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Blog Category: Bureau of Economic Analysis

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.”

Secretary Pritzker Visits New York City’s Flatiron School to See Innovative Approach to Skills Training

Secretary Pritzker Visits New York City’s Flatiron School to See Innovative Approach to Skills Training

Last week in New York City, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker visited the Flatiron School, which teaches coding skills to students at all career and skill levels to prepare them for technology and data jobs. While learning about Flatiron’s innovative approach to skills training, Secretary Pritzker spoke with students, employers and business leaders involved with the school about the importance of job-driven workforce development.  

Founded in 2012, the school has trained more than 350 students in its unique 12-week intensive coding program, and has seen 99% of its graduates get a job in their preferred discipline.
 
Co-founders Adam Enbar and Avi Flombaum led Secretary Pritkzer on a tour of the school, explaining why they created Flatiron: to provide an alternative way to train students for in-demand jobs in data and coding. During the tour, Flatiron alumni presented apps they have created using the skills they learned at the school and data from the government.
 
One student team used data straight from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to create an interactive visualization of gross output by industry from 2005-2013. By connecting Commerce data with relevant news articles, this project allows users to better understand why economic trends happened at a certain point in time. Other students demonstrated the web app HeatSeek, which identifies landlords who illegally turn off the heat. To prove the heat has been turned off, the team integrates public New York City 311 heating complaint information with a system of temperature sensors that collect and transmit temperature data.
 
After meeting with students and learning about their hands-on experience, Secretary Pritzker led a roundtable discussion with technology and business leaders who work with the school about the specific skills and needs of the data-driven economy. The participants included representatives from Microsoft, DoSomething.Org, The New York Times, UniteUS, Wiser, New York Tech Meetup, Alphasights, and RMS.

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.

2015 Promises More Data from BEA on Foreign Investment in the United States

Are you looking for statistics on new investment by foreign companies in the United States? The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has you covered. New statistics slated to be unveiled later this year will provide information on things like when a foreign company launches a new business in this country or expands an existing one by building a new plant.

The new data will give foreign entrepreneurs even more tools to make informed decisions about investing and hiring in the United States. The new statistics also will help guide national policy and state programs that aim to attract foreign direct investment and improve job opportunities in the United States.

The new statistics provide 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. The statistics also cover the acquisition of U.S. businesses by foreign companies.

BEA rolled out a new survey near the end of 2014 that lays the ground work to produce these new statistics. (BEA previously collected similar new investment information, but that survey was discontinued in 2008 due to budget constraints.)

Already, BEA is the go-to source for information about foreign direct investment in the United States:

  • In June, we released data showing that the cumulative value of foreign direct investment in the United States rose to $2.8 trillion in 2013, from $2.6 trillion in 2012.
  • In July, we released comprehensive data on direct investment, financial transactions, equity, debt instruments, reinvestment of earnings, and income for selected countries and industries. The statistics released in July also include direct investment positions, financial transactions, and income for all countries and industries.
  • In November, we released data on the activities of U.S. affiliates of foreign multinational companies in 2012, including employment, sales, R&D expenditures, capital expenditures, and more. 

BEA’s suite of investment statistics provides an important way for businesses and policymakers to track foreigners’ desire to invest and strengthen job opportunities in the United States.  Expanding the U.S. economy through inward foreign investment that leads to more and better American jobs is critical – and it is one of the Commerce Department’s strategic goals.

SelectUSA is the U.S. government-wide program, housed within the U.S. Department of Commerce, to facilitate such investment into the United States. SelectUSA is hosting the second SelectUSA Investment Summit in the Washington, D.C. area on March 23-24, 2015! Investors will find the practical tools, information and connections they need to establish or expand operations in the United States.

Challenging Mission, Strong Team

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

Our country – the public, businesses, NGOs, non-profits, academic institutions and governments at all levels – relies on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic & Statistics Administration (ESA) to provide timely, relevant, and high-quality data about our population and economy so they can make better decisions. This is no easy task given the sheer magnitude of our nation – we have over 7 million employer- businesses, 320 million people, a Gross Domestic Product of over $17 trillion, and trillions of dollars in international trade. It can make your head spin.  Additionally, keeping track of our economy and population is made all the more difficult because of the dynamism of our country: hundreds of thousands of new businesses start every year; tens of millions of people move; and new industries arise while others decline. On top of all of this, we are in the midst of a data revolution, with rapid advances in private-sector data availability, new data analysis tools, and ever more and changing ways to disseminate data. 

As the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, I ensure our people, programs, and policies are properly aligned and resourced to successfully perform our mission in this rapidly changing and increasingly complex environment. ESA’s three operating units; Commerce’s Office of the Chief Economist, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), and the Bureau of Census include a workforce of more than 10,000 dedicated professionals. In addition to our duties and challenges, ESA has been given another mission: to take the lead in achieving goals under the Data Pillar of the Department of Commerce’s Strategic Plan, working across all bureaus in Commerce to fulfill the imperative to “maximize the positive impacts of Commerce data on society.”

To be successful in both my traditional job as ESA Under Secretary and as a leader of the Data Pillar, I need a capable, nimble, leadership team with a diverse set of skills.  None of us can be successful alone; instead we need to be members of strong teams committed to excellence. This post focuses on just one ESA team, that of my immediate office, which has been revamped in the past year. Team members were chosen and the positions created to meet a specific and diverse list of challenges, the most important being continuity, communication, coordination, and planning.

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. 

New BEA Data Provide Entrepreneurs with a Fortune 500 Research Department

Is consumer spending growing faster in North Dakota or North Carolina? How do consumers in different regions respond to economic downturns? Which state has the fastest growing consumer market for motor vehicles?

Some Fortune 500 companies have research departments to help answer these questions, but new BEA data on consumer spending broken out by state – released in August – provide startups and entrepreneurs with crucial insight into consumer behavior at the state level. In December 2015, we are planning to release a fresh batch of consumer spending by state statistics that will cover the year 2014 as well as some earlier years.

The prototype Personal Consumption Expenditure by state statistics are designed to be used in conjunction with other macroeconomic and regional data we produce, like statistics on Gross Domestic Product by State and State Personal Income.  This suite of statistics can offer entrepreneurs a better understanding of what’s driving or restraining economic activity at the state level, and thus inform their decisions about things like investing, financing, locating and hiring.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis’ experimental consumer spending by state statistics were released on Aug. 7 and covered the years from 1997 to 2012. So the fresh batch of statistics that will be out next year will be more up to date.  

An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Accessing Census Bureau Statistics

U.S. Census Apps

If you are thinking of starting a new business, one of the first things you need is information to understand market conditions. Entrepreneurs rely on American Community Survey and Economic Census data to understand local markets, the local workforce, commuting patterns and economic activity in prospective new locations to make investment decisions that create jobs and grow the economy. 

You may already know that the U.S. Census Bureau has a wealth of information that can be invaluable to entrepreneurs. But how do you get started? We have several tools that make it easy to find the statistics you need to start or grow your business. Here are four tools you can begin using today and one that is coming soon. 

1. QuickFacts

Many times, you may just need to know a quick fact such as the population or demographic makeup of a state or county. With our QuickFacts tool, you can find current population estimates, key demographic statistics from the American Community Survey, and economic statistics from selected Census Bureau economic programs. A soon to be released beta version of the tool allows for comparison of these data across geographic areas as well as expanded visualizations of these data.

2. Census Explorer

One of our newest tools, Census Explorer provides an interactive map of various demographic topics for states, counties and census tracts. For example, Census Explorer: Retail Edition includes statistics on retail trade in America from County Business Patterns, including the growing online shopping market. You can find information on the number of businesses, employment and average annual payroll per employee for every county in the U.S.  Other editions of Census Explorer display population estimates or topics from the American Community Survey, such as commuting information, education and income.

Commerce Data: Then & Now

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

In July, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced that our department will be hiring our first ever Chief Data Officer (CDO), building on her commitment to Commerce’s role as “America’s Data Agency.” She also announced the formation of a data advisory council comprising private sector leaders who will help the CDO navigate new and dynamic data challenges. This is the latest chapter in Commerce’s long history of adapting to serve the needs of an ever-changing American economy.

The United States Department of Commerce has been a trusted provider of data and statistics for centuries. The first decennial census took place in 1790 and the first patent was issued that same year.  Today, because of advances in technology, we are able to provide Americans with more data, faster and more accurately than ever before. This transformation can be seen in the evolution of the Census Bureau.

Article 1 Section 3 of the US Constitution states that the U.S. government shall enumerate the population of the United States every 10 years. Beginning with the 1790 Decennial Census and once every decade since then, the federal government has provided this invaluable information, making the United States the first country to produce a regular count of its citizens.   

By the early 1800s it became clear that in addition to the important demographic information flowing from the decennial census, there was also an imperative for regular collection of business information. In response to that need, in 1810, the U.S. Census Bureau established a census of businesses, also known as the economic census.  The initial focal points were manufacturing, lumber yards and butcher shops. In 1902, Congress authorized the establishment of the U.S. Census Bureau and directed that the census of manufacturers be taken every five years (a “quinquennial” census).  As the economy grew, the Census Bureau responded accordingly and by 1930 it had expanded the economic census to include services.  The breadth of the survey has since changed to keep pace with our nation’s growing economy.  The 2012 economic census data are currently being released.

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’s 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’s 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’s ‘Open for Business Agenda’ 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’s 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’s 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 “The Software Century: Analyzing Economic Impact & Job Creation,” Deputy Secretary Andrews talked with SIIA Vice President of Public Policy Mark MacCarthy about the Commerce Department’s 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 “Open for Business Agenda.” 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’s 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 “The Impact of the U.S Software Industry on the American Economy,” 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’s Bureau of Economic Analysis data throughout the report is a testament to the usefulness of the department’s data to help American businesses grow. The value of government data was recently highlighted in “Fostering Innovation, Creating Jobs, Driving Better Decisions: The Value of Government Data,” a Commerce report by the Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA).

Quarterly Gross Domestic Product by State, 2005–2013 (Prototype Statistics)

Percent Change in Real GDP by State, 2013:III-2013:IV

Cross Post: Bureau of Economic Analysis

  • The quarterly GDP by state prototype statistics for 2005-2013 provide a more complete picture of economic growth across states as they evolve from quarter to quarter. 
  • The quarterly GDP by state statistics are released for 21 industry sectors and are released in both current dollars and inflation-adjusted chained (2009) dollars. 
  • Nondurable-goods manufacturing was the largest contributor to U.S. real GDP by state growth in the fourth quarter of 2013. This industry was the leading contributor to real GDP growth in 31 states in the fourth quarter. 
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services was the second largest contributor to U.S. real GDP growth in the third and fourth quarters of 2013. This industry contributed to the growth in 49 states and the District of Columbia in the fourth quarter of 2013. 
  • Wholesale trade contributed to real GDP growth in 48 states and the District of Columbia in the fourth quarter of 2013. 
  • Construction subtracted from real GDP growth in 47 states and the District of Columbia in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Read the full report.

New BEA Data Provide Insights on How Harsh Winter Impacted Industries in First Quarter

Real value added —a measure of an industry’s contribution to GDP—for agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting declined 31 percent in the first quarter, reflecting a drop in the production of farm-type products, including livestock and dairy.

How much did the harsh winter weather affect the U.S. economy in the first quarter of this year?

We know that the economy, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), contracted at an annual rate of 2.9 percent over January, February and March, the first quarterly decline in three years. But how were different industries affected and was weather a factor?  New data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis provide fresh insights on that front.

The economy’s downturn in the first quarter was widespread, with 19 of 22 major industry groups contributing to the drop in U.S. economic activity, the new BEA data show.  Some of the leading contributors to the downturn included industries that were impacted by the unusually harsh winter weather that hit most of the United States, including “agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting.”

Severe weather conditions can have both positive and negative (although mostly negative) effects on the Nation’s economic performance. For some industries this is intuitive, like “agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting” and “construction;” for other industries, like “mining,” and “nondurable-goods manufacturing,” the link may not be as intuitive.

Real value added —a measure of an industry’s contribution to GDP—for agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting declined 31 percent in the first quarter, reflecting a drop in the production of farm-type products, including livestock and dairy. 

Construction fell almost 9 percent, reflecting a notable decline in nonresidential construction activity that began in January and continued through March; unusually cold and wet weather hampered construction activity. 

Perhaps somewhat surprising, the utility industry also contributed to the decline in GDP in the first quarter.  While demand for additional utilities, for example electricity generation, was evident with the severe winter weather, a surge in the costs of the inputs used by the utilities industry—things like energy, materials, and purchased services used in the production process—caused real value added to drop over 16 percent in the first quarter. 

Looking for Economic Information on Coastal Areas? Visit BEA’s Website

Recreational boats parked in a marina

How much economic activity is generated by a state in a coastal area? How much do people living in coastal areas earn?

A visit to BEA’s Economic Information for Coastal Areas section on its website provides you with that information – and much more.

You can get details on the sources of personal income, such as wages and salaries, how much income came from investments and how much came from transfer benefits such as unemployment checks and Social Security benefits. This information is available for coastal states and for coastal counties. You can also find out how much income per person was generated in coastal counties and states.

You also can find out earnings generated by people working in different industries for coastal states and coastal counties. For instance, you can look up earnings for people employed in fishing, hunting and trapping. Or for those employed in oil and gas extraction, food manufacturing or transportation. That information also is available on a state and county level.

Business owners and entrepreneurs can use BEA’s coastal economic statistics to help them make more informed decisions about investing and hiring in those areas.

The site, launched two years ago, stems from a joint project with the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

International Statistical Update: Health- and Education-Related Travel Now Part of Travel Services

Cross-post, Bureau of Economic Analysis

You may have noticed some data on international travel services look a little bit different. With the release of the monthly trade report on June 4, spending on health- and education-related travel are now counted in the travel services category. Previously, both were included in a category called “other personal services.”

Expenditures on goods and services by border, seasonal, and other short-term workers, which were also previously included in other private services, are reclassified to travel as well.

While this change alone will not affect the overall trade balance, the category measuring travel services – both imports and exports – will be larger. However, BEA will also report quarterly on health- and education-related travel separately from other more traditional business and personal travel so that users can track travel spending in several ways. You can see the new travel services category as well as the subcategories in a new table that will be available on June 18. A template is available now.

This change is part of the Comprehensive Restructuring of BEA’s International Economic Accounts, which we discussed in a recent blog post.

An example of health-related travel is when a foreign person travels to the United States for surgery. In this case, health-related travel exports would include the cost of medical procedures the person receives, in addition to any accommodations and other expenses he or she incurs in the United States.

An example of education-related travel is when a foreign person travels to the U.S. to attend school here. In this case, education-related travel exports would include all costs the foreign student incurs in the United States, including tuition at a U.S. institution. Like other changes to BEA’s international accounts, moving health- and education-related travel to the travel services category brings the U.S. international accounts into closer harmony with data produced by our trading partners and was a recommendation of the International Monetary Fund’s Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual, 6th edition.

Attention Developers: More Economic Statistics Added to BEA’s API

Developers, do you want to bring more detailed economic data to your next app? The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) recently added several data sets to the application programming interface (API) we launched last year.

The API now provides direct access to the gross domestic product (GDP) underlying detail tables. Those tables contain a wealth of statistics, including how much consumers spend on hundreds of items like furnishings, food and flowers and how much revenue the government takes in and spends.

Other newly added data to the API are BEA’s national fixed assets, which include statistics on fixed assets like factory equipment, buildings, intellectual property and durable goods for consumers. 

The new additions give you the ability to create an even richer, customized economic dashboard of your own.

The new data sets join BEA’s GDP and related national economic statistics and regional economic statistics, which have been available via API since the service launched in May 2013. In addition to expanding the amount of data available on the API, BEA published an updated User Guide, making it easier for developers to start using the service.

BEA’s API allows developers to build a service to search, display, analyze, retrieve, or view BEA statistics. For example, you can create a “mashup” that combines BEA data with other government or private data sources to create new services or give your users a different perspective on their communities. Or you can design a tool that gives your users new ways to visualize economic data.

The API includes methods for retrieving subsets of BEA statistical data and the meta-data that describes it using HTTP requests. It delivers data in two industry-standard formats: XML (Extensible Markup Language) and JSON (JavaScript Object Notation).

To use the API, you need to register first. Full documentation is available in the updated API User Guide.

Coming Soon: A More Detailed Look at U.S. Trade and International Investment

International data will soon be getting a new look, giving users more detail on the U.S. economy’s relationship with the rest of the world in the most significant restructuring of the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ international data since 1976. The restructured accounts will provide greater and more complete information about the global financial picture and the United States’ place in it.

So when will you start seeing the changes?

• With the June 4 International Trade in Goods and Services report, the number of services categories available monthly will expand from seven to nine. Also, seasonally adjusted trade in goods and services will now be available for selected countries and areas.

• With the June 18 release of the quarterly International Transactions Accounts, users will get additional detail on trade in goods and services in the current account, while the financial account will be reorganized and expanded to include additional detail by instrument, by sector, and by maturity. For trade in services, the number of sub-categories available quarterly will expand from 10 to 20.

• With the June 30 release of the quarterly International Investment Position, users will get additional detail on the maturity of investment. Data on direct investment positions will be reported on an asset and liability basis, like a balance sheet.

These changes will align U.S. data more closely with updated international guidelines, such as the sixth edition of the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6). Keeping up with international guidelines makes it easier for users to compare U.S. data with data from our major trade and investment partners. Several industrialized countries have already incorporated these new standards into their international accounts.

More information on the upcoming changes is available here. BEA plans to host a webinar on May 28 starting at 2 p.m. EDT to highlight the biggest changes and answer users’ questions. For more information, click here.

 

New Commerce Data Supports Better Economic Decision-Making by Businesses and Policymakers

This week, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released two new data products that will help American businesses, consumers, policymakers and academia gain important information about the performance of the U.S. economy.

Yesterday, BEA released inflation-adjusted estimates of personal income for states and metropolitan areas, which are being released for the first time as official statistics. Americans looking to move or take a job anywhere in the country can now compare these inflation-adjusted incomes to better understand how their personal income may be affected by a job change or move. In addition, businesses looking to relocate or establish new facilities can use this data to get a comprehensive and consistent measure of differences in the cost of living and the purchasing power of consumers nationwide.

Also for the first time, BEA today released quarterly estimates of the economic activity generated by 22 industries – including manufacturing, construction, finance, transportation, retail, health care, educational services, and the arts. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data – one of our government’s most valuable data resources – shows how different industries helped or hindered the U.S. economy’s growth in a given quarter. These new statistics will enable industries in all sectors to better measure their contributions to GDP and understand and identify emerging trends more quickly. This economic intelligence can help make businesses more competitive and innovative, as well as guide their decisions about investing and hiring.

New BEA Data Proves Valuable for Retail Industry

Jack Kleinhenz, Ph.D., Chief Economist, National Retail Federation

Guest blog post by Jack Kleinhenz, Ph.D., Chief Economist, National Retail Federation 

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries.

The National Retail Federation closely monitors economic conditions in order to gauge the health of the overall industry and the consumers who represent nearly 70% of the national GDP. By having quarterly updates on the economic performance of 22 sectors, we will be better served when representing retailers and their needs as it relates to economic forecasts, labor markets and job reports, and much more.

Having higher frequency GDP data by industry will be extremely valuable in assessing current economic conditions and shaping economic forecasts. The new data series should provide reliable information on the changes in growth for specific industries, and offer insights into whether the growth is well-above, well-below, or average relative to overall GDP growth. In the past, the annual data could not provide perspective on the fits and starts in marketplace activity, so I am encouraged that a more detailed picture is now more accessible. 

No modeling effort can accurately capture the dynamics and complexity of the U.S. economy nor consider all the variables. The difference now is that we don’t have to wait a year to find out how different industries are performing and contributing to the United States’ economic growth. This data will add to our toolkit for forecasting both short and long-term trends. Additionally, these quarterly reports will provide a better barometer of when an industry might be poised for a surge or a drop – otherwise known as turning points – that can possibly be a signal for the direction of the larger U.S. economy.

All in all, the access to this new statistical product will add to more informed decisions by all who need reliable and timely data on the performance of the economy.

Big Data is Big Business for Commerce

Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Mark Doms (center) along with Erie Meyer, Joel Gurin, Waldo Jaquith, and Daniel Castro at the Center for Data Innovation hosted “The Economic Benefits of Open Data” event

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

Big Data and Open Data are all the rage these days. However, Commerce was into Big Data before Big Data was cool. As far back as 1790, we began collecting data on patents in the U.S. and the Census Bureau conducted the first Decennial Census the same year. In 1870, the National Weather Service was created – which today is one of the biggest data producing agencies around.

Back then, our economy was based largely on agriculture. Over the years, our economy evolved through the industrial revolution, later giving rise to the strong service sector. Today, we are at the nascent stages of the next era in our economic growth, the information age. On a daily basis, there is an ever-increasing amount of data becoming available, and the demand for data is increasing exponentially. We have before us both great opportunity and fascinating challenges to understand how best to harness this national resource. This is a key focus of Commerce’s Open for Business Agenda.

You may not know it, but the Department of Commerce is home to many agencies that are your primary source for data that you likely use every day.

For example:

  • How many people live in the U.S. or in your hometown? You might know the Census Bureau is the authority on population, but did you know the Census Bureau’s data goes well beyond just population? Census also produces huge volumes of data on our economy, demographics, and fascinatingly insightful data describing our communities – or, if you are a business, your customers.
  • The Bureau of Economic Analysis is a little know agency that produces key economic data and many of the closely watched economic indicators that move markets, drive investment decisions and guide economic policy. Do you know which industries are the leading sources of income in your community, or to your customers? BEA data can tell you.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, is your primary source for weather, ocean and climate data – they are collecting data every minute of every day from land, sea, and even spaced-based sensors. When you hear the local forecast or hear about severe weather warning, that is NOAA data informing you about your environment in real time.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology, locally known as NIST, is our nation’s authority on broad swaths of scientific, cyber, and physical data – including, officially, what time it is.
  • We also have data on patents going back more than 200 years at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which is a gold mine of inspiration for innovation.
  • Other agencies in Commerce provide data on economic development, minority businesses, trade, and telecommunications and the Internet.

On any given day, the Department will generate in excess of 20 terabytes of data, and sometimes much more. Yet, we think we can do more with this resource. We want to take every step we can to open access to it to the entrepreneurs and innovators of America, as we are pretty convinced that there is huge unmet value and potential. We understand that a huge part of the value of data is when it is not seen alone, but as part of a rich tapestry of information. We believe that there is great opportunity to solve problems, innovate new businesses, and improve data-driven decision-making, and we are committed to that path.

That is why I was so glad to be a part of today’s launch of the Open Data 500 Project, housed out of the GovLab at NYU. This exciting project has verified what we were certain must be true: That hundreds of American companies are using Commerce data every day to innovate and deliver important goods and services to their customers.

Department of Commerce releases FY 2014-2018 Strategic Plan

Plan priorities are in direct alignment with the Department’s “Open for Business Agenda”

Today the Department of Commerce released its Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2014 to 2018. The five-year plan, along with the recently released FY15 budget, provides the pathway for meeting the Department’s long-term goals and objectives. The plan, summarizes the key strategies and initiatives that will drive progress in the Department’s five priority areas:

  • Trade and Investment. Expanding the U.S. economy through increased exports and foreign direct investment that leads to more and better American jobs.
  • Innovation. Fostering a more innovative U.S. economy—one that is better at inventing, improving, and commercializing products and technologies that lead to higher productivity and  competitiveness.
  • Data. Improve government, business, and community decisions and knowledge by transforming Department data capabilities and supporting a data-enabled economy.
  • Environment. Ensuring communities and businesses have the necessary information, products, and services to prepare for and prosper in a changing environment.
  • Operational Excellence. Delivering better services, solutions, and outcomes that benefit the American people.

The creation of the strategic plan was a collaborative effort involving staff from every Department of Commerce bureau and serves as a foundation for economic growth and opportunity. The plan is in direct alignment with the  “Open for Business Agenda,” which reflects the Department’s role as the voice of business, and the Administration’s focus on economic growth and job creation. Department leaders and employees will use this plan to transform strategies into actions, and actions into results.

Read a summary of the plan or the entire plan.

Files

United States Department of Commerce Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations

Annual funding for the government expired on September 30. The Administration strongly believed that a lapse in funding should not occur. The Department is prepared for a lapse in funding that would necessitate a significant reduction in operations. Prior to a potential lapse in funding, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) required the Department to submit a draft plan for agency operations (PDF) in the absence of appropriations (a “shutdown plan”).

The plan may be modified with additional guidance from the Office of Personnel Management and OMB, and may be changed by the Department, as circumstances warrant. This plan (PDF) complies with the guidance provided by the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce. All employees who are Presidentially Appointed, Senate Confirmed will remain on duty.

In compliance with the restrictions of the Anti-Deficiency Act, the Department of Commerce will maintain the following services and activities during a lapse in FY14 appropriations:

• Weather, water, and climate observing, prediction, forecast, warning, and support
• Law enforcement activities for the protection of marine fisheries
• Fisheries management activities including quota monitoring, observer activities, and regulatory actions to prevent overfishing
• Essential natural resource damage assessment activities associated with the Deepwater Horizon incident
• Water level data for ships entering U.S. ports, critical nautical chart updates and accurate position information.
• Patent and trademark application processing
• Operation of the national timing and synchronization infrastructure as well as the National Vulnerability Database
• Maintenance, continuity and protection of certain research property and critical data records
• All services of the National Technical Information Service
• Export enforcement – the ongoing conduct of criminal investigations, and prosecutions, and coordination with other law enforcement and intelligence agencies in furtherance of our national security
• Budget operations required to support excepted activities under a shutdown, such as tracking of obligations and funds control.

The following services and activities will not be available during a lapse in FY14 appropriations:

• Most research activities at NIST and NOAA (excluding real-time regular models on research computers used for Hurricane and FAA flight planning)
• Assistance and support to recipients of grant funding
• Technical oversight of non-mission essential contracts
• Services and activities provided by:
−Bureau of Economic Analysis
−Economic Development Administration
−Economics and Statistics Administration
−Minority Business Development Agency
−Bureau of the Census
• Most services and activities provided by the International Trade Administration

Improving the Economic Measurement Toolkit: Partnerships between Businesses and Federal Statistical Agencies

Director Steve Landefeld

Businesses and federal statistical agencies have a long history of working together to produce something that is vitally important to both groups: the nation’s economic measurement toolkit.

Steve Landefeld, director of the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, charted the history of this collaboration and underscored the importance of continuing that partnership during a panel session Tuesday at the National Association for Business Economics’ (NABE) annual meeting in San Francisco.

This public-private partnership has produced concrete results over the years. For example, BEA partnered with IBM to develop a new type of price index that captured the effect of changes in technology. And BEA worked with Chrysler to develop a new price index for motor vehicles.  The Chamber of Commerce has also hosted conferences that led to important changes in the way the U.S. and other countries measure their economies. NABE has served as an important forum to spur additional ideas on the measurement front.

Proposed Cuts Hurt Job Creation, Economy, and the Middle-Class

The President has been clear that Republicans in Congress should work with Democrats to finish a budget that cuts wasteful spending while investing in jobs, the economy, and middle class families. Until Congress reaches a budget agreement, the President will not sign individual appropriations bills that simply attempt to enact the House Republican budget into law. That would hurt our economy and make draconian cuts to middle class priorities.

The House Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill demonstrates just how damaging the overall spending limits imposed by House Republican leadership are. The bill would cut $1 billion from the President’s request for the Department of Commerce, requiring a halt to investments in areas designed to help grow the economy, create jobs, and strengthen the middle class. The bill cuts more than $70 million from the International Trade Administration, which prevents placement of Foreign Commercial Service Officers in priority markets to help U.S. companies expand exports. That cut also limits our ability to attract foreign investment.  Instead of building on the momentum of resurgent American manufacturing as the President did in this budget, the bill terminates the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia, which is helping the industry identify long-term manufacturing needs, and it cuts $33 million from the President’s request for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). The MEP program is a federal-state partnership, which consists of centers located across the country that work directly with their local manufacturing communities to strengthen the competitiveness of our nation's domestic manufacturing base.

Commerce’s Economic Data Is a Goldmine for Small Businesses

Graphic of Econmic Census

Public data is a valuable national asset whose value is multiplied when it is made easily accessible to the public. For example, the public release of weather data from government satellites and ground stations generated an entire economic sector that today includes the Weather Channel, commercial agricultural advisory services, and new insurance options. Similarly, the decision by the U.S. Government to make the Global Positioning System (GPS), once reserved for military use, available for civilian and commercial access, gave rise to GPS-powered innovations ranging from aircraft navigation systems to precision farming to location-based apps, contributing tens of billions of dollars in annual value to the American economy.

The Department of Commerce makes available to small businesses economic data that are important for key business decisions such as where to locate, where to manufacture a product and where to sell that product.

For example, AmFor Electronics, a second-generation, family-owned manufacturer in Portland, Oregon, is the market leader in the manufacturing of alternator and starter testers, which are sold to auto parts stores, auto repair shops, and alternator and starter rebuilders. Using Commerce data like that available in the Assess Costs Everywhere tool, AmFor decided to enter the wire harness sector and chose to locate their manufacturing facility domestically rather than overseas because it provides a shorter turnaround times with fewer defects that ultimately leads to a reduction in costs. These successes have translated into new customers and the hiring of 50 employees.

Digital Government Strategy Brings Big Changes to the Commerce Department

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Digital Government Strategy, an effort by the Administration to transform public-facing government services in line with 21st century expectations. The Department of Commerce has made some big strides in providing better information to citizens in a timely manner through multiple formats and increasing access to services on mobile devices. The goal is to make citizen services and information available anywhere, anytime, and on any device, and in formats that facilitate additional use by public developers and entrepreneurs.

Technology is changing so rapidly that nearly 50% of American adults own a smart phone today, up from 35% only one year ago. To help keep pace with the rapid deployment of mobile technology, Commerce is working hard to ensure our services and data are available to citizens in whatever format and on whatever device they prefer. For example, earlier this week, NOAA released a mobile app to provide free nautical charts for recreational boaters to ensure safer and easier boating. NOAA is putting the finishing touches on the iOS version of their Shortfin Mako Shark Live Release app for public release next week. The success of these apps builds upon the America’s Economy app from the U.S. Census Bureau that already has more than 90,000 downloads.

We also have released the additional data for public consumption. For example, the International Trade Administration has released an application programming interface (API) for Export Trade Events so that data can be used by other organizations to pull the most relevant events for their members. The Department's Bureau of Industry and Security created the Commerce Control List Order of Review Decision Tool, a new web-based tool to assist exporters in understanding changes being made as part of the Administration's Export Control Reform Initiative. All information available for public use is on Data.gov and also on our new Developer page. The release of this data and APIs is intended to provide developers, researches, entrepreneurs and others with the ability to access government data in ways that make it easier to use and program.

Learn More About the Ocean and Great Lakes Economy on BEA’s New Web Portal

Tugboat

Ed. Note: This is cross-posted from the Bureau of Economic Analysis's blog. It highlights the coordination and collaboration between BEA and NOAA to bring value in data and services to the American public.

How many jobs are created from the construction of a new bridge or an increase in tourism?

The Bureau of Economic Analysis’ (BEA) new Web portal on the ocean and Great Lakes economy shows how the Bureau’s Regional Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS II) can be used to provide answers to such questions. The new Web site stems from a joint project with the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

RIMS II, a regional economic model, is used by investors, planners, and elected officials to objectively assess the returns to projects ranging from a new sports stadium to a new bridge. The returns include the short- and long-term increases in jobs and spending associated with the projects.

The idea behind the results of RIMS II is that an initial change in economic activity leads to additional changes in economic activity in other parts of an economy—for example, building a new bridge leads to increased production of concrete and steel. The increased production of concrete and steel leads to more mining. Workers benefiting from these increases may also enjoy bigger paychecks, so they may then spend more by eating out at nicer restaurants or splurging more on entertainment.

Labor Day 2012: September 3

Labor Day collage (Credit: Delaware.gov)

The first observance of Labor Day is believed to have been a parade of 10,000 workers on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, organized by Peter J. McGuire, a Carpenters and Joiners Union secretary. By 1893, more than half the states were observing “Labor Day” on one day or another. Congress passed a bill to establish a federal holiday in 1894. President Grover Cleveland signed the bill soon afterward, designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day.

The Department of Commerce's U.S. Census Bureau has gathered a collection of interesting statistics in its "Facts for Features" series. This edition highlights the many statistics associated with celebrating Labor Day, including:

  • 155.2 million: Number of people 16 and older in the nation’s labor force in June 2012;
  • 16.3 million: Number of commuters who left for work between midnight and 5:59 a.m. in 2010. They represent 12.5 percent of all commuters;
  • 25.3 minutes: The average time it took people in the nation to commute to work in 2010.

For more statistics, see the Labor Day Facts for Features.

Census Innovation Day: Government at the Speed of Business

Groves address the adience

Guest blog post by Robert Groves, Director of Commerce's U.S. Census Bureau

I’m blogging from the Census Bureau’s Innovation Day event. We’re highlighting for all our staff the newest tools and techniques that we’re developing to do our work more efficiently.

These are the fruits of programs that seek ideas from every staff member, from the newest to the most senior, about how to do our work for less money, to do it faster, and to complete it with higher quality. Hundreds of proposals were submitted and scores of projects are underway to introduce the new procedures. The depth of creativity within the staff rivals that of any organization.

What are we up to?

The Census Bureau produces most all information we know about the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics continuously. We also are the key supplier of information on the economy—retail sales and other service sector volume, manufacturing, foreign trade, state and local government finances, and a host of others. Almost every week, information that answers the question, “How are we doing?” is released.

Deputy Secretary Blank Advocates Public Service in Commencement Speech

Guest blog post by Commerce Deputy Secretary Rebecca M. Blank

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

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

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

BEA in the 1940s

Graph of rise of GDP

Ed. Note: This post is part of a series following the release of the 1940 Census highlighting various Commerce agencies and their hard work on behalf of the American people during the 1940s through today.

As the U.S. population has changed dramatically since 1940, so too has the U.S. economy. Just a few years prior to the 1940 Census, in 1935, employees of the Department of Commerce and the National Bureau of Economic Research created what we call the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA), a comprehensive set of economic accounts for the nation that provides unparalleled insight into the workings of our economy.
 
Let’s take a quick glance at the NIPAs and see how things have changed over the last 72 years. One commonly used measure of standards of living is GDP per capita—the total output of the nation divided by the population. Looking to national accounts table 7.1, we see that in 1940 U.S. GDP per capita was $8,824 in inflation-adjusted dollars. By 2011, it had increased nearly fivefold to $42,671. Over that period, the structure of the economy changed with services accounting for an ever increasing for spending. In 1940, consumer spending on services (everything from haircuts to heart surgery), according to NIPA table 1.1.10 accounted for 30 percent of GDP. By 2011, it was 47 percent—nearly half of economic activity.

Why Investing in R&D Matters

BEA logo

What do the electric light bulb, the internal combustion engine and the transistor have in common? They are all examples of how innovative ideas can bring rapid change and growth to our economy. Innovation has long been recognized as an important driver of economic growth.  New ideas can spark wave upon wave of new goods and services that literally transform the economy, making it more robust and vibrant.

What exactly is innovation? A precise explanation can be elusive, but common to every definition is the idea of realizing commercial value by creating something that did not previously exist. And, while economists agree that innovation is important for economic growth, actually measuring it is quite a challenge. Innovation is what’s known as an intangible asset. It’s hard to quantify. Understanding the role of intangible assets–and thus the role of innovative activity in general–is critical to understanding the modern economy.

Federal Government Help for Manufacturing Companies: How Commerce Contributes

US-Made Auto Parts

In last night's State of the Union address, President Obama laid out proposals for how to bring about a new era of American manufacturing, with more good jobs and more products stamped Made in the USA.  A few of the proposals are:

  • Reward companies for bringing jobs back to America.
  • Lower tax rates for companies that manufacture and create jobs in the United States.
  • Get tough on trade enforcement.
  • Create more jobs and make us more competitive by rebuilding America using half of the savings from ending foreign wars.

These proposals build upon the efforts already underway by the White House.

At the Department of Commerce, we support manufacturers in a multitude of ways:

Commerce's BEA Keeps its Finger on the Economy's Pulse

BEA logo

Throughout 2011, Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis, the agency charged with keeping a finger on the economy’s pulse, has been hard at work measuring an ever-changing economy. During the year the Bureau instituted new methodologies, new techniques, released new Web-based analytical tools, and made continual improvements to the national accounts to keep pace with the changing economy.  2011 proved to be a stronger year for the economy, for the performance of U.S. companies and the spending behavior of American consumers. Fortunately, there have been some improvements on all three fronts over the last year.  

BEA’s Four Big Numbers to highlight in 2011 are:

  • $15,180,900,000,000 (That’s $15 trillion). That’s the total size of the U.S. economy as of the 3rd quarter of 2011 on an annualized basis.
  • $1,977,400,000,000 (That’s $1.9 trillion).  That’s the value of corporate profits as of the 3rd quarter of 2011. Profits of corporations in the United States climbed to the highest level on record stretching back to 1947. 
  • 2.3 percent.  That’s the real growth rate of consumer spending in the 3rd quarter of 2011. Consumer spending, the goods and services which we all buy on a daily basis, accounts for roughly 70 percent of all economic activity in the United States. The growth rate is the fastest seen so far this year. Consumer spending on services–like haircuts, sports tickets and going out to bars and restaurants–grew by nearly 3 percent, the strongest pace since 2006. 
  • 15.6 percent growth in business investment in equipment and software. This rate of investment is at its strongest pace in a year, and this is crucial as these investments are critical in supporting economic recovery and driving growth.

Stolen Intellectual Property Harms American Businesses Says Acting Deputy Secretary Blank

Acting Deputy Secretary Blank joins Attorney General Holder and other Administration Officials at the kickoff event for the IP campaign “Counterfeits Hurt. You Have The Power to Stop Them.”

This afternoon, Acting Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank participated in an event at the White House to announce the Administration’s progress in cracking down on intellectual property (IP) theft crimes and the launch of a public education campaign intended to increase Americans’ knowledge of the threat these crimes pose to economic prosperity and public safety.  The campaign is entitled “Counterfeits Hurt. You Have The Power to Stop Them.

Counterfeit goods not only can cause harm to the safety of our families, but they also cause harm to our economy and to American businesses.  That’s because the success of the U.S. economy relies heavily on intellectual property; virtually every industry either produces IP or uses it. IP theft costs domestic industries an estimated $200 to $250 billion a year.  This robs American workers of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Only when American ideas and American inventions are protected, so that innovators receive the rewards from their creativity, can American business prosper and the American economy continues to   grow. It’s also important to remember protecting intellectual property has a multiplier effect, helping create jobs not only within the original firm that owns the IP but also within all the firms that it buys from and sells to.

The American Jobs Act: Personal Income and Tax Cuts

The American Jobs Act Cover

Today the Bureau of Economic Analysis released personal income and outlays for September 2011. Personal income increased $17.3 billion, or 0.1 percent, and disposable personal income increased $12.9 billion, or 0.1 percent. That number is helped by the tax cuts in the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 that cut social security withholding by 2 percentage points and that resulted in about $1000 per family per year in increased income.

Knowing that increasing personal income is vital to improving our economy, the President has proposed increasing this tax cut in his American Jobs Act. Under his proposal, the payroll tax cut would be extended to firms by cutting in half their payroll tax on the first $5 million in payroll. Next year, instead of paying 6.2 percent on their payroll expenses, firms would pay only 3.1 percent. The President’s plan would provide tax cuts for all firms, with focused relief on the 98% with less than $5 million in payroll.

For example, a construction firm with 50 workers earning an average of $50,000 a year – for a total payroll of $2.5 million – would receive a payroll tax cut of 3.1% of its total payroll, or about $80,000. The firm’s workers would receive an average tax cut of about $1,500 a year from the employee side payroll tax cut in the President’s plan.

Learn more about the President’s proposed American Jobs Act on the White House website.

Commerce Employees Saving Taxpayer Money

The BEA team with Secretary John Bryson and Acting Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank

Secretary Bryson and Acting Deputy Secretary Blank have recognized three Commerce teams that are improving customer service and saving taxpayer money.  Teams from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Census Bureau, and Department of Commerce Human Resources offices have received the Performance Excellence Award.

The Performance Excellence Award is distributed to teams that support the Secretary’s vision of an evolving department and continuously improve service delivery to the American public. Bryson hopes to establish the department as a role model for other federal agencies. In an effort to go the extra mile, process improvement teams are examining the department’s infrastructure to identify and remove inefficiencies.  As a result, processes are streamlined to enhance the administration and delivery of services to customers. Although the sector is very diverse, it is definitely possible to improve service delivery through department-wide collaboration.

Today, Bryson recognized three teams that have developed new processes to accelerate reduced costs and improve programs within their purview.

How You Can Analyze Federal Programs Using BEA Statistics: A Look at Unemployment Insurance Benefits Payments

Bureau of Economic Analysis logo

The national income and product accounts, produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), provide a consistent and comprehensive picture of the nation’s economy; as a result, they provide a useful tool for analyzing the economic effects of recent federal legislation designed to stabilize and stimulate the economy.   For example, it’s logical that reduced income tax rates and expanded tax credits lowered personal current tax receipts, but by how much? It makes sense that a reduction in the social security tax rate lowered contributions for government social insurance, but how do you put that reduction in context?  Or by how much did federal assistance to states increase over previous periods?  BEA’s national accounts can help you find the facts and answer these sorts of questions.

Here’s an easy and interesting example:   What government program explains the increase in government social benefits over the course of the recent recession? 

Data from the BEA show that total government social benefits, as a share of personal income, increased from 14.2 percent in the first quarter of 2008 to 18.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010. That’s a notable increase, but what’s behind those numbers?

BEA Computes that Rural America Personal Income Did Better than Urban America in 2009

Image of combine in a field (Photo: U.S. Census Bureau)

Guest blog post by Steve Landefeld, Director of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Off the top of your head, it probably seems obvious that the economies of America’s major cities differ structurally and behaviorally from our nation’s nonmetropolitan and rural areas, right? You are correct, indeed! But the really interesting question is, What can you learn about this from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis?  BEA measures our regional economies in several ways, including GDP by State, GDP by Metropolitan Area, State Personal Income, Metropolitan Area Personal Income and County Personal Income (AKA: Local Area Personal Income).

To understand the differences between the big, metropolitan areas and the rural parts of the country, your best bet is to turn to BEA’s Local Area Personal Income which details earnings in all 3,143 counties in the U.S.

Technically speaking, nonmetropolitan counties are those that are not part of a metropolitan statistical area, or MSA, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget.  Population in these counties is generally less than 50,000 people. There are 2,032 nonmetropolitan counties in the U.S., almost twice the number of metropolitan counties.  Of course, not all nonmetropolitan areas are rural, nor are all rural areas excluded from official designated metropolitan areas.  Another important consideration is commuting patterns, certainly plenty of Americans live in areas which may be rural, but drive into MSAs to work which intertwines these economies. (What, you thought we’d make it that easy?)

Tapping Experts to Improve Federal Statistics: The Federal Economic Statistics Advisory Committee

FESAC members with Acting  Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank

Guest blog by Robert Groves, Director, U.S. Census Bureau.

Major economic statistics tell us fundamental facts about the state of the economy – where we have been and how we are doing.  They allow citizens, businesses, and governments to assess how things are going.  Examples of such statistics include Gross Domestic Product (GDP), produced by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA); U.S. international trade in goods and services, produced by the U.S. Census Bureau; and the consumer and producer price indexes, produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  While each example statistic is issued by only one statistical agency, some – such as GDP - hit the statistical “trifecta” because they are built from data from all three agencies.

Keeping those statistics up-to-date and relevant to an ever-changing economy is central to the credibility of statistical organizations such as the Census Bureau, BEA, and BLS.  It is also a significant challenge for the agencies. We use many tactics and strategies to make sure our data are current and relevant.  Getting good advice from experts in relevant fields, through advisory committees, is one of those strategies.  Hearing about both the strengths and weaknesses of our data in an open and public setting is essential to improving our data and maintaining their credibility.

I am excited that we get advice from the Federal Economic Statistics Advisory Committee (FESAC).  FESAC advises the heads of the Census Bureau and BEA – both in the Department of Commerce – as well as the Department of Labor’s BLS. FESAC’s mission -- to recommend research to address important technical problems -- aims at improving exactly complex economic statistics relying on data from not just one, but two or three of these agencies. 

United States Department of Commerce Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations

This blog post is about an older plan. The United States Department of Commerce Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations at the end of FY 2013 is available here.

The current FY 2011 Continuing Resolution may expire without new budget authority. While it is not anticipated that there will be a lapse in appropriations, the Department must be prepared for a potential lapse in funding that would necessitate a significant reduction in operations.

Prior to a potential lapse in funding, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires the Department to submit a draft plan for agency operations in the absence of appropriations (a "shutdown plan"). This plan will likely be modified with additional guidance from the Office of Personnel Management and OMB, as the situation develops, and may be changed by the Department, as circumstances warrant.

This plan complies with the guidance provided by the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce.

Files

Commerce Department Supports Puerto Rico as part of President’s Interagency Task Force

Guest blog post by Rick Wade, senior adviser to Secretary Locke, deputy chief of staff, and member of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status

Today the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status submitted a report to President Obama and Congress that provides recommendations for addressing Puerto Rico’s political status and economic climate. The report identifies specific proposals for boosting economic development, building competitive industries, and improving the quality of life for the people of Vieques – a Puerto Rican island-municipality in the northeastern Caribbean.

These recommendations, along with plans for their implementation, follow two public hearings held in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., as well as meetings with island officials and other stakeholders to gather input directly from a broad cross section of voices on the issues of Puerto Rico’s status and economic development.

The report underlines the fact that Puerto Rico’s political status continues to be of great importance to its people. Its economy – like many others – has also faced significant challenges in recent years, driving the need for a greater focus on economic progress in the U.S. territory. Per capita income in Puerto Rico remains at less than one-third of that in the United States, due in part to its low employment rate and persistently low rate of labor force participation.

The U.S. Department of Commerce will be intensely involved in implementing the recommendations of the Task Force’s report. Six of the department’s 12 bureaus will lead projects in support of economic growth in Puerto Rico. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will help develop an interagency team that works to connect Puerto Ricans to broadband Internet. The International Trade Administration’s U.S. Export Assistance Center in San Juan will help Puerto Rico increase its exports. And the department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis will help Puerto Rico update its methodology for calculating gross domestic product so it aligns with U.S. standards and better captures economic conditions there.

September Marks the Fifth Consecutive Month of Double-Digit Travel and Tourism Export Growth

Graph of Change in U..S. Travel and Tourism-Related ExportsInternational travelers spent nearly $12 billion in the U.S. in September

According to newly released data from the Commerce Department, international visitors traveling to the United States pumped an estimated $11.7 billion into the U.S. economy during the month of September, up $1.7 billion compared to the same period last year.  This marks the fifth month of double-digit growth and ninth straight month of overall growth in U.S. travel and tourism exports.  Total travel and tourism-related exports have increased, on average, $1.2 billion a month in 2010. 

“Travel and tourism continues to be one of the bright spots in our economy,” Locke said.  “Continued growth in the tourism sector will help us achieve our goal of doubling exports over the next two years.” 

  • Travel Receipts: Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the United States totaled $9.0 billion during September, an increase of 15 percent when compared to last year. These goods and services include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, local transportation in the United States, and other items incidental to foreign travel. 
  • Passenger Fare Receipts: Fares received by U.S. carriers (and U.S. vessel operators) from international visitors increased by nearly 27 percent to $2.7 billion for the month, an increase of $575 million when compared to September 2009.

International visitors have spent an estimated $100 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services year to date (January through September), an increase of 11 percent when compared to the same period last year.

Americans have spent nearly $77.4 billion abroad year-to-date (up four percent)—resulting in a $22.6 billion trade surplus for travel and tourism through the first nine months of 2010.

Celebrating World Statistics Day, Oct. 20, 2010

The United Nations General Assembly designated Oct. 20, 2010, as the first-ever World Statistics Day to highlight the importance of official statistics and the many achievements of national statistical systems.  Statistical organizations throughout the world will celebrate World Statistics Day today at the national and regional level. The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis and 12 other principal federal statistical agencies together have been collecting statistics about the nation’s people, economy and society since the first national census in 1790. Check out the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features special edition on World Statistics Day. 



Census Facts for Features | Facts for Features en español | World Statistics Day videos

Statement from Secretary Locke on August 2010 U.S. International Trade

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the August 2010 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports in August 2010 increased by 0.2 percent to $153.9 billion from their July 2010 level. Imports in August increased 2.1 percent over July to $200.2 billion. U.S. exports so far in 2010 are up nearly 18 percent compared to the same period last year.  Report  |  Statement  |  Fact sheet

Statement From Secretary Locke on the Advance Estimate of Real GDP in the Second Quarter of 2010

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis today released the first estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2010.  Real GDP grew 2.4 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter, following a gain of 3.7 percent in the first quarter.  The annual revision to the national accounts increased the total fall in real GDP during the recession from 3.7 percent to 4.1 percent.  The economy has grown 3.2 percent from a year ago.  Statement

Report on Gross Domestic Product Statistics for Four U.S. Territories Released

Click for larger image. Pictured: Nikolao Pula, Director of the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior; Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; Pictured: Rebecca M Blank, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, U.S. Department of Commerce;  Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho, Northern Mariana Islands; Rep. Madeleine Bordallo, Guam; Rep. Eni Faleomavaega, America Samoa; Rep. Donna Christensen, Virgin Islands; Steve Landefeld, Director of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce.

The U.S. Department of Commerce released newly-developed Gross Domestic Product (GDP) statistics for American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The statistics are a product of a joint effort of the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Interior Department’s Office of Insular Affairs. Policy makers will now have an objective view of the size of these economies, their growth or contraction, and their major components in order to conduct economic-impact analysis on the effects of local and national policy decisions. (More)

Statement from Under Secretary Blank on March 2010 Personal Income and Outlays

Blank portrait.

Washington (May 3)—The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released personal income and outlays data for March 2010. Personal income increased 0.3 percent in March, and real disposable personal income rose 0.2 percent. Real personal consumption expenditures increased 0.5 percent in March. “Today’s personal income data, particularly the growth in employee compensation, indicates that the recovery is taking hold across America,” said U.S. Commerce Department Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank.” (More) (Release—PDF)

Secretary Locke Statement on Advance Estimate of Real GDP in the First Quarter of 2010

Department of Commerce seal.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis today released the first estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2010. Real GDP grew 3.2 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter, consistent with private-sector expectations. “With a third-straight quarter of growth, it’s clear America’s economy is turning around,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “But Americans remain rightly focused on their personal financial situations and jobs. Wall Street reform is an essential part of securing the future for our families and businesses. (More) (Release)

Secretary Locke Statement on February 2010 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the February 2010 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports in February 2010 increased by 0.2 percent to $143.2 billion from their January 2010 level. Imports in February increased 1.7 percent over January to $182.9 billion. (More) (Release) (Fact sheet)

Statement from Under Secretary Blank on Personal Income and Outlays in February 2010

Portrait photo of Under Secretary Blank.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis today released personal income and outlays for February 2010. Personal income and real disposable income were nearly unchanged in February. Real personal consumption expenditures increased 0.3 percent. “Today’s data indicate that, as the Administration’s economic recovery efforts have pulled us back from the brink and taken hold, American families have been able to save more and improve their financial positions,” U.S. Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank said. (More) (Release)

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

Department of Commerce seal.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released the third estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) for the fourth quarter of 2009. Real GDP grew 5.6 percent at an annual rate, nearly unchanged from the previous estimate of 5.9 percent. “As more fourth quarter data become available, it is evident that the administration’s efforts to promote economic recovery have helped create the conditions that lead to economic growth,” Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank said. (More) (Release)

Secretary Locke Statement on January 2010 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services

Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the January 2010 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports in January 2010 decreased by 0.3 percent to $142.7 billion since December 2009. Imports in January decreased 1.7 percent over December to $180.0 billion. (More) (Fact sheet) (Release)

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

Portrait of Blank.

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

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

Locke speaking from lectern.

File photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the December 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports in December 2009 increased by 3.3 percent to $142.7 billion since November 2009. Imports in December increased 4.8 percent over November to $182.9 billion. Total U.S. exports decreased by 15 percent to $1.55 trillion for 2009 from 2008. The final trade deficit for 2009 was $381 billion with total U.S. imports of $1.93 trillion. (More) (Release)

Secretary Locke Statement on Advance Estimate of GDP in the Fourth Quarter 2009

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The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released the advance estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) for the fourth quarter of 2009. Real GDP rose 5.7 percent at an annual rate, the second consecutive advance and the strongest increase since the third quarter of 2003. "Today's strong GDP showing represents important economic progress that must now be translated into new jobs," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. (More) (Release)

Secretary Locke Statement on November 2009 Trade in Goods and Services Report

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the November 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports increased by 0.9 percent to $138.2 billion since October 2009. Imports increased 2.6 percent to $174.6 billion. (More) (Fact Sheet) (Release)

Under Secretary Blank Locke Statement on November 2009 Personal Income and Outlays

Under Secretary Blank on podium.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis today released personal income and outlays data for November 2009. Personal income rose 0.4 percent, real disposable personal income increased 0.2 percent and real personal consumption expenditures advanced 0.2 percent. The saving rate in November was unchanged at 4.7 percent. “Consumer spending continues to expand in the fourth quarter of this year in sharp contrast with the declines a year ago,” said Commerce Department Under Secretary Rebecca Blank. (More) (Release)

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

Portrait of Blank.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released the third estimate of gross domestic product for the third quarter of 2009. Growth in real GDP was 2.2 percent at an annual rate, revised from the previous estimate of 2.8 percent. “The third-quarter gain marked the start of an economic recovery after a very deep recession,” U.S. Commerce Under Secretary Rebecca Blank said. “Consumer spending, residential construction and imports and exports have all moved from declines into positive growth in the third quarter.” (More) (Release)

Secretary Locke Statement on October 2009 Trade Numbers

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On the eve of his trip to Copenhagen, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the October 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports increased by 2.6 percent to $136.8 billion since September 2009. Imports to the U.S. increased 0.4 percent to $169.8 billion. The trade deficit shrank 7.6 percent to $32.9 billion from a revised $35.7 in September. (More) (Release) (Fact sheet)

Statement from Under Secretary Blank on October 2009 Personal Income and Outlays

Portrait of Under Secretary Blank.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis today released personal income and outlays for October 2009. Personal income rose 0.2 percent, real disposable personal income increased 0.2 percent, and real personal consumption expenditures advanced 0.4 percent. “Consumer spending began the fourth quarter with a favorable gain. Motor vehicles sales rebounded from their September fall after the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program ended, and other purchases increased as well,” said Commerce Under Secretary Rebecca Blank. (More) (Release)

Under Secretary Blank Statement on Second Estimate of Third Quarter GDP 2009

DOC seal.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis today released the second estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) for the third quarter of 2009. Real GDP rose 2.8 percent at an annual rate, down moderately from the advance estimate of 3.5 percent. Most private analysts had expected a revision to 2.7 percent in the third quarter. (More) (Release)

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

Portrait of Secretary Locke.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the September 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports increased by 2.9 percent to $132.0 billion since August 2009. Imports increased 5.8 percent to $168.4 billion. (More)

Commerce Secretary Locke Statement on Third Quarter GDP

Department of Commerce seal.

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released data on GDP in the third quarter. Real GDP increased 3.5 percent at an annual rate in the third quarter, after declining in five of the preceding six quarters. The gain marked the largest quarterly advance since the third quarter of 2007. (More) (Release)

Secretary Locke Statement on Trade Numbers

Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the August 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports increased by 0.2 percent to $128.2 billion since July 2009. Imports declined 0.6 percent to $158.9 billion. (More) (Release) (Fact Sheet)

Statement from Under Secretary Blank on August 2009 Personal Income and Outlays

Portrait of Under Secretary Blank.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released personal income and outlays for August 2009. Personal income rose 0.2 percent, real personal consumption expenditures jumped 0.9 percent, and real disposable personal income decreased 0.2 percent. “The recent growth in consumer spending along with the gains in housing activity, exports and industrial production suggest that the economy is beginning to expand after contracting in four consecutive quarters,” U.S. Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank said. (More) (Release)

Statement from Chief Economist Doms on Third Estimate of GDP

Portrait of Mark Dom.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis today released the third estimate of real gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2009. The drop in real GDP was revised modestly to 0.7 percent at an annual rate from the second estimate of 1.0 percent. Most analysts had expected a decrease of 1.2 percent. The modest revision primarily reflected an upward revision to non-residential fixed investment. “Today's revision of real GDP in the second quarter indicates that the economy has begun to stabilize,” Mark Doms, chief economist at the U.S. Commerce Department, said. (More) (Release)

Secretary Locke Statement on July 2009 Trade Numbers

Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the July 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports increased by 2.2 percent to $127.6 billion since June 2009. Imports increased 4.7 percent to $159.6 billion. (More) (Fact Sheet)

Statement from Under Secretary Blank on July 2009 Personal Income and Outlays

Blank portrait.

The U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis today released personal income and outlays for July 2009. Real personal spending increased 0.2 percent and personal income increased less than 0.1 percent, after decreasing 1.1 percent in June. “During the first half of the year, more than 95 percent of working families benefitted from tax relief under the Recovery Act, which has boosted Americans’ disposable income,” U.S. Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank said. “This increase has helped stabilize economic conditions in the wake of the worst economic environment in generations.” (Release)

Statement From Undersecretary Blank on Second Estimate of GDP in Second Quarter of 2009

Department of Commerce seal.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis today released the second estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2009. Real GDP declined at a 1.0-percent annual rate, unchanged from the advance estimate. Most analysts had expected a larger drop of 1.5 percent. “The economy’s better than expected performance in the 2nd quarter suggests that it is beginning to stabilize,” U.S. Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank said. (More) (BEA Release)

Secretary Locke Statement on Trade Numbers

Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the June 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports increased by 2 percent to $125.8 billion, which closely tracked the increase in imports, which rose 2.3 percent to $152.8 billion. The trade gap widened to $27 billion from $26 billion, better than analysts’ expectations. (More) (Release) (Fact Sheet)

BEA: Personal Income Growth for Metropolitan Areas Slows in 2008 Over 2007

Map of U.S. indicating percent change of personal income.

Personal income growth slowed in 2008 in most of the nation's metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), according to estimates released today by the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Personal income growth slowed in 322 MSAs, increased in 42, and remained unchanged in 2 MSAs. On average, MSA personal income grew 3.3 percent in 2008, down from 6.0 percent in 2007. Advance metropolitan area income estimates for 2008 are available interactively on BEA's Web site at www.bea.gov/regional/reis/ and select table AMSA. (More)

Commerce Secretary Locke Statement on 2nd Quarter GDP Numbers

Photo of Secretary Locke.

File Photo

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released data on GDP in the second quarter along with comprehensive revisions to the historical GDP data. Real GDP declined 1.0 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter, better than the private-sector expected drop of 1.5 percent. This decline is noticeably less than the larger decreases of 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 and 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2009. (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on Trade Numbers

Photo of Secretary Locke.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the May 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports increased by 1.6 percent to $123.3 billion since April 2009. Imports decreased 0.6 percent to $149.3 billion. The goods and services trade deficit has fallen to the lowest level in this decade. Overall, the trade deficit declined by 9.8 percent during the month. (More) (Fact Sheet)

Secretary Locke Statement on March 2009 Trade Numbers

Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the March 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports decreased by 2.4 percent to $123.6 billion since February 2009. Imports decreased 1.0 percent to $151.2 billion. Overall, the trade deficit grew 5.5 percent during the same time period. “Today’s numbers are better than many economists predicted, and it’s worth noting that the trade deficit is half of what it was in the first quarter of 2008.” (More) (Fact Sheet)

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Statement on Trade Numbers

DOC seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the February 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports increased by 1.6 percent to $126.8 billion since January 2009. Imports decreased 5.1 percent to $152.7 billion. Overall, the trade deficit shrank 28.3 percent during the same time period. (More)

BEA Sets Benchmark Highs in Organizational Assessment Survey

BEA logo.

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis ranked highest among all federal agencies participating in the 2008 Organizational Assessment Survey, conducted by the Office of Personal Management. BEA achieved the highest scores ever recorded on the survey in six key areas, including leadership and quality, innovation, and performance measures. Among the 23 agencies involved in the latest survey of organizational climate, BEA scored above the median in all areas. BEA produces some of the world’s most closely-watched economic statistics, including U.S. Gross Domestic Product. (Organizational Assessment Survey). (Summary Sheet)

BEA and Census Release Data on U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services

Department of Commerce seal.

The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce, announced today that total December exports of $133.8 billion and imports of $173.7 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $39.9 billion, down from $41.6 billion in November, revised. December exports were $8.5 billion less than November exports of $142.3 billion. December imports were $10.2 billion less than November imports of $183.9 billion. (More) (U.S. Export Fact Sheet)