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Blog Category: Data

Statement from Secretary Locke on August 2009 New Residential Construction

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The Commerce Department’s U.S. Bureau of the Census released data on new residential construction in August 2009. Permits rose 2.7 percent in August and have increased 16.3 percent from their low in April, after plummeting a total of 78.0 percent between September 2005 and April 2009. Starts have followed a similar pattern, increasing 1.5 percent in August. “The upturn in housing activity and the recent gains in retail sales and industrial production demonstrate considerable progress toward recovery. More stimulus spending in the coming months should help spread growth to other sectors of the economy,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. (More) (Release)

NOAA: Warmest Global Sea-Surface Temperatures for August and Summer

NOAA Visualization

The world’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest for any August on record, and the warmest on record averaged for any June-August (Northern Hemisphere summer/Southern Hemisphere winter) season according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The preliminary analysis is based on records dating back to 1880. NCDC scientists also reported that the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for August was the second-warmest on record, behind 1998. For the June-August 2009 season, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the third-warmest on record. (More)

Statement From Undersecretary Blank on August 2009 Retail Sales

Department of Commerce seal.

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau today released retail sales for August 2009.Retail sales rose 2.7 percent in August, well above the increase of 2.0 percent private analysts had expected. Motor vehicle sales jumped 10.6 percent, while sales excluding motor vehicles increased 1.1 percent, and sales excluding motor vehicles and gasoline rose 0.6 percent. These data come after four straight quarterly declines in retail sales. (Statement) (Census Release)

NIST Deploys Experts to Assist In California Fires

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The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has sent two experts to California to assist in collecting data on structural fire damage in the ongoing Los Angeles Basin fires, also known as the “Station” fire. This fire is a Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) fire, a type that is growing more prevalent as housing developments push into former wilderness areas. Fire researchers are working to understand WUI fire behavior and the effectiveness of current strategies for best reducing risks from such fires. (More)

NOAA Report Explains Sea Level Anomaly this Summer Along U.S. Atlantic Coast

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Persistent winds and a weakened current in the Mid-Atlantic contributed to higher than normal sea levels along the Eastern Seaboard in June and July, according to a new technical report from Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). After observing water levels six inches to two feet higher than originally predicted, NOAA scientists began analyzing data from select tide stations and buoys from Maine to Florida and found that a weakening of the Florida Current Transport—an oceanic current that feeds into the Gulf Stream—in addition to steady and persistent Northeast winds, contributed to this anomaly. (More)

Statement from Under Secretary for Economic Affairs on July 2009 New Home Sales

Portrait of Under Secretary Blank.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of the Census today released new home sales data for July 2009. Sales of new single-family houses rose 9.6 percent, a far stronger gain than the expected rise of 1.6 percent. Sales have risen 31.6 percent above their low in January of this year. “These new numbers are another sign that we have put the brakes on the worst economic downturn in generations,” U.S Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank said. (More) (July Residential Sales Release)

Who Are You? Mobile ID Devices Find Out Using NIST Guidelines

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A new publication that recommends best practices for the next generation of portable biometric acquisition devices—Mobile ID—has been published by Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Devices that gather, process and transmit an individual’s biometric data—fingerprints, facial and iris images—for identification are proliferating. Previous work on standards for these biometric devices has focused primarily on getting different stationary and desktop systems with hard-wired processing pathways to work together in an interoperable manner. But a new generation of small, portable and versatile biometric devices are raising new issues for interoperability. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces $40 Million in ARRA Projects to Support Efficient Marine Navigation and Create Jobs

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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke announced in Norfolk, Va. $40 million for critical hydrographic survey and chart projects across the United States that strengthen the economy, create jobs, and support safe and efficient marine commerce and trade. Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will allocate $32 million to utilize hydrographic surveying contractors to collect data in critical coastal areas which are used to map the seafloor and update nautical charts. (More) (Remarks)

Under Secretary Blank Statement on July 2009 Residential Construction Numbers

Portrait of Under Secretary Blank.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of the Census released data on new residential construction in July. Starts for single-family homes increased 1.7 percent, while overall permits to build privately-owned housing units declined 1.8 percent and housing starts decreased 1.0 percent. Despite the overall decrease, total permits have risen 12.4 percent from their low in April, after plummeting a total of 78.0 percent between September 2005 and April 2009. Additionally, total starts have increased 21.3 percent, after falling 78.9 percent from their peak in January 2006 to their low in April 2009. (More) (July Residential Construction Release)

NOAA: Warmest Global Ocean Surface Temperatures on Record for July

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The planet’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for July, breaking the previous high mark established in 1998, according to an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for July 2009 ranked fifth-warmest since world-wide records began in 1880. The July ocean surface temperature departure of 1.06 degrees F from the long-term average equals last month’s value, which was also a record. (More) (National Climatic Data Center) (June Analysis)