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Blog Entries from 2011

Build It Here: American Manufacturing

During the course of our economic recovery since the end of the Great Recession in 2009, domestic manufacturing has been a star. In the past, manufacturing output and job growth have typically lagged behind the economy’s overall recovery in the United States. But this time, manufacturing has led the way.

Manufacturing activity expanded in January at its fastest pace in seven years, recording its 18th month of growth, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s January manufacturing index. As Commerce Department Chief Economist Mark Doms noted recently in his new blog, manufacturing jobs are associated with relatively high wages, hence the commonly used phrase “good jobs” in reference to those created in the industry.

In the video below, U.S. companies from a wide range of industries from health care to plastics talk about why they manufacture their goods in America. The United States offers a highly educated workforce, strong intellectual property protections, and a business climate that supports and encourages innovation. For ET Water, Labcon, Supracor and others, manufacturing in America just makes smart business sense.

See video

Secretary Locke Kicks Off New Markets, New Jobs Export Tour in Minneapolis

Locke on podium at tour event

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke traveled to Minneapolis, MN, today to launch the inaugural New Markets, New Jobs National Export Initiative Small Business conference.  Joined by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Locke discussed the importance of exports to America’s economic recovery and job creation, and the resources that the government is providing to connect small- and medium-sized businesses with foreign buyers in order to help them sell more overseas and hire more at home.

Announced on the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, New Markets, New Jobs is a year-long, interagency, multi-city outreach campaign designed to proactively bring government services to businesses across the country that are interested in exporting.  After Minneapolis, the tour will make stops in Los Angeles, Louisiana, and Wilmington, DE.  Remarks

NTIA Launches National Broadband Map

Image of interactive broadband map

Today Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) launched the first-ever public, searchable nationwide map of broadband access.  

The National Broadband Map is an unprecedented project created by NTIA, in collaboration with the FCC, and in partnership with each state, territory and the District of Columbia. The map was created at the direction of Congress, which recognized that economic opportunities are driven by access to 21st century infrastructure.

With funding from NTIA’s State Broadband Data & Development Program, state partners have gathered and worked to validate broadband data from thousands of providers across the country. Together, a dataset and website were developd that includes more than 25 million searchable records displaying where broadband Internet service is available, the technology used to provide the service, the maximum advertised speeds of the service, and the names of the broadband providers. Whether you are a consumer seeking more information on the broadband options available to you, a researcher or policymaker working to spur greater broadband deployment, a local official aiming to attract investment in your community, or an application developer with innovative ideas, the National Broadband Map can help.  And if you don’t find the answer you’re looking for on the map itself, you can download the entire dataset.  NTIA press release  |  Broadband map

Commerce Acting Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank Visits Department Campuses in Boulder

Acting Deputy Blank shown on tour with mechanical equipment

Acting Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank traveled to Boulder, Colorado this week to visit some of the department’s state-of-the-art facilities run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Her four-hour tour included stops at the nation’s time standard, NIST's F-1 Cesium Fountain Clock; the quantum devices group where NIST scientists study and make volt standards, photon detectors and quantum computing chips; the temperature, humidity and vibration controlled Precision Measurement Lab, under construction at NIST and due to be completed in the spring of 2012; and NTIA's radio, video and audio labs at the Public Safety Communications research facility.

At NOAA, Blank saw demonstrations of a unique visualization tool, Science on a Sphere; toured the Space Weather Prediction Center and the National Weather Service’s Forecast Research Center; viewed a demonstration of the wind profiler model; and visited the Global Monitoring Division and the Environmental Data Archive.

The cutting-edge work that takes place at the department impacts the daily lives of the American people – from the accurate timekeeping ability of the Atomic Clock to high-tech weather forecasting capabilities to the continuous improvement of communications devices used by first responders. The scientists and researchers at NIST, NTIA and NOAA are leaders in research and development and help to keep the United States at the forefront of innovation and global leadership.

Working with the Private-Sector to Enhance Cybersecurity

Howard Schmidt, Philip Reitinger, Dr. Patrick Gallagher

NIST Director Patrick Gallagher joined White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt, Philip Reitinger of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Michael Kaiser of the National Cyber Security Alliance at the RSA Conference in San Francisco this week to discuss the need for increased public-private collaboration in cybersecurity

Engaging an audience of several hundred people, the panel highlighted the value of cybersecurity education and discussed ways to increase government-industry collaboration in the face of increasingly sophisticated threats in cyberspace.

Collaboration "is critical to winning the future," Schmidt said. "From everyday users to specialists who tackle our most challenging questions, the goal is to get everyone pulling in the same direction."

The panel also addressed a new Obama administration initiative to make the online environment more secure and convenient – the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. To be led by the private sector with coordination by the Commerce Department, the effort aims to develop voluntary identity credentials that limit the amount of personal information consumers must share online. Consumers could use the credential – a smart card, digital software certificate in their cell phone or other technology – to prove their identity for sensitive online transactions like banking or checking health care records. For surfing the Web, blogging, or other activities, they could remain anonymous.

"At NIST, just about every activity is done in conjunction with the private sector," Gallagher said. "It is the way we do business."

 

 

The Commercial Service Will Find You the Perfect Partner this Valentine’s Day

U.S. Commercial Service Logo

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service can help businesses find their perfect match in each of more than 80 countries in just 15 business days. Our trained staff helps companies increase their sales by connecting them with strategic international partners through its International Partner Search.

It’s simple - companies provide background and marketing materials about what they do, and the Commercial Service uses its worldwide network and extensive contacts in the appropriate target markets to identify potential business opportunities. The result is a detailed description of up to five prequalified prospects. Working only with prequalified international partners that best meet each company’s business needs saves time and money. Commercial Service customers receive information on the marketability and sales potential of their products and services, as well as background on their prospective international partners.

For businesses that prefer face-to-face meetings, the Commercial Service offers the Gold Key Service, a tailored program where companies travel to a target business market and meet with potential agents, distributors, sales representatives, and other business partners. Before traveling, companies can get customized briefings by U.S. Commercial Service staff on industry sector market research and guidance with travel, accommodations, interpreter services, and clerical support. Following the trip, participants share their experiences with U.S. Commercial Service staff and together develop appropriate follow-up strategies. Businesses short on time also have the opportunity to use the Video Gold Key Service, which uses video conferencing in lieu of travel.

Ready to get started? Find your local Commercial Service specialist to schedule a meeting!

Commerce Department’s Proposed 2012 Budget

The Commerce Department’s proposed 2012 budget makes tough choices and reduces spending by $242 million, while making important investments that will help America out-build and out-innovate our economic competitors.With a proposed five-year, non-security discretionary spending freeze that will save $400 billion, President Obama’s budget reduces non-security, discretionary spending to its lowest percentage of the economy since President Dwight Eisenhower was in office.

Among the highlighted cuts and reductions:

  • $15.8 million from eliminating the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms program;
  • $37.3 million from eliminating EDA’s 21st Century Innovation Infrastructure program;
  • $20 million by restructuring the International Trade Administration to focus on high-priority markets and industries. This means eliminating a number of foreign posts, among other cost savings;
  • $43 million by eliminating the Emergency Steel Guaranteed Loan Program;
  • More than $2 million by reducing the reliance of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program on federal funding and shifting it to a private sector footing, and;
  • $20 million by eliminating the Public Telecommunications Facilities, Planning and Construction Program.

In addition to the program cuts mentioned above, the budget includes savings that result from reforming the way Commerce works – doing more, while spending less. That meant changing how the department handles acquisitions and logistics, such as shipping, to find places where it can leverage buying power; tightening the filling of vacancies to the highest priority positions and better using information technologies. All told, the proposed 2012 budget finds more than $140 million in administrative savings.

Successful Trade Mission to India Wraps Up Today

Secretary Locke Meets a Member of the Dabbawala Association Organization

After the final day in Mumbai, Secretary Locke and delegates from the 24 U.S. businesses who travelled to India on the six-day high-tech trade mission to India wrapped up their business.

Secretary Locke said, “This trade mission was a resounding success.  For some companies on our trip, ‘success’ was an initial meeting or consultation with Indian government or business leaders that will lead to deals down the road. For others, success was more immediate with some companies leaving India on the cusp of making multimillion dollar sales.  Either way, these companies have made important inroads into one of the most promising high-technology markets in the world.”

On Friday morning, Secretary Locke met with the executive committee of the U.S- India Importers’ Council, an initiative developed to support Indian companies that import goods and services from the United States.  The mission of this Council is to advance President Obama’s National Export Initiative, and to support the efforts of Indian companies that import products from the U.S.
 
Locke then visited Mumbai’s legendary Dabbawala Association organization to learn about their unique logistics operation that delivers home-cooked food to hundreds of thousands of people daily.  Association president Raghunath Medge provided Locke with an overview of the organization’s labeling and sorting methodology and the dispatch process. Dabbawala’s lunch delivery service has been cited as a model of entrepreneurship and supply chain management at the grass-roots level. In the afternoon, Locke engaged in multiple bilateral meetings with Indian officials.

India Trade Mission Has Been a Success for Pelican Products

Scott Ermeti, VP Marketing and International Business, Pelican

Guest blog post by Scott Ermeti, Vice President, Marketing and International Business at Pelican Products.

Ed note: Pelican Products is a manufacturer of watertight protective cases, submersible flashlights and ATEX certified torches.

We are nearing the end of Secretary Locke’s weeklong “India High Tech Business Development Mission” and by nearly all measures it has been a success for Pelican Products.  As a mid-sized American manufacturer of high-performance protective cases & packaging solutions and portable lighting equipment, it would have been very difficult for us to have received such a fine and rapid indoctrination to the Indian market elsewhere. 

Multiple meetings and presentations have educated us on the enormous opportunities that exist here:

  • The Indian “middle class” is made up of more than 300 million persons; larger than the entire U.S. population
  • The Indian economy is forecasted to grow at a rate of 7-9% for the next five years.
  • The Indian government is forecasted to spend:
    • $50 billion dollars in Aerospace and Defense improvements in the next five years
    • $1 trillion in infrastructure improvements such as roads, bridges, and airports in the next five years.
  • Currently manufacturing makes up only 16% of Indian GDP, but the goal is to increase that percentage to 25% over the next 10 years.

U.S. Census Bureau Launches Interactive Map of Local 2010 Census Data

2010 Census Redistricting Data Release by State

The U.S. Census Bureau has launched a new, interactive map that conveniently and easily displays local-level 2010 Census population counts. The application allows users to compare county-level population change from 1960 to 2010, as well as state-level data on race and Hispanic or Latino origin for 2010.
 
Last week, the rollout of detailed data began with the release of local population counts for Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia. This week, local data for Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland and Vermont are being released. For each state, the Census provides summaries of population totals as well as data on race, Hispanic origin, and voting age for multiple geographies within the state, such as census blocks, tracts, voting districts, cities, counties and school districts. The counts are being delivered on a state-by-state basis, and all states will receive their data by April 1.

As new data is released, the Census Bureau will update the map. Learn more about your state.