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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‚Äôs quarterly industry breakdown of economic activity shows that manufacturers of durable goods ‚Äď like cars and washing machines ‚Äď entered into a recovery in the third quarter of 2009 ‚Äď 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äď and what they buy -- in each state. Providing businesses and individuals with new data tools like these is a priority of the Commerce Department‚Äôs ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda.‚ÄĚ

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.

‚ÄĘ 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.

‚ÄĘ 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.

‚ÄĘ 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.

‚ÄĘ 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.

‚ÄĘ New International Investment Statistics: These statistics, which BEA plans to release later this year, provides information on ‚Äúgreenfield‚ÄĚ investment ‚Äď 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‚Äôs fiscal year 2016 budget request. The FY 2016 budget request supports and builds on President Obama‚Äôs 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‚Äôs ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda,‚ÄĚ which reflects Commerce's role as the voice of business and the Obama Administration‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs economic recovery in 2014, and discussed President Obama‚Äôs 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 ‚Äď the most since the 1990s. America‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda‚ÄĚ goes hand-in-hand with President Obama‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äô privacy, BEA cannot publicly publish the data for that industry. The BEA county-level earnings by industry data are then used to calculate BEA‚Äôs gross domestic product by metropolitan area statistics. If BEA can‚Äôt 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‚Äô 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‚Äô 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‚Äôs strategic goals, and a keystone of the Secretary‚Äôs commitment to building globally competitive regions.  

This effort is also in line with the Department‚Äôs ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda‚ÄĚ priority to strengthen operational excellence: providing better services, solutions, and outcomes to better serve the American people. The overwhelming response by the application‚Äôs 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 ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda.‚ÄĚ 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‚ÄĚ Open for Business Agenda,‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs role as the voice of business, as well as the Obama Administration‚Äôs keen focus on economic growth and job creation.

In light of Global Entrepreneurship Week which begins today, Secretary Pritzker highlighted the Department‚Äôs focus on entrepreneurship as an important tool for economic growth in the United States and across the world. As the Administration‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äď from Saudi Arabia to Japan ‚Äď 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 ‚ÄúAmerica‚Äôs Data Agency‚ÄĚ ‚Äď 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‚Äôs data ‚Äď 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‚Äôs 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 ‚ÄúOpen for Business‚ÄĚ agenda, Secretary Pritzker made it clear that Commerce‚Äôs role is to be the voice of business to support the Obama Administration‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúcreating globally competitive regions.‚ÄĚ 

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 ‚Äútransformational‚ÄĚ 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.

Secretary Pritzker Meets With Gaming Industry CEOs in Silicon Valley

Secretary Pritzker visiting Silicon Valley and the Gaming Industry

On Monday, U.S Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker met with various gaming industry CEOs at Electronic Arts in Silicon Valley to learn more about the creative job skills and talent required to maintain American competitiveness, as well as the gaming industry’s overall contribution to the economy. She also toured Electronic Arts and GlassLab. Electronic Arts (EA) is a developer and publisher of computer and video games with several subsidiaries which includes sports role-playing, racing and combat, online communities and original franchises like Tetris, Scrabble and Monopoly. Glasslab is a research and development effort that focuses on educational games and game-based assessment design in the United States.

During the discussion, Secretary Pritzker emphasized the important role that the Department of Commerce plays in creating the conditions that support the growth of the country’s most competitive industries, and empowering private sector companies to out-innovate anyone in the world. She also expressed her desire to learn more about the contributions that the gaming industry has brought to the economy, the jobs it has created, and the ability to remain globally competitive.

The United States gaming industry has enjoyed enormous success over the last decade, and the jobs it supports are now a crucial part of the country’s economic growth. In fact, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) recently produced a 2014 report on video games in the 21st century which measures the economic contributions made by the gaming industry during the period of 2009-2012. According to ESA’s report, the game software publishing industry has employed 42,000 people in 36 states. The report also highlights that U.S total employment, both direct and indirect, that depends on this industry now exceeds 146,000. The value that this industry has added to the U.S GDP is over $6.2 billion.

BEA Stats Offer Interesting Nuggets about U.S. Factories in Recognition of Manufacturing Day

BEA Stats Offer Interesting Nuggets about U.S. Factories in Recognition of Manufacturing Day

Today is Manufacturing Day and that’s the perfect time to brush up on your factory factoids. Here are some data nuggets produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis that might surprise you:

The first two facts come from BEA‚Äôs GDP by industry data, which are now available on a quarterly basis. The next installment comes out Nov. 13. The third one comes from BEA‚Äôs GDP accounts. And, data on exports of manufactured goods can be found in the monthly trade report produced jointly by BEA and the U.S. Census Bureau.  

Want to know where manufacturing plays the biggest role in state and regional economies? You can rely on BEA data to answer that question.   

In 2013, Indiana ranked highest in the concentration of manufacturing, followed by Oregon, Louisiana, and North Carolina. According to the BEA’s GDP by metropolitan area data released Sept. 16, the Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana and Kokomo, Indiana metro areas had the highest manufacturing concentration in the nation, followed by the Lake Charles, Louisiana metro area.

Providing businesses and individuals with the statistics they need to compete in the global marketplace is one way that BEA is helping to unleash the power of data for American businesses. The Commerce Department‚Äôs ‚ÄėOpen for Business Agenda‚Äô prioritizes unleashing more data and making it more accessible so it can catalyze the emergence of new businesses, products, and services. Data from the Commerce Department, America‚Äôs data agency, enable start-ups, move markets, and power both small and multi-billion dollar companies. 

Deputy Secretary Andrews Lauds Software Industry for Helping Ensure America is Open for Business

Deputy Secretary Andrews Lauds Software Industry for Helping Ensure America is Open for Business

Today, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews spoke about the software industry‚Äôs role in strengthening the economy at an event hosted by the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industry. During the event, titled ‚ÄúThe Software Century: Analyzing Economic Impact & Job Creation,‚ÄĚ Deputy Secretary Andrews talked with SIIA Vice President of Public Policy Mark MacCarthy about the Commerce Department‚Äôs efforts to support American businesses in the software and other high-tech sectors.

During the discussion, Deputy Secretary Andrews highlighted how the Department supports the software industry at practically every stage of development through our ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda.‚ÄĚ Those efforts include increasing broadband access across the country, linking small businesses and their customers with high-speed Internet, boosting manufacturing to provide the hardware software needs, and strengthening U.S. intellectual property protections, cybersecurity and consumer privacy.

Deputy Secretary Andrews also talked about data as a key department-wide strategic priority. Commerce is working to unleash more of its data to strengthen the nation’s economic growth; make its data easier to access, understand, and use; and, maximize the return of data investments for industries, including the software industry.

It was fitting, then, that SIIA today released a first-of-its-kind report providing detailed analysis and data related to the software industry‚Äôs output, productivity, exports and job creation. MacCarthy, former Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs Robert J. Shapiro, and representatives from Oracle, Intuit and GM discussed the report, titled ‚ÄúThe Impact of the U.S Software Industry on the American Economy,‚ÄĚ at the event.

The report epitomizes how government data is essential for industries to understand their contributions to the broader economy and how improvements can be made accordingly. Further, Deputy Secretary Andrews explained that the prevalence of the Commerce Department‚Äôs Bureau of Economic Analysis data throughout the report is a testament to the usefulness of the department‚Äôs data to help American businesses grow. The value of government data was recently highlighted in ‚ÄúFostering Innovation, Creating Jobs, Driving Better Decisions: The Value of Government Data,‚ÄĚ a Commerce report by the Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA).

Commerce‚Äôs NIST Megacities Project on Improving Accuracy of Greenhouse Gas Measurements Named ‚ÄėProject to Watch‚Äô by United Nations

Sensors located around Los Angeles provide measurements of greenhouse gas mixing ratios of carbon dioxide, methane and carbon monoxide. Aircraft, mobile laboratories and satellites contribute remote-sensing measurement.

A greenhouse gas field measeurment research program developed by scientists at the Commerce Department‚Äôs National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and several collaborating institutions has been named a ‚ÄúProject to Watch‚ÄĚ by a United Nations organization that focuses on harnessing big data for worldwide benefit. 

The Megacities Carbon Project was launched in 2012 to solve a pressing scientific problem: how to measure the greenhouse gases that cities produce. Urban areas generate at least 70 percent of the world‚Äôs fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions, but gauging a city‚Äôs carbon footprint remains difficult due to the lack of effective measurement methods. The project aims to change that by developing and testing techniques for both monitoring urban areas‚Äô emissions and determining their sources.

The large sensor networks that each city in the Megacities Carbon Project employs generate huge amounts of data that could reveal the details of the cities‚Äô emissions patterns. It is the project‚Äôs use of this so-called ‚Äúbig data‚ÄĚ that drew accolades in the Big Data Climate Challenge, hosted by U.N. Global Pulse and the U.N. Secretary General‚Äôs Climate Change Support Team. The ability to analyze big data‚ÄĒvast quantities of electronic information generated by many sources‚ÄĒhas the potential to provide new insights into the workings of society, and Global Pulse is working to promote awareness of the opportunities big data presents across the U.N. system.

Launched in May 2014, the competition attracted submissions from organizations in 40 countries. The applicants ran from academia to private companies to government initiatives like the Megacities Carbon Project. Two projects earned top honors, while a total of seven were dubbed Projects to Watch.

Travel Journal: There’s No Place Like Nome!

Secretary Pritzker reviewing plans in Nome, Alaska with Joy Baker, Col. Christopher Lestochi and NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan

Last week, I embarked on my first trip as Commerce Secretary to Alaska to see how the Last Frontier directly contributes to our economy, and how the U.S. Department of Commerce can help further support Alaskan communities.

The Arctic‚Äôs importance to the Nation continues to grow as the impact of global climate change and loss of sea ice make the region much more accessible. This accessibility has inspired strong interest for new commercial initiatives in the region, including energy production, increased shipping, scientific research, tourism, and related infrastructure development. Last year, the Obama Administration introduced  the National Strategy for the Arctic Region, not only in recognition of the growing interest in and vulnerability of the region, but also to prioritize and integrate efforts across the Federal government to explore emerging opportunities ‚Äď while simultaneously exploring efforts to protect and conserve this pristine environment.

During my trip, I explored the city of Nome, which is located on the edge of the Bering Sea on the northwest side of the 49th state. Once a gold mining town, Nome is one of the most remote communities in Alaska, with a population of 3,500.

My first stop was the Port of Nome. Joy Baker, Special Projects Director and former Harbormaster of the City of Nome, led me and my staff on a tour and described the economic impact and infrastructure challenges associated with increased Arctic shipping.  Although originally from San Antonio, Texas,  Joy has worked for the City of Nome for almost 25 years. Her passion for the city was obvious, and she explained how satisfying it was to see the expansion and development of the facility as the successful end result of many years of work and input about additional infrastructure needs in Nome.

After the port tour, we saw U.S. Arctic port infrastructure and vessels, ranging from small gold dredges to industry ships, giving us a better understanding of how the Department of Commerce’s work in implementing the Community Development Quota program in 1992 has been able to grow and further support economic development and achieve sustainable and diversified local economies in the region.

Having enjoyed the outdoors, we moved inside for a roundtable focused on new economic opportunities that are emerging as the impacts of climate change are felt in the Arctic region, including maritime transportation, fishing, and oil and gas activities. Various Alaska Native corporations, industries, and local, state, and federal officials offered a variety of perspectives which gave me a better sense of how the Department of Commerce can further our efforts to support the region.

We wrapped up the day with another productive and engaging roundtable centered on the threats from climate change, which are already impacting some Alaskan communities. These threats include exacerbated erosion and inundation frequency; and the shrinking of sea ice habitat affecting marine mammals.

While we face these challenges, my hope is that the Department can continue to do its part to facilitate trade and investment, assist with the development and management of natural resources, and provide the data and environmental intelligence that are critical to the safety and prosperity of individuals, communities and businesses that are dealing with a changing environment.

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Alaska, and I look forward to strengthening our partnerships in Alaska and across the Arctic region in the coming months and years.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker Shares Economic Development Opportunities in California

Representative Barbara Lee, Secretary Penny Pritzker, Clifton Burch, President at Empire Engineering & Construction, Inc. and MBDA National Director Alejandra Castillo

Last year, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker unveiled the Commerce Department‚Äôs ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda,‚ÄĚ a bold policy agenda focused on boosting trade and investment, supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, and unleashing more government data. Yesterday, she took the Agenda on the road to California. Along with Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) National Director Alejandra Castillo, Secretary Pritzker spoke to local businesses and community leaders about the Obama Administration‚Äôs work to spur continued economic growth and job creation through support of exporters, entrepreneurs, and small, women- and minority-owned businesses.

Secretary Pritzker joined Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), a strong advocate for minority economic development and trade policy, at a regional economic development forum at the Oakland Airport, hosted by Lee. The Secretary delivered remarks highlighting a number of Commerce Department resources available to help foster economic growth. Noting that exporting is an essential tool for economic development, she discussed the Commerce Department‚Äôs NEI/NEXT initiative, a data-based, customer-driven effort to help U.S. companies increase their exports to international markets. Secretary Pritzker also talked about the work of the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership to help manufacturers boost productivity and growth, as well as investments by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to help attract new industries and create jobs. Through these and other tools, the Commerce Department is helping businesses in California and across the country to grow and hire. 

Following the Secretary‚Äôs remarks, MBDA National Director Castillo led a panel discussion on economic development that helped to connect local business leaders and economic development organizations with the expertise of the Department and its resources. The forum featured OPIC‚Äôs Director of Corporate Development, Alison Germak; Port of Oakland‚Äôs Director of Aviation, Deborah Ale Flint; Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. 

Before the event, Secretary Pritzker also participated in a roundtable discussion with East Bay business leaders, hosted by Rep. Lee. They discussed regional economic development, supplier diversity and the importance of gender and ethnic diversity in corporate leadership. Earlier in the day, Secretary Pritzker and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee met with leaders of local technology companies, including Twitter, Yelp, Kiva, and others, ‚Äčto discuss the Department of Commerce‚Äôs expanding role as ‚ÄúAmerica‚Äôs Data Agency." Secretary Pritzker specifically asked how the government can most effectively make additional data available, and what public-private partnerships are currently serving as strong models that can be replicated when it comes to data dissemination.‚Äč 

Commerce Department Achieves FY 2013 Small Business Federal Contracting Goal

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today announced that the federal government met its small business federal contracting goal for the first time in eight years ‚Äď awarding 23 percent, or $83.1 billion, of all federal small business eligible contracting dollars to small businesses in fiscal year 2013.

The Commerce Department played a significant role in that achievement ‚Äď exceeding its goal of awarding 39 percent of funds to small businesses and receiving an overall ‚ÄúA‚ÄĚ rating from SBA for the fourth straight year in a row. In FY13, the Department also surpassed overall federal government and statutory goals for prime contractors who are small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned small businesses, and service disabled veteran-owned small businesses.

U.S. small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and the Commerce Department works to both support those businesses and ensure they know about our many services that can help them grow.

For example, just a couple months ago, Commerce awarded five small businesses with a contract that is expected to save up to $25 million in taxpayer dollars over the next five years. In addition to saving money, contracts that make our work more efficient and effective enable Commerce to focus more resources on our primary mission, including making investments that help businesses of all sizes create jobs and help grow our economy.

To that end, the Department offers a wide array of services to our small businesses and entrepreneurs. For example, Commerce‚Äôs National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has a Manufacturing Extension Partnership program with centers based around the country who work with small and medium-sized manufacturers to transform their business plans, access new technology and increase exports. As part of the department‚Äôs ‚ÄėOpen for Business Agenda,‚Äô we are working to make more of our data accessible to more people, which supports start-ups and powers small companies.

Commerce Joins Federal Partners to Present Job Training Programs Review

Commerce Joins Federal Partners to Present Job Training Programs Review

Guest Blog Post by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker

A strong, skilled American workforce is essential to ensuring that U.S. businesses are able to compete in the global economy. In the 2014 State of the Union Address, President Obama asked that I join Vice President Biden, Secretary Perez, and Secretary Duncan to lead a review of federal training programs, to ensure that these programs prepare workers for the jobs that are available right now. On Tuesday we presented our findings and recommendations to the President at an event at the White House. President Obama also signed H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which will help improve business engagement and accountability across federally-funded training programs.

As a business leader of 27 years, I know the importance of hiring skilled workers. In our ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda,‚ÄĚ the Department of Commerce is making workforce development a top priority for the first time ever. While the Department does not directly fund job training programs, many of our initiatives support efforts to match workers to local industry needs. The Economic Development Administration (EDA) and National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) in particular have taken significant leadership roles in the Department‚Äôs skilled workforce policy. For example, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) funds critical efforts that help communities address local economic needs, including workforce needs. In addition, the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) works with manufacturers around the country to help them improve their processes and create and retain jobs.

Commerce is coordinating with other federal partners to leverage support for job-driven training initiatives. For example,  we are working in coordination with the Department of Labor (DOL) on their Center for Workforce & Industry Partnerships (CWIP), which will bring together key agencies across the federal government to support workforce and industry partnerships and form a common vision and approach to partnerships. To better align economic development and workforce development goals, EDA is working to develop stronger ties between EDA Regional Offices and Department of Labor (DOL) regional offices, and is incorporating job-driven training principles into its new Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies guidelines for economic development districts. Also, NIST MEP is working closely with DOL‚Äôs Registered Apprenticeships Program to spread awareness of their resources to common clients.  In fact, MEP and DOL co-hosted a webinar on these programs last week, and MEP helped DOL host an advanced manufacturing industry roundtable in Chicago last month to inform the upcoming solicitation for federal apprenticeship funding, one of the major announcements to come out of the Administration‚Äôs work on job-driven training.

We are also leveraging Commerce data to develop new tools for connecting job-seekers to available positions. Today, at the 21st Century Career Counseling Jobs Data Jam in Baltimore, Md., Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Mark Doms and Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez spoke with technology leaders and app developers to explore opportunities to use government data to help workers find jobs and training opportunities.

The Department of Commerce is leveraging our resources and will continue to collaborate with our other interagency partners, as well as businesses and educational institutions, to ensure that both workers and businesses get the best out of workforce skills programs. The report we presented on Tuesday offers a blueprint for our future actions to help more Americans climb the ladder of opportunity. 

Secretary Pritzker Discusses the Power of Government Data and Announces the Department of Commerce Will Hire Its First-Ever Chief Data Officer

Announces the Department of Commerce Will Hire Its First-Ever Chief Data Officer

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker discussed the Department of Commerce‚Äôs expanding role as ‚ÄúAmerica‚Äôs Data Agency‚ÄĚ at the 2014 Esri International User‚Äôs Conference in San Diego, California. The annual conference, hosted by Esri, a geographic information systems (GIS) software development company is attended by 16,000 data experts, including those from federal, state, local, and regional governments; Fortune 1000 companies; small business owners; university scholars; and K-12 teachers. 

During her address, Secretary Pritzker described how the Department of Commerce‚Äôs data collection ‚Äď which literally reaches from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun ‚Äď not only informs trillions of dollars of private and public investments each year and plants the seeds of economic growth, but also saves lives. Because of Commerce Department data, Secretary Pritzker explained, communities vulnerable to tornados have seen warning times triple and tornado warning accuracy double over the past 25 years, giving residents greater time to search for shelter in the event of an emergency. The breadth of the Department‚Äôs data collection and dissemination, which touches of the lives of millions of Americans every day, is why many, including Secretary Pritzker call the Department of Commerce ‚ÄúAmerica‚Äôs Data Agency.‚ÄĚ

To develop and implement a vision for the next phase in the open data revolution, Secretary Pritzker announced that the Department of Commerce will hire its first-ever Chief Data Officer. This leader, Secretary Pritzker explained, will oversee improvements to data collection and dissemination in order to ensure that Commerce’s data programs are coordinated, comprehensive, and strategic. To bolster the Chief Data Officer’s efforts, Secretary Pritzker explained that the Department will create a data advisory council, which will be comprised of private sector leaders who will advise the Department on how to best use and unleash more government data.

Secretary Pritzker also announced the launch of the International Trade Administration‚Äôs ‚ÄúDeveloper Portal,‚ÄĚ which will centralize data that is vital to exporting businesses across the country. Finally, Secretary Pritzker invited conference attendees to participate in a panel discussion later in the week in San Diego on how businesses can best utilize data from the American Community Survey (ACS), an annual statistical survey that helps guide $400 billion in federal spending each year.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Opens New Satellite Office in Denver, Colorado to Speed up the Patent Process and Create Local Jobs

Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews (L) is joined by Senator Bennet, Deputy USPTO Director Lee, Mayor Hancock and others at the ribbon cutting for the USPTO's Denver office

Today Acting U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews and Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee opened the permanent location for the USPTO Rocky Mountain Regional Office in in Denver’s central business district to help the region’s entrepreneurs advance cutting-edge ideas to the marketplace, grow their businesses, and more efficiently navigate the world’s strongest intellectual property system.

Through the ‚ÄėOpen for Business Agenda,‚Äô the Commerce Department is actively investing in communities across the country to build their capacity to spur innovation. They strongly support innovative startups and enterprises throughout their lifecycle because those companies produce economic growth, support good-paying jobs, and benefit America‚Äôs middle class. The Department also believes that this new USPTO satellite office will help the Rocky Mountain region‚Äôs inventors and entrepreneurs speed up their innovative products and technologies into the marketplace.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hopes that by retaining and hiring more talented examiners locally they can further improve the overall quality and transparency of their operations while continuing to reduce patent pendency on a national scale. 

The new Rocky Mountain Regional Satellite Office is expected to create an estimated 130 high-quality, good-paying jobs, that will eventually house patent examiners, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) judges, and outreach officials in a 45,000-square-foot space located in the Byron G. Rogers Federal Building.

The American Community Survey: Best Quality Data with the Least Public Burden

The American Community Survey: Best Quality Data with the Least Public Burden

Guest blog post by Mark Doms, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs

‚ÄúBetter Data for Better Decisions‚ÄĚ is my mantra as I crisscross the country talking to people about making the data we collect easier to find, understand and use.  Making government data more accessible or ‚Äúopen‚ÄĚ to improve government, business and community decisions is a major initiative in the Commerce Department‚Äôs ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda.‚ÄĚ  The open data initiative has the potential to fuel new businesses, create new jobs and help us make better policy decisions. 

One of our best data sources is the U.S. Census Bureau‚Äôs American Community Survey (ACS).  The ACS is truly a unique, national treasure, producing a wealth of data on which our country relies to make important decisions.  The ACS is used to inform disbursement of over $400 billion a year in Federal funds.  State and local decision makers rely on the ACS information to guide tough choices about competing funding priorities, such as locating hospitals, funding programs for children, building roads and transportation systems, targeting first responders, supporting veterans, locating schools, and promoting economic development. In short, our community leaders use ACS data to analyze how the needs of our neighborhoods are evolving.  And, our business users rely on ACS data to make key marketing, location and financial decisions to serve customers and create jobs. 

The value of the ACS is immense. It makes our businesses more competitive, our governments smarter, and our citizens more informed. 

This value comes from the fact that the ACS captures so much information so comprehensively.  But, this also means that the value of the ACS depends critically on the people responding to the survey, known as the respondents.  I met recently with members of the ACS Data Users Group, an organization dedicated to sharing innovations and best practices for ACS data use, to discuss how to get the best quality data with the least amount of respondent burden. This is of paramount importance.  A survey seen as too lengthy, burdensome and intrusive will produce lower response rates and could undermine both the quality of the data and value of the survey. But reducing the length of the survey could reduce the amount of information available for decision-making. 

Listening to Our Data Customers at the Open Data Roundtable

Joel Gurin, Senior Advisor at The GovLab (left) and Acting Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews

Guest Blog Post by Acting Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews

It is not hyperbole to call the Department of Commerce,‚ÄúAmerica‚Äôs Data Agency.‚ÄĚ Other departments may house major statistical agencies. But none can rival the reach, depth, and breadth of the Commerce Department‚Äôs data programs. Our data collection literally reaches from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun.

As a key pillar of our ‚ÄúOpen for Business‚ÄĚ agenda, bureaus and leaders across the Department of Commerce are determined to maximize the return on our data investments for businesses, government, taxpayers, and communities.

As Ginni Rometty of IBM has said, ‚ÄúInformation will be to the 21st century what steam, electricity and fossil fuels were to prior centuries.‚ÄĚ The entire team at our Department agrees.

For the first time, Secretary Pritzker has made data a top priority for Commerce ‚Äď part of the heart and soul for our strategy to strengthen our economy and deliver the tools and information needed to bolster our businesses.

The Secretary knows, as we all do, that gatherings like today’s Open Data Roundtable are essential to building bridges with the private sector, gaining input and feedback, improving our data infrastructure, and developing a system that will outlast any single Administration.

Our goal is to unleash even more government data to help business leaders make the best possible decisions, while creating fertile ground for more startups. The best way to do that is to listen to suggestions from those already using our data ‚Äď and to get the private sector‚Äôs guidance on where the federal government can unlock the greatest value in our data sets.

Promoting Opportunity for All Americans Through Mentoring

Last week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker participated in a Cabinet discussion with President Obama on My Brother‚Äôs Keeper ‚Äď an initiative designed to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. The President‚Äôs My Brother‚Äôs Keeper Task Force also released their first progress report with initial recommendations to the President, as well as a blueprint for action by government, business, non-profit and community partners. 

Since its launch in February 2014, the President’s Task Force has met with and heard from thousands of Americans who are already taking action on this front. Further, businesses, cities, organizations and individuals have made commitments to helping youth get a strong start in school and later connect them to support networks and specialized skills they need to find a good job or go to college and work their way up into the middle class.
 
In developing its recommendations, the Task Force identified key milestones in the path to adulthood that are especially predictive of later success, and where interventions can have the greatest impact. These recommendations included:
 
¬∑         Getting a health start and entering school ready to learn;
¬∑         Reading at grade level by third grade;
¬∑         Graduating from high school ready for college and career; 
¬∑         Completing post-secondary education or training;
¬∑         Successfully entering the workforce; and
¬∑         Keeping kids on track and giving them second chances.
 
Specific report recommendations also include launching a public-private campaign to recruit mentors for youth and improve the quality of mentoring programs, and to increase awareness about youth summer employment and use of pre-apprenticeships as good entry-level jobs.  

EDA Investment Supports Business and Workforce Development in Southern New Hampshire

EDA Investment Support Business and Workforce Development in Southern New Hampshire

Guest blog post by Matt S. Erskine, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Development 

Today I was honored to join Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte, Representative Carol Shea-Porter, and a host of local economic and business leaders to celebrate the opening of a new business development and job training facility that will serve 41 towns and cities in Southern New Hampshire. 

The Regional Economic Development Center of Southern New Hampshire‚Äôs new business and job training center is a unique facility. Both business management and workforce training will be delivered in an efficient learning environment. Resources will be provided for entrepreneurs and small businesses to conduct research and receive technical assistance, and space will be available for start-up enterprises to conduct limited business in a professional environment. 

Supporting job-creating entrepreneurs and ensuring that America has a strong and skilled workforce is essential to our economic competitiveness. 

That is why Secretary Pritzker - a business leader with more than 25 years of experience - has made innovation a key pillar of the Commerce Department‚Äôs ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda.‚ÄĚ 

Secretary Pritzker is the first U.S. Secretary of Commerce to focus on how we can best prepare workers with in-demand job skills as part of efforts to continue innovating and remain globally competitive. 

The Commerce Department plays a key role in partnering with businesses to facilitate industry-driven training programs. 

Investing in Data, Investing in America

Dr. Mark E. Doms

Cross-post by Mark Doms, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs

The Department of Commerce‚Äôs mantra is that America is ‚ÄúOpen for Business.‚ÄĚ  As President Obama highlighted at Tuesday‚Äôs Investing in America roundtable, this has never been more true.  Today, U.S. and foreign businesses appreciate the competitive advantages that come from locating operations here. The U.S. provides the total package: a skilled, world-class workforce; global leadership in innovation and invention; access to our growing domestic market; rich infrastructure easy access to export markets. The list goes on. (Check out the Assess Costs Everywhere tool to get a more complete list and discussion of the advantages of setting up shop in the U.S.) 

Business leaders from across the spectrum and across the world are making new investments here. Individually their stories are compelling, and they are echoed in data from our Bureau of Economic Analysis and captured in a joint report issued by the Department of Commerce and the White House. For example, business fixed investment from companies choosing to grow and invest in the United States accounts for more than 20 percent of the rebound in real GDP since mid-2009, and global investors have played a large part.  Since 2006, the United States has been the world‚Äôs largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI). And FDI inflows have swelled, totaling $1.5 trillion between 2006 and 2012. For 2013 alone, FDI inflows totaled $193 billion up from $166 billion in 2012. 

These investments are good for our economy, for investors, and for workers (such as the 5.6 million who work for U.S. affiliates of foreign firms and have average annual compensation of $77,000). We know this because the evidence is clear in the data. And while it is important to focus on the value of the inward investment and the jobs and growth that brings to our economy, it is also important to take a look at the data that tells us this, as well as the data which informs businesses when they decide to select the USA.

Secretary Pritzker Tours Entrepreneur School of Technology and Meets Ghanaian Entrepreneurs

Secretary Pritkzer Tours Entrepreneur School of Technology and Meets Ghanaian Entrepreneurs

After meeting with Ghanaian Minister of Trade and Industry Haruna Iddrisu and Minister of Finance Seth Terkper, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker stopped by the Meltwater Entrepreneur School of Technology (MEST) to tour its facilities, interact with several of the resident start-ups, and gain more insight into the Ghanaian entrepreneurial culture. 

Established in 2009 and based in Ghana's capital city of Accra, MEST and its Incubator program provide training, investment and mentoring for aspiring technology entrepreneurs. Its goal is to create globally successful companies that spur prosperity and jobs locally in Africa. MEST offers aspiring African entrepreneurs a fully-sponsored, two year intensive program to learn the skills necessary to build successful tech businesses, including computer programming, software development, product management, finance, marketing, sales and leadership best practices. 
 
The Department of Commerce supports entrepreneurship through its "Open for Business Agenda," a set of strategic priorities focused on data, innovation, and trade and investment. As the primary voice of business in the Administration, the Department produces policies and initiatives that help in the establishment and success of new start-ups as well as the growth and competitiveness of existing businesses.
 
In April, President Obama and Secretary Pritzker announced the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative. PAGE - which is chaired by Secretary Pritzker -  is comprised of 11 well-known, successful American business leaders who have committed to sharing their time, energy, ideas, and experience to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs both at home and abroad.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Touts Importance of Workforce Development at Clemson University's International Center for Automotive Research

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Touts Importance of Workforce Development at Clemson University's International Center for Automotive Research

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today toured the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), a campus where academia, the private sector, and government organizations are working together to research and develop leading-edge technologies, and educate and train students for jobs in the automotive industry.

Ensuring that America has a strong and skilled workforce is essential to our economic competitiveness, and that is why Secretary Pritzker has made workforce development a key pillar of the Commerce Department‚Äôs ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda.‚ÄĚ  In fact, she is the first Commerce Secretary to focus on how we can best prepare workers with in-demand job skills. The Commerce Department is playing a key role in this effort by partnering with businesses and other federal agencies to facilitate industry-driven training programs.

CU-ICAR is one example of an educational institution working directly with the private sector to conduct research and training that meets the needs of industry. Since collaboration between academia, the private sector and government started in 2003, CU-ICAR has grown into a 250-acre campus educating students and conducting research that is relevant to the global automotive community. CU-ICAR is studying advanced and highly efficient engine concepts that utilize a variety of fuels, developing technologies that increase vehicle electrification and efficiency, developing and utilizing advanced materials and processes that can reduce vehicle weight and decrease manufacturing costs. CU-ICAR is also working on identifying opportunities and technologies to reduce energy consumption in factories, and addressing issues of safety by designing improved human-machine interfaces and vehicle-to-vehicle communications.

The Commerce Department’s Strategic Plan: The Value of Government Data

The Average Daily Cost, Per Person, of the Principal Statistical Agencies is Three Cents

Guest blog post by Mark Doms, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs

Last week, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker unveiled the Department‚Äôs America is Open for Business:  Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2014-2018.  One of the plan‚Äôs five priority areas is a redefinition of how we manage, optimize and enable public access to our treasure trove of data.  The Commerce Department is fortunate to have numerous agencies that provide data that are critical to the information economy, such as:

  • The U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) demographic and economic statistics;
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather, ocean and climate information; 
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) scientific data;
  • National Technical Information Service (NTIS) information; and
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) patent databases. 

Specifically, the plan pledges to ‚Äúimprove government, business, and community decisions and knowledge by transforming Department data capabilities and supporting a data-enabled economy.‚ÄĚ  Success has three dimensions.  First, everyone in our country should have easy access to reliable information about their communities, about their climate, and about how these are changing.  Second, every business should have easy access to reliable information on their market, potential markets, scientific information, and changing economic conditions.  Further, new data-based businesses should be able to easily pull our data, combine it with other information, and make new products to compete in the private marketplace.  Third, and finally, every government should have easy access to the information they need to better serve their communities and to assess the efficacy of their programs.  More simply put, success is making our data accessible in ways that make our businesses more competitive, our governments smarter, and our citizens more informed.

How will that be achieved?  The first component is to transform DOC‚Äôs data capacity to make our data more accessible and usable.  The second component of the data strategic plan is for us to use data to make government smarter.  The third objective of our plan is to develop better collaboration and feedback loops with the private sector; to create timely, relevant, and accessible products and services.  Many specific initiatives are well underway.  For example, NOAA already is seeking private-sector input on new public-private partnership models to make more weather and climate data available.  NIST is spearheading the development of Big Data standards. <--break->

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Announces Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today released the fiscal year 2015 budget request for the U.S. Department of Commerce. The FY15 budget request supports and builds on President Obama‚Äôs vision for creating economic opportunity for all Americans, and includes critical funding for key Commerce priorities: promoting trade and investment, spurring innovation, and fueling our data-driven economy. The $8.8 billion FY15 budget request directly aligns with the Department‚Äôs ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda,‚ÄĚ which reflects Commerce's role as the voice of business and the Obama Administration‚Äôs focus on economic growth and job creation. 

The Commerce Department‚Äôs fiscal year 2015 budget reflects the Department's role as the voice of business in the Administration by making critical investments in our long-term growth and competitiveness. The budget prioritizes high-tech manufacturing and innovation, U.S. trade and investment, infrastructure, skills training, unleashing government data and gathering and acting on environmental intelligence, while also cutting red tape to help businesses grow. 

The FY 2015 Department of Commerce budget includes key investments in the following areas:

Promoting Trade and Investment: To promote exports and greater foreign investment in the U.S., the budget includes $497 million for the International Trade Administration (ITA), an eight percent increase over the 2014 enacted level. Funding for ITA includes $15 million to accelerate operations of the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC), an interagency effort to address unfair trade practices and barriers to boost U.S. exports, and $20 million to expand SelectUSA, which promotes re-shoring and actively brings job-creating investment to the United States from around the world.

Spurring Innovation: To foster a more innovative U.S. economy, the budget will increase regional and national capacity for innovative manufacturing, be the principal defender and champion of the digital economy, continue to support research and development (R&D) that leads to transformative changes in technology, and promote intellectual property policy that supports innovation. 

Fueling a Data-Driven Economy: Data powers the 21st century economy, and Commerce Department data touches every American and informs business decisions every day.

Gathering and Acting on Environmental Intelligence: The Department‚Äôs environment agenda aims to help communities and businesses prepare for and prosper in a changing environment. The budget provides $2 billion to fully fund the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration‚Äôs (NOAA‚Äôs) next generation of weather satellites, which are critical to its ability to provide accurate information to decision-makers throughout the government and private sector, as well as time-sensitive weather forecasts and warnings that help protect lives and property.

Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative: The President is also proposing the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative, which will be fully paid for with a balanced package of spending and tax reforms. It will demonstrate how, by simply changing a few tax provisions and reforming spending programs, Congress could achieve significant economic goals in research, education, manufacturing and skills training. The initiative is consistent with the model established in Murray-Ryan, providing equal dollar-for-dollar increases above the current law discretionary spending caps for both defense and non-defense. 

More information can be found at the Commerce Department's press release U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Announces Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request. 

Secretary Pritzker Concludes ‚ÄúCommerce in the Valley‚ÄĚ Tour

Secretary Pritzker Concludes ‚ÄúCommerce in the Valley‚ÄĚ Tour

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker concluded her two-day ‚ÄúCommerce in the Valley‚ÄĚ tour on Tuesday showcasing the value and vast resources of the Commerce Department to entrepreneurs and business leaders in Northern California.  As the voice of business in the Administration, Pritzker met with innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders within Silicon Valley to discuss the Department of Commerce‚Äôs ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda,‚ÄĚ and the three key areas that will keep America competitive and strong: trade and investment, innovation, and data.

Secretary Pritzker made a number of site visits during her tour of Silicon Valley including Facebook, Google, eBay and PayPal showing the Department's strong commitment to spurring U.S. economic growth, through innovation, and competitiveness. On day two of her visit, Secretary Pritzker participated in an Innovation Ecosystem breakfast hosted by Tech for America, where she heard from budding entrepreneurs on the next generation of innovative ideas and discussed the importance of intellectual property (IP) protection and patent reform.

Following the breakfast, Secretary Pritzker traveled to Google where she met with executives and discussed trade and investment and ways the Commerce Department can further help companies export their goods and services abroad. 

Secretary Pritzker concluded her day at eBay and PayPal where she met with three eBay sellers, Chris Ko, Owner, Nationwide Surplus and ER2 Electronic Recycling; Nate Victor, CEO, Sonic Electrolux; and Nick Martin, Founder, The Pro's Closet. She discussed with each of these business leaders what global opportunities and resources we have at the Department of Commerce that can help them increase exports to foreign markets and expand their business footprint.  Secretary Pritzker later joined eBay Inc. CEO John Donahoe in announcing a partnership to promote U.S. exports and trade.  This partnership will advance the Obama Administration‚Äôs National Export Initiative, an ambitious plan to sell more American goods and services into foreign markets. 

Mr. Donahoe was appointed by President Obama to the President‚Äôs Export Council (PEC) in December 2013.  This partnership comes on the heels of a U.S. Department of Commerce announcement that U.S. exports in 2013 set a new record for the fourth straight year. U.S. exports reached $2.3 trillion in 2013, up nearly $700 billion since 2009.

New Manufacturing Institutes will Spur U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness

Across the country, communities are clamoring to land the next Manufacturing Innovation Institute, new ‚Äúhubs‚ÄĚ supported by the Obama Administration that are spurring the types of advanced technologies that will help grow the U.S. economy. Today, President Obama announced two new National Network for  Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) institutes, funded by the Department of Defense, which will focus on lightweight modern metals (Detroit) and digital manufacturing and design (Chicago). America‚Äôs leadership in cutting-edge technologies like these is exactly what we need to create high-quality jobs and opportunity here at home.

The whole idea behind the NNMI is to create public-private partnerships that bring together manufacturers, academics, and non-profits to bridge the gap between applied research and product development to ensure America remains globally competitive in the most exciting and promising emerging industries. In other words, NNMI institutes will help spur the technological advances needed to help the U.S. economy maintain its competitive edge. Here at Commerce, support for this network of industry-driven commercialization hubs is a key part of our ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda.‚ÄĚ 

Following the 2012 launch of a successful, additive manufacturing-focused NNMI pilot institute in Youngstown, Ohio, President Obama announced competitions in May 2013 to create three new institutes with a federal commitment of $200 million across five federal agencies ‚Äď Commerce, Defense, Energy, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. With today‚Äôs announcement, all three institutes have now been selected. 

But we are not stopping here. The President also announced a new competition today for the next manufacturing innovation institute, which will focus on advanced composites. This is the first of the four additional institutes the President committed to launching this year in his State of the Union address, for a total of eight institutes nationwide.

The President has called for building out the initial network of 15 manufacturing innovation institutes to 45 over the next 10 years, which will require legislation from Congress. Getting this done is one of our top priorities at the Department of Commerce. With the enactment of current bipartisan and bicameral legislation, the ‚ÄúRevitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2013,‚ÄĚ we can open technology-neutral competitions that respond to much broader industry needs.

A strong manufacturing sector is critical to our intellectual and innovative capacity, and collaborative research between America’s leading manufacturers is essential to keeping our high-tech industries right here in the U.S. To learn more about NNMI and efforts to support advanced manufacturing, please visit:http://manufacturing.gov/nnmi.html.

Commerce Department Supports Efforts to Ensure American Workers Have the Necessary Skills for the In-Demand Jobs of Today and Tomorrow

As part of a government collaboration to prepare and place workers facing long-term unemployment into good jobs in high-demand industries, the Department of Labor announced yesterday the availability of approximately $150 million in grants as part of the ‚ÄúReady to Work Partnership.‚ÄĚ  Three weeks ago, President Obama signed a federal employer commitment and issued a Presidential Memorandum to address the issue of long-term unemployment and ensure that those who have been out of work for long periods of time are given a fair shot. The memorandum underscored the need for American workers to have the resources and training needed to acquire in-demand job skills.

The Commerce Department is playing a key role in this effort by partnering with businesses, as well as other federal agencies, to facilitate industry-driven workforce training programs. A strong and skilled workforce is a fundamental part of a competitive U.S. economy, driving economic growth and attracting foreign direct investment. That is why Secretary Pritzker has made workforce skills a top priority of the Commerce Department and is a key pillar of the ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda.‚ÄĚ In fact, she is the first Commerce Secretary to focus on skills training.

Before becoming Secretary of Commerce, Pritzker helped launch Skills for America’s Future, a national employer-led initiative to prepare workers for 21st century jobs, and Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, a local intermediary in Chicago focused on the long-term unemployed. These two public-private partnerships align employer needs with training to prepare workers for positions that are available and set them on a real career path.

At an event hosted by the White House on January 31, Secretary Pritzker co-led a panel with CEOs who signed the White House pledge to support the long-term unemployed. She emphasized the value of employer-led partnerships to better inform demand-driven training efforts and ensure that workers have the training they need to be competitive in the global marketplace. The strength of the American workforce drives our economic recovery, so it is critical that the federal government take a leading role in investing in workforce training efforts. For these efforts to be successful, government must collaborate with stakeholders from the business community, educational and training institutions, labor unions, and state and local governments to make sure our training programs are more job-driven, integrated and effective.

U.S. Census Bureau Releases First-Ever Report on Measuring Alternative Educational Credentials

One-Quarter of Adults Hold Educational Credentials Other Than an Academic Degree, Census Bureau Reports

The U.S. Census Bureau today released the first-ever report examining the prevalence of non-degree certifications and licenses among American adults and their importance to the employment market. The report found that alternative credentials provide a path to higher earnings, underscoring that traditional educational attainment is just one way for workers to attain the skills needed in today‚Äôs global economy.  
 
A skilled workforce is an essential part of a modern, innovative economy. However, many U.S. employers today are struggling to find workers with the skills to fill some of the 3.9 million open jobs. That is why, for the first time, the Commerce Department is focusing on skills training as part of its Open for Business Agenda.
 
The report, Measuring Alternative Educational Credentials, found that in fall 2012, 50 million U.S. adults, or one in four, had obtained a professional certification, license or educational certificate apart from a postsecondary degree awarded by colleges and universities. The report shows that, in general, these alternative credentials provide a path to higher earnings. Among full-time workers, the median monthly earnings for someone with a professional certification or license only was $4,167, compared with $3,433 for one with an educational certificate only; $3,920 for those with both types of credentials; and $3,110 for people without any alternative credential.

This report makes it clear that Americans who pursue non-traditional education have the opportunity to obtain get good-paying jobs in emerging fields.  Among the adults included in the report, 12 million had both a professional certification or license and an educational certificate; 34 million had only a professional certification or license; and 7 million had only an educational certificate.

The Commerce Department will continue to work with the Departments of Education and Labor to ensure that workforce training investments are aligned with employer's current and future hiring needs, leading to high-quality jobs for workers and a productive workforce for employers. This collaboration across federal agencies will refine our understanding of non-degree credentials, adding to the critical data that the Census Bureau and others provide to support smart business decisions and sound public policy in workforce training.  Release

A New Partner in Implementing Our Innovation Agenda

A New Partner in Implementing Our Innovation Agenda

Guest blog post from Dr. Patrick Gallagher, NIST Director performing the duties of the Deputy Secretary of Commerce 

Yesterday, I had the honor of swearing in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) new deputy director, Michelle Lee. 

Lee most recently served as the first director of the USPTO‚Äôs satellite office in the Silicon Valley, which has one of the nation‚Äôs highest concentrations of startups and companies in the high tech industry. While serving as director, Lee and her team actively engaged in patent and trademark education and outreach efforts to the vibrant entrepreneur community in Silicon Valley. 

Beyond the Silicon Valley office, Lee has played a broader role in helping shape key policy matters impacting the nation’s intellectual property system, focusing closely on efforts to continually strengthen patent quality, as well as curbing abusive patent litigation. Prior to becoming Director of the Silicon Valley USPTO, Lee served two terms on the USPTO’s Patent Public Advisory Committee, whose members are appointed by the U.S. Commerce Secretary and serve to advise the USPTO on its policies, goals, performance, budget and user fees.

 The USPTO has four satellite offices nationwide, which enable the agency to provide more resources to more area entrepreneurs, tailor programs to local startups and industries, and more effectively create good-paying, high-skilled jobs. 

The satellite offices are just one part of the USPTO‚Äôs work to protect the cutting-edge ideas that keep America globally competitive, help entrepreneurs get their products to market more quickly, and help empower innovators with more resources to protect and scale their products. The agency‚Äôs work also puts them in the critical role of supporting the growth of regional innovation ecosystems. 

50 Years Later, Commerce Works to Keep Fighting Poverty

Infographic Highlights of the History and Measurement of Poverty Text

Guest blog post by Josh Dickson, Director, Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

‚ÄúThis administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America‚ĶIt will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď President Lyndon B. Johnson, State of the Union, January 8, 1964."

Today marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s declaration of the War on Poverty. The effort, which consisted of anti-poverty programs aimed at improving education and healthcare access, feeding the hungry, and ensuring a livelihood for our seniors, was an important step in both our country’s awareness of and commitment to fighting the hurdles, hardships and lack of opportunity faced by people living below the poverty line.

Over the past 50 years, federal programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Headstart and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have played a critical role in the national effort to fight poverty. Today, these and other anti-poverty initiatives have contributed to a reduction in overall poverty rates and are currently keeping close to 40 million Americans from falling below the poverty line. In addition to a decrease in the overall poverty rate during this time, the poverty rate among seniors has fallen from roughly 30 percent in the mid-1960s to 9.1 percent in 2012.

The Obama administration has worked hard to help create jobs, improve our schools, increase access to healthcare, and ensure fair treatment for everyone working and seeking work. And the effort to continue fighting poverty remains a top priority for President Obama. According to the Commerce Department’s Census Bureau, 49.7 million Americans, or 16 percent of the population, were in poverty in 2012. Furthermore, a Census report released yesterday found that 3.5 percent of our population experienced chronic poverty between 2009 and 2011. During that same period of time, nearly one in three Americans lived in poverty for at least two months.

Secretary Pritzker Holds First Twitter Chat And Tweets About Open For Business Agenda

Secretary Penny Pritzker held a Twitter chat today where she took questions about the Department’s Open for Business agenda.

The ‚ÄúOpen for Business Agenda‚ÄĚ focuses on a revitalized National Export Initiative, an enhanced and expanded program to attract foreign investment, a first-of-its-kind, Commerce effort to ensure skills training programs meet industry needs, and a focus on public-private partnerships that enable businesses and communities to make better use of government data.

During her thirty minute chat, she answered 12 questions submitted with the #Open4Biz hashtag. She answered questions from Steve Case, prominent business organizations and a small business owner, among others.

The Secretary answered questions about trade, innovation, job skills, and data. You can see the entire Twitter chat below.

Acting Deputy Secretary Gallagher Addresses First-Ever American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit

Acting Deputy Secretary Patrick Gallagher yesterday spoke at the first-ever American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Partnership Summit in Washington, DC. Co-hosted by the Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Office and the Council on Competitiveness, the first annual gathering brought together leaders from government, academia, industry and more to address national priorities in energy and manufacturing.

Dr. Gallagher gave brief remarks on the importance of energy and manufacturing to the Administration, the Commerce Department, and to our country as a whole. For many reasons, including the generation of more renewable energy than ever before, the U.S. has become an increasingly attractive place for foreign direct investment.

Several Commerce agencies are working to help companies continue to deepen their investments in the United States in order to maintain the U.S. position as the world's leading producer of environmental technologies in the 21st century.  Specifically, Gallagher cited National Institute of Standards and Technology scientists who are reengineering America's electric grid and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's efforts to fast-track patent applications related to renewable energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction.

The Commerce Department is at the intersection of issues like energy, sustainability, the environment, innovation and competitiveness, whose links are becoming stronger and more complex. Manufacturing in particular is a key indicator of our country’s innovative capacity, which is why strengthening manufacturing is a major focus of the Commerce Department's recently released "Open for Business Agenda." As the federal agency responsible for leading the government’s manufacturing policy, Commerce plans to support manufacturing at every stage of the product life cycle. Specific initiatives include promoting pre-competitive collaboration among leading-edge manufacturers nationwide and investing in communities that develop comprehensive strategies that strengthen their competitive edge in attracting global manufacturers.