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Blog Category: Data

Under Secretary Blank Statement on New Residential Construction in January 2010

Department of Commerce seal.

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau today released data on new residential construction in January 2010. Housing starts rose 2.8 percent in January and permits decreased 4.9 percent. Starts have advanced 23.4 percent and permits have risen 24.7 percent above their April 2009 low point. “Despite the mixed performance at the start of the year, the outlook for growth in housing activity remains positive,” Commerce Under Secretary Rebecca Blank said. (More) (Release)

Secretary Locke Statement on January 2010 Retail Sales Numbers

Department of Commerce seal

The Commerce Department's U.S. Census Bureau today released retail sales data for January 2010. Retail sales increased 0.5 percent compared with an expected rise of 0.3 percent. Retail sales rose 7.6 percent at an annual rate in the fourth quarter, following a gain of 6.4 percent in the third quarter. (More) (Release)

NIST's Second 'Quantum Logic Clock' is Now World's Most Precise Clock

Image of clock compared to the size of a quarter. Click for larger image.

Physicists at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have built an enhanced version of an experimental atomic clock based on a single aluminum atom that is now the world’s most precise clock, more than twice as precise as the previous pacesetter based on a mercury atom. The new clock is the second version of NIST’s “quantum logic clock,” so called because it borrows the logical processing used for atoms storing data in experimental quantum computing, another major focus of the same NIST research group. (More)

NOAA, Google Join Forces to Visualize Scientific Data

NOAA logo. Click to go to NOAA home page.

NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and Google have signed a cooperative research and development agreement outlining how they will work together to create state-of-the-art visualizations of scientific data to illustrate how our planet works. Under the agreement, NOAA and Google plan to work together on research and development to join NOAA’s oceanographic, meteorological, biological, and climatological data with Google’s software capabilities. The wide availability of Google’s Internet tools has the potential to bring visualizations of NOAA data to new audiences around the world. (More)

NOAA: December Global Ocean Temperature Second-Warmest on Record

Image of the world's oceans.

The global ocean surface temperature was the second-warmest on record for December, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., and based on records going back to 1880. Scientists also reported the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the eighth-warmest on record for December. For 2009, global temperatures tied with 2006 as the fifth-warmest on record. Also, the earth’s land surface for 2009 was seventh-warmest (tied with 2003) and the ocean surface was fourth-warmest (tied with 2002 and 2004.) (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on New Residential Construction in December 2009

Department of Commerce seal.

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Bureau of the Census released data on new residential construction in November 2009. Permits rose 6.0 percent in November and starts increased 8.9 percent, in both cases exceeding market expectations. Permits have risen 17.3 percent above their low in April, and starts have advanced 19.8 percent above their April low point. These gains reflected increases in single-family activity, while multi-family starts have increased modestly. (More) (Release)

NOAA Produces Images of Haiti for First Responders

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A specially-equipped NOAA jet conducted aerial surveys of earthquake-stricken Haiti on Jan. 17 and 18 as part of the agency’s effort to help responders assess damage and plan recovery efforts. The aircraft is equipped with high-resolution digital cameras and other sensors that collect data vital to disaster response, scientific research and environmental resource management efforts. “NOAA maintains some of the nation’s premier emergency response services,” said Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “We are proud to be of service in offering experts and expertise to help the people of Haiti during this heartbreaking time.” (More) (Haiti Earthquake Relief Web site)

Secretary Locke Statement on December 2009 Retail Sales

Locke speaking from lectern.

File photo

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau released retail sales data for December 2009. Retail sales declined 0.3 percent, following strong monthly gains in October and November. Sales rose 7.0 percent at an annual rate in the fourth quarter, following a gain of 6.4 percent in the third quarter. “While the overall trend is in the right direction, today’s retail sales data show that we have more work to do,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. (More) (Report)

NOAA Ranks December Snowstorm a Category 3 on Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale

Graphic of snowfall accumulation from Dec. 18-21, 2009 storm. Click for larger image

To the surprise of no one affected by the Dec. 18-20, 2009 system that dumped heavy snow from the mid-Atlantic to southern New England, NOAA has rated the storm a Category 3 or “Major” winter storm on NOAA’s Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale, also known as NESIS. Topping the NESIS scale—and the only storms rated Category 5—are the “Superstorm” on March, 1993 followed by the “Blizzard of ’96” in January, 1996. The scale, developed in 2004, catalogues storms dating back to 1888. (More)

The 2009 Holiday Season

U.S. Department of Commerce Fourteenth Street main entrance with holiday wreaths and bows above doors. Click for larger image.

The holiday season is a time for gathering with friends and family to reflect and give thanks. At this time of year, the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau presents holiday-related facts and figures from its data collection, including the details about mail, retail sales, toys, trees and decorations and much more. The Census Bureau projects the nation’s population at 308 million as we ring in the New Year 2010. Happy Holidays from the U.S. Department of Commerce! (More)