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Blog Category: Open for Business Agenda

BEA’s Statistics on How Industries Perform Each Quarter Provide Insight into U.S.’ Economic Recovery

BEA’s Statistics on How Industries Perform Each Quarter Provide Insight into U.S.’ Economic Recovery

Thanks to a new set of BEA data, you can now find out how the economic recovery that began in the summer of 2009 is affecting America’s industries each quarter.

Last spring, BEA for the first time began producing on a regular basis quarterly statistics that provide information on the amount of economic activity generated by individual industries, making it easy to spot when and how fast these industries began to recover.

Before these new data were made available last April, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported on industries’ economic performance only on an annual basis. The quarterly statistics serve as a barometer for potential turning points in the U.S. economy and give businesses and policymakers more timely detail on how different industries are contributing to the U.S. economy’s recovery.

BEA’s quarterly industry breakdown of economic activity shows that manufacturers of durable goods – like cars and washing machines – entered into a recovery in the third quarter of 2009 – the same quarter the overall economy did.  In addition, durable goods manufacturers surpassed their pre-recession high in terms of economic output in the fourth quarter of 2011. On the other hand, the construction industry has yet to get back to its pre-recession peak.  

The timing of recoveries for other industries differs. The information sector, which includes broadcasting and telecommunications, climbed back to its previous peak in the third quarter of 2010. Mining (which includes oil and gas extraction) surpassed its previous peak in the third quarter of 2012.

BEA’s most recent quarterly industry report, shows that the finance and insurance industries grew  21.2 percent in the third quarter of 2014, after increasing 6 percent in the second quarter. Mining rose 25.6 percent, after rising 11.5 percent.  And, real estate and rental and leasing increased 4.4 percent, after growing 0.9 percent.

These quarterly industry-by-industry statistics are just one way that BEA is innovating to better measure the 21st Century economy.  Last year, BEA also introduced real (inflation-adjusted) estimates of personal income for states and metropolitan areas.  This year, BEA will begin regular production of quarterly statistics on how state economies are faring as well as new annual statistics on how much consumers spend – and what they buy -- in each state. Providing businesses and individuals with new data tools like these is a priority of the Commerce Department’s “Open for Business Agenda.”

BEA Constantly Innovates to Produce New Statistics Measuring the U.S. Economy

BEA Constantly Innovates to Produce New Statistics Measuring the U.S. Economy

The Bureau of Economic Analysis is producing new economic statistics over the course of this year that offer businesses and households additional tools to make informed decisions and illustrate BEA’s innovative approach to better measure the dynamic U.S. economy.

Arts and Culture Statistics: These new annual statistics, released on Jan. 12, show the impact of arts and culture on the U.S. economy. The new data provides detailed information on spending on arts and culture as well as employment in those industries.

Health Care Statistics: BEA released data on Jan. 22 that -- for the first time -- provides information about the changes in prices to treat different diseases -- illustrating trends in prices from 2000 through 2010. BEA also released new statistics on spending to treat different medical conditions for those same years. Data for 2011 and 2012 will be released in the spring.

State Economic Activity: BEA on Sept. 2 will start releasing on a regular basis new quarterly statistics detailing economic activity in each state. The data offers a more up-to-date picture of how the states economies are faring and provides a more detailed view of economic activity across the entire United States.

• Consumer Spending by State:  BEA will begin producing these new annual statistics on a regular basis starting Dec. 1.  The data shows how much consumers spend in each state and provides details on the kinds of goods and services they buy.

New International Investment Statistics: These statistics, which BEA plans to release later this year, provides information on “greenfield” investment – investment that occurs when a foreign firm establishes a new U.S. business or expands an existing one by building a new plant or facility.

FY 2016 Budget Request Prioritizes Innovation

FY 2016 Budget Request Prioritizes Innovation

Yesterday, Secretary Pritzker released the U.S. Department of Commerce’s fiscal year 2016 budget request. The FY 2016 budget request supports and builds on President Obama’s vision for creating economic opportunity that will benefit all Americans. The budget includes critical funding for key Commerce priorities, including promoting trade and investment, fueling our data-driven economy, and spurring innovation. 

The U.S. Commerce Department plays a critical role in promoting U.S. economic growth and providing vital scientific and environmental information. The FY16 budget request directly aligns with the Department’s “Open for Business Agenda,” which reflects Commerce's role as the voice of business and the Obama Administration’s focus on economic growth and job creation.  
Manufacturing is critical to innovation since it creates new growth industries, jobs and strengthens our economy. The budget supports the expansion of a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) with up to 45 manufacturing innovation institutes across the nation. In total, the budget includes discretionary funding for seven new institutes, including $140 million for the first two Commerce-led institutes, and an additional $1.9 billion mandatory proposal to fulfill the President’s vision. NNMI has kept America on the front-lines of discovery, which has resulted in our businesses, our manufacturers, and the American economy globally competition in the 21stcentury economy.
The budget also invests in the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support innovative economic development planning, regional capacity building, and capital projects, which includes the Regional Innovation Strategies Program. This program promotes economic development projects that spur entrepreneurship and innovation at the regional level, which has resulted in the establishment of proof-of-concept centers that foster the rapid commercialization of research and startup creation; The feasibility and planning of new research parks where academic and industry can collaborate; and Providing technical assistance for regions wanting to establish seed-capital funding programs for startups.
Additionally, the budget provides $49 million for NTIA, which is a demonstration of the Administration’s continued commitment to broadband telecommunications as a driver of economic development, job creation, technological innovation, and enhanced public safety. The President’s broadband vision of freeing up 500 MHz of Federal spectrum, promoting broadband competition in communities throughout the country, and connecting over 99 percent of schools to high-speed broadband connections through the ConnectED initiative will create thousands of quality jobs and ensure that students have access to the best educational tools available.
Lastly, through the implementation of the America Invents Act, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) continues to make it easier for American entrepreneurs and businesses to bring their inventions to the marketplace sooner, converting ideas into new products and new jobs. The budget allows USPTO to fund operations and to further implement administrative actions proposed by the President’s Patent Task Force. The USPTO offers countless resources such as, the Track One Prioritized Examination Program, which allows small businesses to get a final disposition within about twelve months.
Learn more about the fiscal year 2016 budget request and the many ways it supports the Department of Commerce’s mission.

Secretary Pritzker Travels to Charlotte to Discuss Future of U.S. Economy

Secretary Pritzker Travels to Charlotte to Discuss Future of U.S. Economy

On Wednesday, Secretary Penny Pritzker traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to participate in an armchair discussion with Charlotte Chamber President and CEO Bob Morgan. She highlighted the progress made in America’s economic recovery in 2014, and discussed President Obama’s plans to build on that momentum with the policies discussed in the State of the Union Address. 

The evidence from 2014 is clear: for the past 58 straight months, the private sector added more than 11 million new jobs. Last year alone, 3 million jobs were created – the most since the 1990s. America’s GDP is up, while unemployment rate is down. There is no doubt that 2014 was a milestone year for the American economy.

With the economy improving, the Department of Commerce is focused on continuing the growth that occurred over the past year. During her conversation with Morgan that touched upon many of President Obama’s main priorities, Secretary Pritzker highlighted trade as a top issue on the agenda. By pushing for new trade agreements, the United States can reach new markets and create a fair environment for our companies to compete. If American businesses sell more goods and services to the 95 percent of consumers who live outside U.S. borders, they will grow the 11.3 million good-paying jobs here at home that are supported by exports.

Secretary Pritzker also stressed the need to invest in America’s greatest resource: its people. As business leaders look to build a workforce that meets the needs of the 21st century economy, the Administration has already invested more than $1 billion in competitive grants in 2014 for job-driven training models like apprenticeships and partnerships between community colleges and local employers.

Hosted at the University of North Carolina’s Charlotte Center City campus, the forum was attended by local business leaders as well as students. After the 45-minute discussion, Morgan took questions from the audience, and Secretary Pritzker elaborated on why infrastructure and corporate tax reform are integral to strengthening the economy.

During her trip to Charlotte, Secretary Pritzker also met with representatives from the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, Central Piedmont Community College, SEWW Energy, Charlotte Center City Partners, and UNC Charlotte.

As she does during many of her trips, the Secretary connected with local Commerce staff who work at the U.S. Export Assistance Centers in North Carolina and South Carolina. She thanked them for their work in connecting local companies with international buyers.

The Department’s “Open for Business Agenda” goes hand-in-hand with President Obama’s vision to empower the middle class and boost the economy, and Commerce staff, both at home and abroad, will continue working hard to make that vision a reality.

Commerce Deputy Secretary Andrews’ Visit to Consumer Electronics Show Underscores Importance of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to American Economy

Commerce Deputy Secretary Andrews’ Visit to Consumer Electronics Show Underscores Importance of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to American Economy

Yesterday, U.S. Deputy Commerce Secretary Bruce Andrews concluded a two-day visit to Las Vegas, where he toured the floor of the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and addressed Las Vegas business leaders at the Chamber of Commerce on the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship to the American economy. 

On Wednesday, Deputy Secretary Andrews addressed local Las Vegas business leaders at a roundtable organized by Business Forward. He discussed the Department of Commerce’s role in supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly in pursuing 21st century trade agreement. Deputy Secretary Andrews also spoke about the need for Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority and the need to strengthen the President’s ability to create economic opportunity for U.S. companies and open up key markets for U.S. goods and services. Such agreements can help spur growth; help American manufacturers, service providers, farmers and ranchers; and increase U.S. exports, as well as allow American businesses to compete in a highly competitive, globalized economy. 
Following this address, Andrews traveled to the Las Vegas Convention Center where he toured the CES show floor with representatives from the Consumer Electronics Association. There, he saw firsthand how small and medium businesses are developing innovative technologies that have the potential to improve the way kids are educated, enhance home entertainment, and keep America on the cutting edge of research. He met with a mix of U.S. companies at the show, including five small companies that manufacture in the United States and six larger companies.
CES showcases more than 4,000 exhibitors, including manufacturers, developers, and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content, technology delivery systems and more. CES also includes a conference program with more than 300 sessions and draws more than 152,000 attendees from more than 150 countries. The International CES is held in Las Vegas each year, and has served as the proving ground for innovators for more than 40 years.
Later that day, Deputy Secretary Andrews attended the Leaders in Technology Reception and Dinner, where he met with the industry’s key representatives and stakeholders.
Deputy Secretary Andrews also met with local staff from the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Export Assistance Center and sat in on a presentation by a U.S. manufacturer participating in the Global Markets Insight Program, which helps connect businesses with trade partners and succeed abroad.
The Deputy Secretary’s participation in CES highlights the importance the Commerce Department and theAdministration place on innovation and entrepreneurship, including through the Department's "Open for Business Agenda." It also underscores the value the Department places on promoting the ideas and policies that support innovation and entrepreneurship, which help America maintain its competitive edge, spur wage and job growth, and strengthen the U.S. economy.

BEA Operational Improvements Enable Agency to Publish More Regional Economic Statistics

Operational improvements at the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) mean the public will soon get to see more regional economic data. These improvements will safeguard businesses’ private information, while ensuring vital regional data is available to policy makers and other data users. BEA is constantly looking at ways to better provide the information that users need while protecting the confidentiality of employers’ records.

One improvement is in the area of county-level earnings. BEA, for instance, produces statistics on how much people earn in different industries for individual counties.  If there are too few employers in an industry for a given county, in order to protect employers’ privacy, BEA cannot publicly publish the data for that industry. The BEA county-level earnings by industry data are then used to calculate BEA’s gross domestic product by metropolitan area statistics. If BEA can’t publicly use certain pieces of data for an industry in the county-level earnings data set, then BEA also might not be able to publish the same data for that industry in our gross domestic product by metropolitan area statistics.

Since the 1980s, BEA has relied on a set of computer programs to identify which statistics must not be published publicly to protect the confidentiality of business records for individual companies.  This year, however, BEA is switching to a new disclosure-avoidance system that reduces processing time from five days to one, while generating fewer non-public statistics.

Our testing indicates that the new system will consistently result in 33 percent fewer unpublished values in the final public statistics on the economic activity generated by metropolitan areas.

Another improvement will affect data on how much each industry contributes to economic activity in   metro areas. Because of this improvement, BEA will increase the number of data points on industry contributions to metro area economic activity that can be published from 68.3 percent to 93.3 percent, meaning that BEA will be able to publish many more pieces of data.

These advancements are examples of how BEA delivers strong customer service through operational excellence. BEA is working harder and smarter to respond to our customers’ needs.  The Commerce Department identifies operational excellence as an important pillar in its Open for Business Agenda. That is, delivering better services, solutions and outcomes that benefit the American people.

BEA prides itself on producing timely, relevant and accurate statistics and putting its innovative thinking to work to meet both economic measurement challenges and customers’ needs. 

Innovation Support is in Demand

Julie Kirk, Director, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

By Julie Kirk, Director, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship 

What do you get when you take a $15 million Regional Innovation Strategies program and add 254 applicants requesting more than $100 million in support? You get a very busy Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and compelling evidence that this program is crucial.

The Regional Innovation Strategies program was launched in September 2014 to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation. Under this program, EDA solicited applications for three separate funding opportunities, including: the i6 Challenge, Science and Research Park Development grants, and cluster grants to support the development of Seed Capital Funds: 

  • i6 Challenge: The i6 Challenge, now in its forth iteration, is focused on accelerating the commercialization of technology. The 2014 i6 was broadened from the three previous challenges to include scaling of existing centers or programs and funding for later-stage Commercialization Centers.
  • Science/Research Parks: This new program provides funding for feasibility and planning of new or expanded Science/Research parks or renovation of existing facilities.
  • Cluster Grants for Seed Funds: Also new this year, this program provides funding for technical assistance to support feasibility, planning, formation, or launch of cluster-based seed capital funds that invest in growth-oriented, innovation-based start-up companies. Ultimately, the goal is to foster job creation. 

EDA is committed to helping foster connected, innovation-centric economic sectors which support commercialization and entrepreneurship. Working with regions across the country to develop regional innovation strategies, including regional innovation clusters, is also one of the Commerce Department’s strategic goals, and a keystone of the Secretary’s commitment to building globally competitive regions.  

This effort is also in line with the Department’s “Open for Business Agenda” priority to strengthen operational excellence: providing better services, solutions, and outcomes to better serve the American people. The overwhelming response by the application’s closing date on November 3 demonstrates that communities recognize the benefits of a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem and could benefit from the kind of support offered by the Regional Innovation Strategies program. 

Secretary Pritzker Marks One-Year Anniversary of “Open for Business Agenda” Launch

Secretary Pritzker speaking with Evan Burfield at 1776 about the Open for Business Agenda

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker participated in an armchair discussion with 1776 cofounder Evan Burfield to discuss the U.S. economy, entrepreneurship, and the one-year anniversary of the Commerce Department’s “Open for Business Agenda.” Located in Washington, DC, 1776 serves as a global hub that connects startups tackling challenges in education, energy, health care, government and other industries with the resources they need to excel. 

Last November at 1776, Secretary Pritzker outlined the” Open for Business Agenda,” a bold policy priorities framework for the Department of Commerce, centered on the tools needed for U.S. economic growth. It is focused on U.S. trade and investment, innovation, data, environmental intelligence, and operational excellence, and this agenda reflects the Department’s role as the voice of business, as well as the Obama Administration’s keen focus on economic growth and job creation.

In light of Global Entrepreneurship Week which begins today, Secretary Pritzker highlighted the Department’s focus on entrepreneurship as an important tool for economic growth in the United States and across the world. As the Administration’s point person on entrepreneurship and chair of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative, Secretary Pritzker will help lead the American delegation at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Morocco this week. At GES, the Secretary will promote the importance of global entrepreneurship and support foreign entrepreneurs. She will also stress that entrepreneurship is gender neutral when she speaks during Women’s Entrepreneurship Day on November 19.

On a more personal note, Secretary Pritzker offered advice to entrepreneurs, recommending that they should not be afraid of failure. As a founder of five companies, she understands that sometimes failures are necessary to achieve success and that resilience matters.

1776 cofounder Evan Burfield also asked Secretary Pritzker to talk about her favorite entrepreneur. She mentioned that the entrepreneurs she meets both at home and abroad – from Saudi Arabia to Japan – inspire her with their continual enthusiasm and desire to improve the world.  She specifically mentioned a young Ghanaian entrepreneur named Ethel Cofie who started an IT services firm as someone that inspires.  Secretary Pritzker also considers Daphne Koller, co-founder and president of Coursera and a PAGE Ambassador, an example of how great ideas can come at any age. Koller founded the online education platform when she was 44 and a Stanford University professor.   

Join Commerce’s Data Revolution: Innovation Leaders Need Apply

Secretary Pritzker speaking at the Esri Conference July 2014

Guest Blog Post by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker

Last summer, I outlined the wide variety of factors that make the Department of Commerce “America’s Data Agency” – and I announced a series of steps aimed at unlocking the full potential of our data resources.

Among those actions, launching a department-wide Data Advisory Council was a top priority and a key commitment. And today, I am pleased to say that we are making good on our promise: the council has been officially established and we are now accepting applications.

We are looking for the best and brightest data thought leaders in the private and public sectors to advise our efforts to revolutionize Commerce’s data – to foster innovation, create jobs, and drive better decision-making throughout our economy and society.  The application process extends through December 3, 2014.  If you think you have what it takes, I strongly urge you to apply.

As we build our Data Advisory Council, we are actively recruiting a Chief Data Officer (CDO) to drive the transformation of our data, and we are pleased to announce the hire of an outstanding Deputy CDO, Lynn Overmann, currently a senior advisor to White House Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith.  Lynn will be responsible for coordinating and guiding the Department’s efforts to realize the value of our data and to put the vast volumes of our data to better use each and every day.

Tapping Stakeholders to Help Accelerate Innovation and Entrepreneurship

When you want something done, give it to a busy person. In the case of the newly appointed members of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE), the Department of Commerce has tapped a group of busy, innovative folks who are passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and workforce issues to advise the Secretary on compelling challenges and opportunities in these fields. 

With the “Open for Business” agenda, Secretary Pritzker made it clear that Commerce’s role is to be the voice of business to support the Obama Administration’s focus on economic growth and job creation. Additionally, this new vision recognizes the demands of a globally competitive economy. With the new members of NACIE hailing from companies small and large as well as nonprofits and academia, the new NACIE will be a conduit for that voice of business.  As it begins its work on December 5, 2014, the Council will be focused on the theme of “creating globally competitive regions.” 

NACIE was created in 2010 as part of the America COMPETES Act reauthorization to advise the Secretary of Commerce on innovation and entrepreneurship. The previous NACIE produced several impactful outcomes, including The Innovative and Entrepreneurial University: Higher Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Focus report and the Improving Access to Capital for High-Growth Companies report, the latter of which served as the basis for the JOBS Act and began the process of expanding the capabilities and impact of crowd funding. 

With this iteration of NACIE, we’ve added a focus on the talent portion of the ecosystem. Having the right skilled workforce in the right place at the right time is a common challenge that is hampering many companies’ ability to grow and be competitive. Too many businesses can’t find skilled workers for jobs they want to fill, while too many people looking for a job may be ready to learn new skills but may not be certain that there’s a job waiting for them on the other end.

The specific challenge that will be issued to the NACIE members at their first organizational meeting on December 5 will be to look at what transformational investments and policies the federal government should facilitate that would help communities, businesses, and the workforce compete globally. There will be a focus on defining what “transformational” means and the Council will be urged to explore evidence-based outcomes that include metrics that can be used to monitor the impact of recommendations.

By bringing together this group of experienced, creative, and smart entrepreneurial thinkers, the Council is expected to develop innovative, actionable ideas to support the objectives of the Department of Commerce and Administration. And why not? Busy people clearly know how to get stuff done.