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

Blog Category: Economy

Driving Innovation and Economic Growth in West Virginia and Virginia

Erskine speaking from the podium

Guest blog post by Matthew S. Erskine, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

Today, I had the pleasure of joining U.S. Congressman Nick Rahall at Concord University in Athens, West Virginia to formally announce a major EDA investment to create a new EDA University Center in Southern West Virginia. Following the announcement, Congressman Rahall and I engaged in a roundtable discussion with regional businesses leaders to discuss strategies to foster local growth and increase regional competitiveness.

Congressman Rahall was instrumental in helping Marshall University, Concord University, and the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing partner and apply to join the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) University Center program–a competitive initiative that awards grants to universities across the country to help make the resources of these institutions available to the economic development community.

Congressman Rahall said, “Placing faith and funding in American higher education is nothing new. In fact, it has a proven track record that continues to be the envy of the world. Not only did our land grant colleges and universities usher in the greatest agricultural economy the world has ever known, the first G.I. Bill equipped the greatest generation with the tools that crafted the world’s largest economy. Our training grounds, workshops, research and product development revolve around an alliance of business, industry and universities.”

NIST: Presidential Memorandum Outlines Commerce's Role in Speeding Tech Transfer

Young scientist works on a collaborative project

Accelerating innovation is the key to creating more high-wage jobs. And the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will play a significant role in helping federal labs and U.S. industry speed up the innovation process under a new Presidential Memorandum issued Oct. 28.

Through its existing role coordinating the Interagency Workgroup on Technology Transfer, NIST will help lead agencies with federal laboratories to develop plans that establish performance goals to increase the number and pace of effective technology transfer and commercialization activities in partnership with non-federal organizations. The group also will be responsible for recommending opportunities to improve technology transfer from federal labs and for refining how tech transfer is defined, to better capture data on all of the ways it happens.

NIST will coordinate development and analysis of appropriate metrics and will continue to report and analyze results through its annual report on technology transfer, which covers 11 federal agencies.

NIST has had its own success transferring technology, for example, one licensed technology is helping build a new confinement structure at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and another is treating heart arrhythmias and uterine conditions—and generating millions of dollars in revenue for the licensee. Free software from NIST, Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES), is helping architects, engineers and the construction industry select environmentally-preferred and cost-effective products.

Read more about NIST’s role in tech transfer in the latest issue of TechBeat.

Pushing for Progress in the Middle East and North Africa

(Photo: ©  WEF)

Guest blog post by Francisco J. Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Secretary, Department of Commerce

Recent events have reaffirmed just how extraordinary this period is for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).  The Arab Spring has generated a lot of hope for people across the region. However, it’s also presented a number of questions that need to be answered, many of which center around economic issues like unemployment and slow growth. 

As the World Economic Forum (WEF) put it, “Recent shifts in the Arab world, coupled with an economic contraction at the global level, have created renewed urgency for decision-makers across the region to address the unfolding economic situation.”

So, it’s fitting that, this past weekend, King Abdullah of Jordan hosted a WEF event to address job creation. World leaders gathered to discuss pressing issues including the advancement of youth and women, the impact of social media, and, of course, U.S.-Arab relations.

EDA: Working with the Private Sector to Create Jobs

NASVF logo

Guest blog post by by John Fernandez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, Department of Commerce

The Obama administration is collaborating with the private sector in an unprecedented way to promote American innovation, ignite entrepreneurship, and spur small business development to get the economy moving and put people back to work.

And we are seeing results. Private sector payrolls increased by 137,000 in September. And despite a slowdown in economic growth from substantial headwinds experienced throughout the year, the economy has added private sector jobs for 19 straight months, for a total of 2.6 million jobs over that period. While the economy is growing modestly, we understand that it is not fast enough for Americans who are struggling to make ends meet.

That is why it is more important than ever for the federal government to work with industry to create new jobs.

Acting Secretary Blank Delivers Keynote Address at League of Wisconsin Municipalities Conference, Discusses American Jobs Act

Touring: Palermo President & Ceo Fallucca, Blank and Mayor Barrett

Blank also toured Palermo’s Pizza with Mayor Barrett and met with local business leaders as part of White House Business Council outreach effort

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank traveled to Milwaukee today to deliver the keynote address at the 113th League of Wisconsin Municipalities Annual Conference to discuss the American Jobs Act–how it will spur economic growth, accelerate job creation and benefit Wisconsin.  The League is a nonprofit and nonpartisan association of cities and villages that serves as an information clearinghouse, advocacy organization and legal resource for Wisconsin municipalities; it is comprised of 190 cities and 392 villages.

At the Conference, Blank discussed details of President Obama’s American Jobs Act.  Blank highlighted the different ways the plan would make an immediate impact on job creation: cutting taxes for small businesses, putting more money in the pockets of consumers through an expanded payroll tax cut, and preventing the layoffs of teachers, firefighters and policemen, while putting construction workers to work through much-needed renovations to school, roads, rail and airports renovations. Blank underlined the need for Congress to act quickly on the bipartisan measures in the Jobs Act.

“Outside experts say the American Jobs Act would put nearly two million people to work, while putting more money in the pockets of workers and repairing infrastructure vital to enhancing America’s competitiveness,” Blank said. “It’s time for Democrats and Republicans in Congress to come together and swiftly pass the measures in the Jobs Act, which will put people back to work right away and put more money in the pockets of American families.”

Earlier in the day, Blank joined Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on a tour at Palermo’s Pizza, a rapidly growing regional company that added almost 100 jobs last year and is leading the “Earn to Learn” program with the Mayor’s Office, which gives high school-aged youth a chance to develop marketable skills through direct work experience and training seminars. 

Our Biotech Trade Mission in China: Developing Prosperous Partnerships

Sánchez, officials at DiaCarta signing ceremony

Guest blog post by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary for International Trade, International Trade Administration

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step.”

That’s a proverb I learned during my recent trip to China, where I led a delegation of 19 U.S. biotech companies on a trade mission. Today marked the end of our journey. But, I’m confident that the steps we took will help these firms generate new opportunities in the region.     

As I get ready to depart, I’m struck by the huge possibilities in the country. China’s biotech sector is growing roughly 25 percent a year. Its market is huge in terms of sales and clinical trial opportunities, as well as potential investment. And, China’s enormous consumer base and impressive economic growth further reinforce the importance of the market for U.S. firms.

The American Jobs Act: Preventing Teacher Layoffs and Keeping First Responders on the Job

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the American Jobs Act at West Wilkes High School in Millers Creek, North Carolina, Oct. 17, 2011 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This morning’s USA Today noted that budget cuts claim hundreds of thousands of county and city jobs due to shortfalls in local sales and property taxes. Each of these layoffs hurts the local community. Those laid off don’t spend at local businesses and they don’t purchase local services. That’s the crux of Ezra Klein’s case for rehiring public workers and why the President has put forth his American Jobs Act, to provide communities with some support while the economy gains speed.

Today President Obama is traveling to North Carolina and Virginia talking about his plan to put Americans back to work and keep teachers and emergency responders on the job. He urged Congress to pass his proposal to provide funding to prevent teacher layoffs and keep police officers and firefighters on the job. The American Jobs Act includes $30 billion in teacher stabilization funds which will support state and local efforts to retain, rehire, and hire educators as well as $5 billion for first responders.

In the afternoon, the President will travel to Greensville County High School in Emporia, Virginia. Virginia would receive more than $740 million of the $30 billion included in the American Jobs Act to prevent teacher layoffs, which would support 10,800 jobs across the Commonwealth. Greensville County Public Schools would receive an estimated $1.6 million of this funding for teacher jobs. Greensville County High School has lost six teachers over the last three years due to budget cuts and is at risk of losing additional teachers next year.

See how your state would benefit under the American Jobs Act.

Commerce and Transportation Departments Forge Partnership to Boost Domestic Manufacturing Across America

NIST logo

Partnership will help revitalize the domestic railway manufacturing sector, support Obama Administration’s historic investments in transportation and create jobs

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank today announced a partnership to encourage the creation of domestic manufacturing jobs and opportunities for U.S. suppliers through transportation investments. 

The Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) will help to ensure manufacturers meet the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) strict “Buy America” and “Buy American” standards, connecting U.S. manufacturers and suppliers for work on highways, railways and transit projects, and in the process help to create jobs.

“Investment in transportation is a critical piece of President Obama’s American Jobs Act,” said Secretary LaHood.  “Not only are we improving how we move people and goods, but we are strengthening our economy by providing opportunities for American companies and their employees to build our transportation system here at home.”

With a network in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, MEP serves more than 34,000 American suppliers, helping them to retool their manufacturing capabilities to meet demand, compete in the global marketplace and sell American-made products all over the world. 

“This initiative is a win for workers and communities across America,” said Acting Secretary Blank. “The Manufacturing Extension Partnership will connect U.S. manufacturers and suppliers with hundreds of millions of dollars in upcoming highway, railway, and airport projects, providing new job opportunities in every corner of the country.”

MEP will leverage over 1,300 expert manufacturing assistance field staff in over 350 locations to provide knowledge of local manufacturing capabilities from across the nation. MEP will identify suppliers’ production and technical capabilities to match them up with viable business opportunities that may have otherwise gone to foreign suppliers, ensuring maximum economic benefit for taxpayer-funded transportation investments across all modes.

Acting Secretary Blank Visits Newark One-Stop Career Center with Mayor Cory Booker, Highlights American Jobs Act

Acting Secretary Blank, Mayor Booker and Director Nelida Valentin at One-Stop Center, Newark (Photo: office of Mayor Booker

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank joined Newark Mayor Cory Booker today for a visit to the Newark One-Stop Career Center, a city program that connects residents to career opportunities, provides vocational training and offers continuing education services that aim to meet the needs of both employers and job seekers.  The program is operated by the Newark Mayor’s Office of Employment and Training.

In her remarks, Blank said, "Outside experts say the American Jobs Act would put nearly two million people to work, while putting more money in the pockets of workers and repairing infrastructure vital to enhancing America’s competitiveness,” Blank said. “It’s time for Democrats and Republicans in Congress to come together and swiftly pass the measures in the Jobs Act, which will put people back to work right away and put more money in the pockets of American families.”  Release  |  Remarks

The American Jobs Act: Full of Bipartisan Ideas

View of Joint Session from birds-eye view (White House photo)

The American people understand that the economic crisis and the deep recession weren’t created overnight and won’t be solved overnight. The economic security of the middle class has been under attack for decades. That’s why President Obama believes we need to do more than just recover from this economic crisis—we need to rebuild the economy the American way, together, based on balance, fairness, and the same set of rules for everyone from Wall Street to Main Street. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle should lend their bipartisan support for the American Jobs Act—because it is full of bipartisan ideas.   White House fact sheet and overview