Commerce.gov is getting a facelift soon. See the new design.
Syndicate content

Blog Entries from 2011

Census Report Reveals Shifts in State Populations, Texas Gains Most

Alternate TextMap of U.S. showing population shifts

First population estimates since 2010 show slowest national growth since the 1940s

A new report from the Commerce Department's U.S. Census Bureau reveals that the United States population grew to 311.6 million between April 1, 2010 and July 1, 2011, an increase of 2.8 million. This marks the lowest overall growth rate for the U.S. since before the baby boom, according to Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. “Our nation is constantly changing and these estimates provide us with our first measure of how much each state has grown or declined in total population since Census Day 2010.”

The report shows that Texas gained more people than any other state during the Census period (529,000). Other fast-growing states included California (438,000), Florida (256,000), Georgia (128,000) and North Carolina (121,000). Combined, these five states accounted for slightly more than half the nation’s total population growth. California remained the most populous state, followed by Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois. While the District of Columbia experienced the fastest growth, with a population climbing by 2.7 percent, Rhode Island, Michigan and Maine each saw a decrease in total population. The Census Bureau will release 2011 estimates of the total population of counties and incorporated places beginning in 2012.  Census release  |  Comunicado de prensa en español

Protecting Personal Computers at Start-Up: NIST Offers Guidelines

A new draft computer security publication from Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides guidance for vendors and security professionals as they work to protect personal computers as they start up.

The first software that runs when a computer is turned on is the "Basic Input/Output System" (BIOS). This fundamental system software initializes the hardware before the operating system starts. Since it works at such a low level, before other security protections are in place, unauthorized changes—malicious or accidental—to the BIOS can cause a significant security threat.

"Unauthorized changes in the BIOS could allow or be part of a sophisticated, targeted attack on an organization, allowing an attacker to infiltrate an organization's systems or disrupt their operations," said Andrew Regenscheid, one of the authors of BIOS Integrity Measurement Guidelines. In September, 2011, a security company discovered the first malware designed to infect the BIOS, called Mebromi. "We believe this is an emerging threat area," said Regenscheid. "These developments underscore the importance of detecting changes to the BIOS code and configurations, and why monitoring BIOS integrity is an important element of security." NIST release

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.

The International Trade Administration’s Four Big Numbers for 2011

New York Harbor

This has been a very eventful year for the International Trade Administration (ITA). We are very proud of our efforts to improve the lives of our fellow Americans. We have accomplished a great deal by working diligently on the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI) goal of doubling exports by the end of 2014, supporting well-paying jobs tied to exporting, helping U.S. service companies find new markets, and pursuing new venues for U.S. companies to connect with overseas buyers.  While we have plenty to be proud of, we have compiled our Four Big Numbers to highlight our biggest successes.

  • 25 – The percentage of growth in exports since the launch of the National Export Initiative in January 2010. Just in 2011, we’ve seen six record-breaking months of exports (Jan, March, April, July, Aug and Sept). This is a trend that will continue as long as American companies are finding buyers and partners in markets such as Brazil, India, Korea, and Russia.
  • 9.2 million – The number of jobs supported by U.S. exports in 2010. This represents seven percent of total non-farm employment in the United States. Additionally, exports contribute, on average, an additional 18 percent to workers’ earnings in the U.S. manufacturing sector.
  • $148.1 billion – Our U.S. trade surplus in services through October 2011. In dollar terms, through the first ten months of 2011, growth of U.S. services exports are double the growth of our services imports. Through October, services exports are up 10.6 percent or $48.2 billion from the same period last year. In 2010, travel and tourism accounted for 26 percent of our services exports and business, professional, and technical services combined for 24 percent.
  • 15,555 – The number of foreign buyers who traveled to the United States to participate in 35 designated International Buyer Program (IBP) trade shows. The IBP recruits thousands of qualified foreign buyers, sales representatives, and business partners to attend U.S. trade shows each year, giving exhibitors excellent opportunities to expand business globally.

2012 looks like another great year for ITA. Moving forward with the newly approved trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea will open new opportunities for U.S. businesses to export. Stay on top of the latest and greatest from ITA and learn about what we have planned and how we can help you improve your business with these programs by visiting www.trade.gov.

Secretary Bryson: "Build it Here, Sell it Everywhere"

Bryson, gesturing during Chamber remarks, on podium (photo: U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson today laid out his vision for how the Department of Commerce can best partner with the business community to support the president’s jobs agenda at a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In his remarks, Bryson outlined his top three priorities to help American businesses "build it here and sell it everywhere," focusing on supporting advanced manufacturing, increasing our exports, and attracting more investment to America from all over the world. The former Chairman and CEO of Edison International, Bryson also served as a director on the boards of Boeing and the Walt Disney Company, and as a senior advisor to the private equity firm KKR, and he spoke about his experiences in the private sector and how the Department of Commerce is uniquely situated to support job creation.

“At the Commerce Department, we aren’t waiting to act. . . .We have a major role to play at this critical time to support job creation in America. We have an array of tools to help make our businesses more innovative, more efficient, and more competitive around the world,” he said. “I want to know how this administration and the Commerce Department can best help you. From these conversations, my discussions with the president and my own personal experience, I will prioritize one simple imperative. . . to help American businesses build it here and sell it everywhere.”

The Secretary's remarks at the Chamber marked his first major address, laying out his vision for the Department, focusing on manufacturing, exports and investing in America. Read about the new or recently announced Commerce Department initiatives to support these prioritiesPress release  |  Remarks | Video

Secretary Bryson Delivers His First Major Address Laying Out His Priorities for the Department

As part of the Obama administration’s ongoing efforts to spur job growth, Commerce Secretary John Bryson will lay out his priorities for the Department, including initiatives related to trade, manufacturing and increasing investment in the United States.

An experienced private sector leader, Bryson led Edison International as Chairman and CEO for 18 years. He also served on the boards of Boeing and Disney and as a senior adviser for the global private equity firm KKR. In little more than a month in office, Secretary Bryson has led trade talks with China to help level the playing field for American companies and workers and has reached out to numerous CEOs, including meeting with the Steering Committee of the President’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership.

Read his complete remarks on how American businesses can Build it Here. Sell it Everywhere.

Building a Weather-Ready Nation

Luchenco on-screen video conference

This week, the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) kicked-off a national dialogue to improve our nation’s readiness for extreme weather. At the Weather-Ready Nation: A Vital Conversation workshop, held in Norman, Okla., participants assessed why the nation has become more vulnerable to severe weather and identified ways to improve the public’s awareness, preparedness and response to future extreme events.

More than 1,000 lives have been lost this year to extreme weather, including about 550 from tornadoes. And the economic losses are equally staggering—at least 12 separate weather disasters, each with $1 billion or more in economic losses.

These impacts moved NOAA’s National Weather Service to launch an initiative called Weather-Ready Nation. The goal is to improve America’s readiness for weather events and save more lives and livelihoods. The Norman event is the first in a series of Weather-Ready Nation activities to be held across the country.

Census Bureau Releases New Race and Ethnic Demographic Information from the 2010 Census

Census Bureau Releases New Race and Ethnic Demographic Information from the 2010 Census

The U.S. Census Bureau today released the first in a series of new, detailed demographic information from the 2010 Census for up to 331 different race and ethnic groups down to the census tract level for Nevada and New Mexico. Data for remaining states will be released on a rolling basis through April, 2012. National level data will be released in May.

These Summary File 2 tables add a new layer of detail to the population and housing topics released earlier this year from the 2010 Census. Information, such as age, relationship and homeownership, previously available only for an area's entire population is now available for specific race and ethnic groups in that community.

Each Summary File 2 table is presented for up to 331 population groups. These include iteration groups for the total population, race alone groups, race alone or in combination groups, multiple-race combinations, American Indian and Alaska Native tribal groupings, detailed Asian groups, detailed Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander groups, detailed Hispanic groups, and race/Hispanic groups. Release

Secretary Bryson Promotes U.S.-Iraq Trade Opportunities at U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Bryson, al-Maliki promote trade (photo: U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

Today, Commerce Secretary John Bryson delivered remarks at a luncheon hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce honoring Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Washington. In his remarks, Secretary Bryson pointed out a variety of resources available to U.S.businesses already in place to encourage and create ongoing trade and investment in a new area of relations between the two countries. These include the U.S.–Iraq Business and Investment Conference, Commerce-led trade missions to Iraq, the Iraq Task Force and Commerce’s Advocacy Center.

Commerce's Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez led a historic business development mission to Baghdad in October, 2010. The trade mission brought together representatives from 14 U.S. companies with key Iraqi public and private sector decision-makers, including nearly 200 match-making meetings, to pursue investment and sales opportunities. The Department of Commerce had key involvement at the Baghdad International Trade Fair. There, the U.S. participated for the first time since 1988, showcasing 85 American businesses and organizations at the U.S. Pavilion–the largest foreign presence at the event.

“Working together we can continue to strengthen ties between our nations’ business communities," Bryson said. "For example, on Wednesday, we are facilitating a match-making event for U.S. firms to meet with the Iraqi companies visiting Washington with the Prime Minister. . . .  And, of course, we will continue working through the U.S.-Iraq Business Dialogue and with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.-Iraq Business Council, as Iraq continues to emerge as a promising market in the region.”

Al-Maliki highlighted the growing commercial ties with the United States and called for the U.S. business community to seize the investment and trade opportunities available in Iraq. Iraq is a promising and important emerging market–one that’s set to grow faster than China–and has needs that encompass everything from infrastructure to small consumer goods. Last year, Prime Minister al-Maliki announced Iraq’s five-year National Development Plan. The plan includes more than 2,700 projects worth about $186 billion and is aimed at diversifying Iraq’s economy away from oil. Meeting those needs can help create jobs here in the U.S.

Commerce Secretary John Bryson Hosts Sixth Meeting of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Commerce Secretary John Bryson Hosts Sixth Meeting of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Commerce Secretary John Bryson hosted the sixth meeting of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) today at the Commerce Department. The Council advises Bryson and the administration on key innovation and entrepreneurship issues and supports President Obama's innovation strategy by helping to develop policies that foster entrepreneurship and identify new ways to take great ideas from the lab to the marketplace to drive economic growth and job creation. Council members include successful entrepreneurs, investors, and university and non-profit leaders.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship fuel America’s economy. It’s what enables our businesses to create new products and services and generate good, well-paying jobs,” Bryson said today. “That is my foremost priority as Secretary of Commerce. I want the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship to help this administration develop policies that support the innovation we need to keep the U.S. competitive.” 

Bryson called on the NACIE council members to help develop policies that support the innovation needed to keep the U.S. competitive. Since its creation, NACIE has focused on key issues such as improving the commercialization of university research and access to capital to enable entrepreneurs and businesses to turn innovations into new products, new companies and new jobs. Bryson also wanted to discuss how the Department of Commerce can better leverage the expertise of the group and how to enable NACIE to take a broader role in public participation and thought leadership. Speech