Guest blog post by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker
As an entrepreneur and businesswoman, I have first-hand experience with the data, information, services and resources the Commerce Department provides.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet the people who produce the data used by communities and businesses across the country. At the Census Bureau’s headquarters in Suitland, Maryland, I saw how statisticians, demographers, economists, information technology experts and other highly-skilled staff are working together to meet the rising demand for economic and demographic data.
As I experienced personally, the timely, high-quality statistics from the Census Bureau give entrepreneurs and business executives the tools they need to make major investment decisions. The broad menu of data delivered by Census and other Commerce Department bureaus also provides officials at all levels of government with the most reliable basis for decisions, such as where to build a school, highway or a factory, and where to find export markets and small business opportunities.
There was an additional air of excitement during my visit because Census unveiled an updated version of the America's Economy mobile app with three additional economic indicators, including the nonfarm payroll employment. The America’s Economy app, which gives users all sorts of current and historical statistics related to 19 economic indicators, is on my iPad and those of 98,000 other data users.
One of my favorite parts of visits with employees is the opportunity to not only learn about what they do, but also to answer their questions. I had the opportunity to talk to a member of Census’ economic statistics team about how the work of the Census Bureau can contribute to the nation’s continued economic recovery, explaining that none of us has a monopoly on good ideas and the bureau’s efforts to make statistical information more widely available provides a foundation for new businesses, new ideas and new growth. I also talked to an intern who asked for advice on starting her career in the federal government; I encouraged her to ask a lot of questions and find a mentor.
My visits with employees have been enlightening and exhilarating, and I’m particularly struck by the rich and lengthy experience the people across the Department possess. I look forward to future visits with more Commerce employees, both in the Washington, DC, area and throughout the country.