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Blog Category: Economy

Statement From Undersecretary Blank on Second Estimate of GDP in Second Quarter of 2009

Department of Commerce seal.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis today released the second estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2009. Real GDP declined at a 1.0-percent annual rate, unchanged from the advance estimate. Most analysts had expected a larger drop of 1.5 percent. “The economy’s better than expected performance in the 2nd quarter suggests that it is beginning to stabilize,” U.S. Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank said. (More) (BEA Release)

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

Captain Barnum and Secretary Locke on pier. Click for larger image.

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)

Locke Travels to Massachusetts, Highlights Administration Commitment to Economic Recovery, Focus on 2010 Census

Secretary Locke with technician at Cambridge Innovation Center. Click for larger image.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke traveled to Massachusetts to highlight the Obama administration’s efforts to turn around the economy by supporting innovation and spurring clean energy job growth. In Cambridge, Locke held a town hall meeting with local business leaders and toured the Cambridge Innovation Center, as well as the Genzyme Corp. headquarters building, designed in an environmentally friendly way. In the evening, Locke addressed the annual national convention of the Asian American Journalists Association in Boston, focusing on the 2010 Census and its profound effects on the future of U.S. residents and communities. (Remarks)

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Visits Tampa for Town Hall and NABJ Convention

Locke speaking before audience with Census 2010 logo.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Tampa today to hold a town hall meeting on trade and discuss the 2010 Census at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Annual Convention. The town hall was held at the Tampa Port Authority, where Locke and local business leaders addressed the Department’s trade priorities and the administration’s commitment to grow U.S. exports across the economy. At the NABJ convention, Locke emphasized the importance of Census participation and the critical role journalists can play increasing awareness about the decennial count. (Remarks)

Dennis F. Hightower Confirmed as Deputy Secretary of Commerce

Image of flag flying from facade of U.S. Department of Commerce's Herbert Clark Hoover Building

The U.S. Senate confirmed Dennis F. Hightower as Deputy Secretary of Commerce by unanimous consent. Hightower, a seasoned business executive with a 40-year career in the public and private sectors, takes over general management of the Department of Commerce, an organization with nearly 38,000 employees and an operating budget of over $17 billion. “I am grateful to the Senate for moving quickly to confirm Dennis Hightower, and I’m thrilled to have him on board.” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “His management expertise and strong leadership skills will be a valuable asset to the Commerce team as we work to make American businesses more competitive and strengthen the economy. (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on July Unemployment Numbers

Secretary Locke on podium.

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on today’s release of the July 2009 unemployment numbers by the Labor Department. The report showed that the jobless rate dropped to 9.4 percent from 9.5 percent. "Today's news that the rate of job loss is declining is a welcome sign that our economy is no longer in freefall. But we know that millions of families are still struggling. A 9.4 percent unemployment rate remains unacceptable, and this administration will not be satisfied until people are getting back to work.” (More)

Locke Announces $45 Million in Grants to Accelerate Manufacture and Deployment of Next-Generation Batteries, Vehicles

Photo of Locke and officials at event. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced three grants to accelerate the manufacturing and deployment of the next generation of U.S. batteries and electric vehicles in America. Ten million dollars will go to Smith Electric; $30 million to Ford Motor Company; and $5 million to Missouri University of Science and Technology. These grants are part of 48 new advanced battery and electric drive projects President Obama announced today that will receive $2.4 billion under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and create tens of thousands of new jobs. (More) (Grants Announcement) (President’s Remarks)

Statement From Undersecretary Blank on Housing Permits and Starts for June 2009

Department of Commerce seal.

The Department of Commerce's U.S. Census Bureau today reported that permits to build privately-owned new housing units rose 8.7 percent in June 2009, well above the expectation for a 1.9-percent rise. Housing starts rose 3.6 percent, better than the expectation of no change for the month. Today’s stronger numbers reflect an increasing confidence—the percent of households who recognize that this is a good time to buy a house has risen over the last year. While the economic environment remains challenging, continued Recovery Act investment into the economy should encourage growth in a range of industries including the housing sector. (Statement)

Secretary Locke to Accompany President Obama to Russia

File photo portrait of Secretary Locke.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will travel to Moscow, July 6-8, in conjunction with the Presidential Summit Meeting between Presidents Obama and Medvedev. Locke will represent the administration at a private sector Business Summit where U.S. and Russian business leaders will present recommendations to expand bilateral commercial cooperation. This will be Locke’s first overseas trip as Secretary of Commerce. While in Moscow, he will meet with the Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina to discuss U.S.-Russian economic and commercial relations and Russia’s integration into the global economy. (More)

Under Secretary Blank Urges NALEO Officials to Make Your Voices Heard

United States Census 2010 logo. Click to go to Web site.

Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs, Dr. Rebecca Blank urged attendees of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) annual conference to help facilitate “equal access so everyone will participate in the 2010 Census.” “The Census is at the core of our democracy. It is not partisan, it is American—and it belongs to everyone living in America. It is about opportunity, equality and full representation, regardless of economic status, race or ethnic origin, “ Blank said at the annual conference entitled “Latinos and Census 2010: On the Brink of the Count.” (More) (NPR-Blank Interview)