclamation to commemorate World Trade Week, which falls in the third week of May, to expand on this commitment to promote U.S. exports.

Words like “partnering” and “leveraging” might seem abstractions at times, but when it comes to making investments that help U.S. businesses export, they are anything but. One excellent example of the effectiveness of partnering and leveraging the resources of multiple organizations is the “Job Creation through Export Development: Innovative Manufacturing and Service Program” of the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia (WTCGP). In 2010, the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) invested $1 million to bolster the efforts of WTCGP to promote the global presence of the Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey region. The initiative serves as a catalyst for regional economic growth and job creation in four sectors that have been targeted by the program as having high export potential: energy and environment, high technology and nanotechnology, biotech and life sciences, and education.

Secretary Bryson Discusses the Future of U.S. Manufacturing at MIT

Secretary Bryson Discusses the Future of U.S. Manufacturing at MIT

There is a powerful link between America’s ability to make things and America’s ability to innovate, compete, and create good jobs, as Secretary John Bryson said today when he spoke to CEOs, students and faculty at “The Future of Manufacturing in the U.S.” conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Secretary took the opportunity to discuss the importance of manufacturing in boosting U.S. economic growth, job creation and exports, as part of the administration's ongoing efforts to encourage companies to build things in America and sell everywhere around the globe.

Bryson also released a new U.S. Commerce Department Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) report titled “The Benefits of Manufacturing Jobs,” an analysis of wages and benefits of manufacturing workers, which provides fresh evidence that manufacturing jobs encourage innovation and support economic security for America’s middle class. The report finds that total hourly compensation for manufacturing workers is 17 percent higher than for non-manufacturing workers. It also shows that manufacturing jobs are becoming more skilled and heavily reliant on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, and that manufacturing is responsible for 70 percent of our private sector R&D, 90 percent of our patents, and 60 percent of our exports.

After a decade in which the United States lost many manufacturing jobs, American manufacturers have added back 489,000 jobs since January 2010—the best streak since 1995. In the first four months of 2012 alone, the U.S. manufacturing sector added 139,000 jobs. At the same time, the number of job openings in manufacturing has more than doubled.

Manufacturing: Key to an Innovation-Based Economy

Under Secretary of Commerce and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher (left) participates in panel on advanced manufacturing

Scientists, industry leaders and public officials came together this week for a dialogue on innovation at The Atlantic's “From Inspiration to Innovation Summit,” held at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Va. Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Director Patrick Gallagher was among the invited speakers on the panel, “Advanced Manufacturing: Made in America. . . Again?”

Responding to a question about NIST’s role in supporting manufacturing, Gallagher pointed out that the agency’s mission goes back more than 110 years. Then, and now, that mission has been to ensure that U.S. industries have the infrastructure of measurements, standards, and technology they need to be competitive in global markets, particularly manufacturing-based industries. That mission is even more important today, when so much manufacturing is tied to advanced technology, and our research and development—our ability to innovate—is deeply embedded in our manufacturing capability.

Join Chief Economist Mark Doms and Gardner Carrick of The Manufacturing Institute for a Twitter Chat on Manufacturing Jobs on Friday

Following the release of the Economic and Statistics Administration’s “The Benefits of Manufacturing Jobs” report, Chief Economist Mark Doms and Gardner Carrick, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at The Manufacturing Institute, will be holding a 30-minute Twitter chat responding to your questions about the report and the state of American manufacturing on Friday, May 11th at 1:00pm ET.

Manufacturing jobs provide benefits to workers with higher overall compensation than other sectors, and to the economy through innovation that boosts our nation’s standard of living.  Specifically, this report shows that:

  • On average, hourly wages and salaries for manufacturing jobs are $29.75 an hour compared to $27.47 an hour for non-manufacturing jobs. Total hourly compensation, which includes employer-provided benefits, is $38.27 for workers in manufacturing jobs and $32.84 for workers in non-manufacturing jobs, a 17 percent premium.
  • Even after controlling for demographic, geographic, and job characteristics, manufacturing jobs maintained significant wage and benefit premiums.  
  • The educational attainment of the manufacturing workforce is rising steadily.  In 2011, 53 percent of all manufacturing workers had at least some college education, up from 43 percent in 1994.
  • The innovative manufacturing sector relies more heavily on STEM education than non-manufacturing.  For instance, nearly 1 out of 3 (32 percent) college-educated manufacturing workers has a STEM job, compared to 10 percent in non-manufacturing. 
  • Higher educational attainment for manufacturing workers carries higher premiums and the size of the premium, including or excluding benefits, increases consistently with educational attainment.
  • Furthermore, the compensation premium has risen over the past decade across all levels of educational attainment.

Here's how you can participate:

  • Starting now, ask questions for Mark and Gardner on Twitter using the hashtag #mfgChat or at our Facebook page or in the comments here.
  • On Friday, May 11th, at 1:00p.m. EST begin following @EconChiefGov @TheMFGInstitute and #mfgChat to follow the conversation.
  • Check back on later on Friday to see a summary of the conversation once it is completed at 1:30

 Be sure to follow @EconChiefGov on Twitter for the latest key economic indicators.

Economic and Statistics Administration Releases Report on "The Benefits of Manufacturing Jobs"

Stats and figures in Visual Form

Today the Economic and Statistics Administration released a report entitled "The Benefits of Manufacturing Jobs" (PDF) that explores benefits to workers and to our nation of a strong manufacturing sector. The current economic recovery has witnessed a welcome return in manufacturing job growth.  Since its January 2010 low to April 2012, manufacturing employment has expanded by 489,000 jobs or 4 percent— the strongest cyclical rebound since the dual recessions in the early 1980s.  From mid-2009 through the end of February 2012, the number of job openings surged by over 200 percent, to 253,000 openings. Coupled with attrition in the coming years from Baby Boomer retirements, this bodes well for continued hiring opportunities in the manufacturing sector.

The rebound in manufacturing is important, not only as a sign of renewed strength, but also because manufacturing jobs are often cited as “good jobs:” they pay well, provide good benefits, and manufacturing workers are less likely to quit than workers in other private sector industries. In fact, our analysis finds evidence in support of these claims.  Specifically, this report shows that:

China Travel Log 4: On His Final Day in China, Secretary Bryson Highlights Travel to the U.S.

Secretary John Bryson spent his last day in China in the financial capital of Shanghai.

He began his day with a group of American business leaders based in China. The leaders, members of American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and the U.S.-China Business Council, exchanged ideas and shared information about the opportunities and challenges of day to day business operations in China.

As Secretary Bryson said to the group, our bilateral trade with China reached over $500 billion last year, with U.S. merchandise exports reaching $100 billion for the first time. However, with a trade deficit close to $300 billion, we still have a lot of work to do.

The Secretary then gave remarks at a tourism event, highlighting the robust and growing travel of Chinese tourists to the United States.

In his remarks, Secretary Bryson pointed out that "travel and tourism between our countries is crucial to building stronger cultural and economic ties. This generates greater understanding and friendship between our people. And yes, it also generates greater prosperity."

2010 Census Shows More than Half of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders Report Multiple Races

Pie chart: More than Half of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders Report Multiple Races

Commerce's U.S. Census Bureau released today a 2010 Census brief, The Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Population: 2010 (PDF), that shows more than half (56 percent) of this population, or 685,000 people, reported being Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander in combination with one or more other races. This multiracial group grew by 44 percent from 2000 to 2010.

Overall, 1.2 million people, or 0.4 percent of all people in the United States, identified as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (NHPI), either alone or in combination with one or more races. This population grew by 40 percent from 2000 to 2010. Those who reported being Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone totaled 540,000, an increase of 35 percent from 2000 to 2010. The multiple-race Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population, as well as both the alone and alone-or-in-combination populations, all grew at a faster rate than the total U.S. population, which increased by 9.7 percent from 2000 to 2010.  Census press release

U.S. Temperatures for April Third-Warmest on Record

Map: April 2012 Statewide Ranks

Past 12 months and first third of the year were warmest nation has experienced

Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that several warm periods across the contiguous U.S. during April brought the national average temperature to 55°F, 3.6°F above average, marking the third warmest April on record. These temperatures, when added with the first quarter and previous 11 months, calculate to the warmest year-to-date and 12-month periods since recordkeeping began in 1895.

January-April was the warmest such period on record for the contiguous United States, with an average temperature of 45.4°F, 5.4°F above the long-term average. Twenty-six states, all east of the Rockies, were record warm for the four-month period and an additional 17 states had temperatures for the period among their ten warmest.

On the heels of the warmest March for the U.S., warmer and drier than average temperatures continued for much of the nation with some states in the Ohio Valley having a small, but still above-average, dip in temperatures.  Full briefing

Manufacturers Learn Keys to Success at MEP's Manufacturing Innovation 2012

Roger Kilmer addressing Manufacturing Innovation 2012 audience

"We are finally the ‘in’ thing," said Roger Kilmer, director of National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to the more than 800 manufacturers and industry experts gathered at the Manufacturing Innovation 2012 conference yesterday in Orlando, Fla. "Everyone from the media to the political pundits to your neighbors—they're all talking about manufacturing. It's now clear. We need to be a nation that makes things."
The annual conference helps manufacturers and other industry experts learn critical tools for ensuring that U.S. companies are constantly innovating and continually improving the products to compete and win in the global marketplace. The overarching theme of the meeting is, "Make it in America," and through exhibits and conference talks, attendees learned about many companies succeeding in the marketplace with U.S.-made products.
"We don't want to just tell you to be innovative. We want to show you how to be innovative," said Kilmer.

China Travel Log 3: Secretary Bryson Travels to Nanjing, China

Nanjing Municipal Party Secretary Yang Weize and Secretary Bryson, talking while overlooking Nanjing

With the Strategic and Economic Dialogue complete, Secretary Bryson traveled to Nanjing this weekend for meetings with Chinese provincial officials to discuss how the U.S. and China can continue to work together to strengthen the economic relationship between the two countries.

Nanjing, in eastern China, is the capital of Jiangsu province. With a population of over 8 million, the city is an important cultural, educational and economic center, located a little over an hour from Shanghai.

Secretary Bryson's weekend began with a meeting with Nanjing Municipal Party Secretary Yang Weize, where Secretary Yang spoke about the history and culture of the city that was one of the four ancient capitals of China. Secretary Yang also highlighted the city's commitment to innovation and education. Over 800,000 students study at colleges and universities in the city.

Secretary Bryson expressed his thanks for the hospitality he has been shown in the city and his eagerness to learn more about the future of Nanjing, a city where imports from the United States are on the rise.

The two also spoke about how Nanjing is set to host the Youth Olympics in 2014, the second time the games will be held.

China Travel Log 2: Economic Talks Continue in Beijing

Secretary Bryson's visit to China continued today in Beijing where he started the morning with a breakfast with U.S. and Chinese CEOs.  The breakfast was led by Secretary Clinton and Secretary Geithner, with United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Ambassador Gary Locke also joining.  The group discussed the importance of the U.S - China economic relationship and what can be done to continue the growth of trade and investment between both countries.  Bilateral trade between the U.S. and China reached over $500 billion last year, with U.S. merchandise exports reaching $100 billion for the first time. 

The Secretary's day continued as he joined Secretary Clinton and Secretary Geithner for separate meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.  Bryson then joined Ambassador Kirk for lunch with their Chinese counterpart, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming. 

Throughout the S&ED, Bryson has stressed the importance of the U.S. - China economic relationship and how it is critical that both sides follow through on commitments made not just at this S&ED, but at prior and future talks. Or as Bryson put it, "we must work harder... we must be bold... and we must follow through." 

After the government meetings, Ambassador Kirk and Secretary Bryson participated in an event with the American Chamber of Commerce in China and the U.S. China Business Council.  There Kirk and Bryson heard straight from U.S. business leaders doing business here in China.  They discussed opportunities, challenges, and what the U.S. government can do to support increased exports from the United States to China.  

ASU’s Dr. Michael M. Crow on Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Economic Development Administration seal

Guest blog post by Nish Acharya, director of the U.S. Commerce Department Economic Development Administration’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

This week, close to 100 entrepreneurs, innovators, small business owners, and stakeholders joined me for an in-depth conference call facilitated by the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship with Dr. Michael M. Crow, president of Arizona State University (ASU) and a member of the President’s National Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE). This was the first in a series of forums to highlight the work of NACIE, spotlight some of our nation’s most dynamic leaders, and share best practices and insight with potential applicants for the upcoming third round of the multiagency i6 Challenge.

During the conversation, Dr. Crow emphasized that for an institution to successfully spur innovation and entrepreneurship, its leadership must first purposefully decide to make entrepreneurship part of their core competency. This will empower the institution to put its time, energy, and resources towards fostering innovation and entrepreneurship broadly.

China Travel Log 1: Secretary Bryson Participates in the Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing

This week, Secretary Bryson is in China on his second trip to the country as Commerce Secretary. His first stop is in Beijing where he is participating in the fourth round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), along with Secretary of State Clinton, Treasury Secretary Geithner, U.S. Trade Representative Kirk and other U.S. government officials. 

The Dialogue began this morning, with a joint opening session with Chinese President Hu Jintao. The Dialogue then was split up between the Strategic track and the Economic track, with Secretary Bryson participating in the Economic track sessions.

Throughout the sessions, Secretary Bryson stressed that the U.S. and China commercial relationship will only realize its full potential if trade and competition is fair and open.

The day’s activities ended with all participants coming together for a joint dinner with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping. This was the second time Secretary Bryson and Vice President Xi have met. In February of this year, Vice President Xi traveled to the United States, where Secretary Bryson joined him in both Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, where they discussed ways that the two countries can cooperate to establish a level playing field, generate economic growth and create good paying jobs.

Secretary Bryson's visit continues tomorrow in Beijing where he will meet with U.S and Chinese CEOs, as well as participate in separate meetings with President Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao. Later in the week the Secretary is scheduled to travel to Nanjing and Shanghai to continue his talks with Chinese provincial government officials and business leaders to discuss how we can continue to work together to improve and grow our economic relationship.

Emphasizing Efforts to Improve Manufacturing Competitiveness

Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank listens to members of the Council on Competitiveness Executive Board

Guest blog post by Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank

Yesterday, I spoke to the Council on Competitiveness Executive Board about how the Commerce Department, working with the National Economic Council, leads the administration’s efforts across the federal government to promote a vibrant manufacturing sector in the United States.

Manufacturing is vitally important to supporting an economy that is built to last. Manufacturing accounts for 90 percent of our patents, 70 percent of private sector R&D and 60 percent of our exports–including a record $1.3 trillion in goods exported last year. The manufacturing sector has grown strongly over the past two years. After decades of losing manufacturing jobs, the manufacturing sector has been adding jobs for over two years. In the past 25 months manufacturing has added nearly a half million new jobs and 120,000 of those came in the first three months of this year. Importantly, these tend to be high-paying jobs with good benefits.

Even with these improvements in the manufacturing sector, there is much more work to do to ensure America remains competitive. The Department of Commerce recently released a report, “The Competitiveness and Innovative Capacity of the United States,” that discusses some of the challenges the U.S. faces in retaining its global leadership, particularly in manufacturing, and lays out a policy agenda to address these challenges.

Commerce has long worked on this issue through its Manufacturing Extension Partnership at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which supports centers in every state that consult with companies facing technological problems and puts them in touch with scientists and engineers who can help solve those problems. For every dollar of federal investment, the MEP generates around $30 in new sales growth. This translates into $3.6 billion in new sales annually.

Some of the more recent efforts within the Commerce Department to build a policy environment in which manufacturing can flourish include:

Commerce's USPTO Honors Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees

Under Secretary Kappos, inductee Barbara Liskov (mentioned in blog post) and Deputy Director General of the Innovation and Technology Sector of the World Intellectual Property Organization Jim Pooley.

Our everyday lives are bettered by visionary inventors, and we were reminded of that on May 2, 2012, when ten new inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame were honored by David Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The 40th annual induction ceremony took place at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, the site of the historic Patent Office where the Hall of Fame’s first inductee, Thomas Edison, received his patents.

Most of the 2012 honorees were on hand, including Barbara Liskov, whose innovations in the organization of computer programming can be found in almost all modern programming languages; C. Kumar N. Patel, whose carbon dioxide laser developed while at Bell Labs is an essential component in the medical, industrial and military arenas; and Gary Starkweather, who while with the Xerox PARC facility invented the laser printer. They were joined on stage by 21 previous inductees.

Three honorees were inducted posthumously, including Mária Telkes, known as the “Sun Queen” for her pioneering work in solar energy; and Steve Jobs, whose influence spanned personal computing, film animation, consumer technology, and digital publishing.

A list of all ten honorees and their accomplishments can be found on the USPTO web site.

2010 Census Statistics Showed Asians Were Fastest-Growing Race Group

Director Groves at Profile America Forum

Commerce's U.S. Census Bureau counts every resident in the United States. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and takes place every 10 years. The data collected by the decennial census determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities.

Yesterday, the Census Bureau held "Profile America Forum on the Asian Population," a presentation on the release of a 2010 Census brief on the Asian population in the United States.

Secretary Bryson Declares May World Trade Month

Photo of manufacturing materials at Port of Baltimore)

Today, Commerce Secretary Bryson issued a statement in honor of May 2012 World Trade Month, which is marked annually by a series of state and local events across the country to promote U.S. trade relationships and provide resources to U.S. businesses looking to export their goods and services around the world.  World Trade Week, which falls in the third week of May, is recognized by a presidential proclamation annually.

Two years ago, the president set a goal of doubling our nation’s exports in five years through the National Export Initiative (NEI). On the second anniversary of the NEI, we announced that 1.2 million more Americans have export-supported jobs due to U.S. exports increasing by one-third from 2009 to 2011.  This is particularly good news because export-related jobs–like manufacturing jobs–pay higher than average.

To keep this momentum, this administration is committed to giving American workers and businesses a fair shot in the global economy by supporting trade agreements that will open up markets to U.S. companies, working to aggressively investigate unfair trade practices taking place anywhere in the world, and continuing to work to ensure that our workers and businesses are competing on a level playing field.

Bringing Research to Market to Advance American Manufacturing

An LED streetlight installation by EcoFit Lighting of Lenexa, Kansas, working with the Advanced Manufacturing Institute, an EDA University Center. (Photo: EcoFit Lighting)

Guest blog post by Acting Assistant Secretary for Economic Development Matt Erskine, Economic Development Administration

For U.S. manufacturers today, questions abound that might have been simpler to answer in times gone by, such as: What is the best way to commercialize a new technology? How can a new process be incorporated into a new production system? What locations will best service a national or international clientele? Where can a cadre of technically-trained workers be found?

For answers to such questions, manufacturers in Kansas are fortunate to be able to turn to the Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AMI) at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. Over the past decade, this organization—which helps businesses of all sizes, from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies—has undertaken projects in 66 of Kansas’ 105 counties, helping many companies to grow, prosper and succeed.

NOAA Near-Term Weather Forecasts Get Powerful Boost from New Computer Model

Rapid Refresh (or RAP, lower right) performed better than the older RUC model (lower left) in predicting severe weather conditions that occurred in the Midwest on June 21, 2011 (upper right).

Research yields new tool to achieve a Weather-Ready Nation

Starting today, Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is using a sophisticated new weather forecast computer model to improve predictions of quickly developing severe weather events including thunderstorms, winter storms and aviation hazards such as clear air turbulence.

The Rapid Refresh now provides NOAA's most rapidly updated weather forecast, replacing an older model that served a similar function. The Rapid Refresh, developed by NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. and NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) in Camp Springs, Md., updates every hour with a new forecast extending out 18 hours for North America. Such forecasts are especially important in aviation, where fast-developing weather conditions can affect safety and efficiency, but they are equally important for severe weather and energy-related forecasting. | Full release

ITA: In Brussels, Assistant Secretary Camuñez Promotes Intellectual Property Rights and Protections

Seated beside Assistant Secretary Camuñez is Marielle Gallo, a Member of the European Parliament representing France.

Guest blog post by Michael C. Camuñez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance, International Trade Administration

This past week, I traveled to Europe as part of my ongoing efforts to deepen the already-robust trans-Atlantic trade relationship. One of my stops was in Brussels, Belgium, the home of the European Commission and heart of the European Union. There, I sat down with EU leaders to discuss ways in which the U.S. and Europe can work together to foster greater economic opportunity and growth on both sides of the Atlantic. I was honored to join a lunch with the president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, and other EU leaders, where I offered them my perspective on the importance of the protection of intellectual property rights to our shared prosperity.

I also participated in a panel discussion on intellectual property rights (IPR) and growth at the 10th Annual European Business Summit, an issue vital to fostering innovation. My participation in the Business Summit was timely. For the past several weeks, IPR policies have been hotly debated across the European Union. The question at the forefront of this debate is: how does one protect and enforce IPR, while at the same time creating an environment that will foster the continued growth of the digital economy?

My remarks offered me an opportunity to talk about the perspective that I bring as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance. My role has given me some insight into the global competition to transform industrial, carbon-based economies into 21st-century knowledge-based economies–to attract and keep talent, to intensify the pace of innovation and commercialization of innovative products and services, and how to gain and keep our competitive edge.