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The Commerce Blog

Cities Across America Celebrate Census Day April 1 and Remind Residents to Mail Back Census Forms

Obama signing his form

White House photo

Communities nationwide are urging their residents to take 10 minutes today, April 1—Census Day—to fill out and mail back their 2010 Census forms if they haven’t already done so. As the official reference date for the once-a-decade civic ceremony, Census Day will serve as the point-in-time benchmark for the nation’s population count for the next 10 years. President Barack Obama recently signed and mailed in his Census form and today signed a presidential proclamation of Census Day. (More) (Census Day events—PDF) (Presidential proclamation)

Secretary Locke Explains Impact of New Health Care Legislation on Business

Portrait of Locke.

The Wall Street Journal today published an opinion piece by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on how reform of the American health care system will benefit businesses, helping them grow and become more competitive. “President Obama began his campaign to reform the American health-care system focused on three goals: protecting Americans' choice of doctors and health plans, assuring quality and affordable health care for all Americans, and reducing costs for families and businesses,” Locke wrote. (Opinion Editorial)

50th Anniversary of the Satellite that "Forever Changed Weather Forecasting"

One of the first satellite images. Click for a full version.

Fifty years ago today, the world’s first weather satellite lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and opened a new and exciting dimension in weather forecasting. Top leaders from Commerce’s NOAA and NASA hailed the milestone as an example of their agencies’ strong partnership and commitment to flying the best satellites today and beyond. The first image from the satellite, known as TIROS-1, was a fuzzy picture of thick bands and clusters of clouds over the United States. An image captured a few days later revealed a typhoon about 1,000 miles east of Australia. TIROS-1, a polar-orbiting satellite, weighed 270 pounds and carried two cameras and two video recorders. (More)

National Inventors Hall of Fame Has Sixteen New Members

Kappos prepares to bestow a medal on an inductee.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame has sixteen new members. At a ceremony held at the Department of Commerce, the 2010 Class was formally inducted. David Kappos, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, said during the ceremony that, “The 2010 Class of Inductees have collectively amassed 387 patents. Their innovations have saved millions of lives, improved the quality of life for countless others and transformed the way just about everyone on the planet communicates, navigates and entertains themselves.” (More) (Induction information)

Francisco J. Sánchez Sworn In as Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Hightower, Sanchez and scheduling assistant Jenna Pilat. Click for larger image.

Francisco J. Sánchez was sworn in today as Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade after receiving a recess appointment from President Obama. U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower administered the oath of office to Sánchez who will direct the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA). I’m pleased to have Francisco leading the International Trade Administration,” said Hightower. “As head of the International Trade Administration, Francisco will be on the front line as the Commerce Department spearheads the implementation of the President’s National Export Initiative.” (More) (Bio)

Francisco Sánchez and Eric Hirschhorn Named to Posts as Under Secretaries of Commerce

Commerce building exterior with U.S. flag.

Francisco J. Sánchez will direct the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration as Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, and Eric L. Hirschhorn will lead the Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security as Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration after receiving recess appointments from President Obama Saturday. Sánchez and Hirschhorn could serve in their jobs through the end of 2011, when the next Senate finishes its term, or until they are nominated and confirmed to their posts. (Sanchez release) (Hirschhorn release)

Statement from Under Secretary Blank on Personal Income and Outlays in February 2010

Portrait photo of Under Secretary Blank.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis today released personal income and outlays for February 2010. Personal income and real disposable income were nearly unchanged in February. Real personal consumption expenditures increased 0.3 percent. “Today’s data indicate that, as the Administration’s economic recovery efforts have pulled us back from the brink and taken hold, American families have been able to save more and improve their financial positions,” U.S. Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank said. (More) (Release)

USPTO to Hold Independent Inventors Roundtable and Webcast at Alexandria Headquarters

USPTO campus in Alexandria, Va.

David Kappos, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark will host a roundtable for independent and small entity inventors Monday, March 29 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. and held on the agency’s campus in Alexandria, Va. It will also be webcast live on www.uspto.gov. Kappos will make opening remarks and invite questions from the audience and those watching on the Web. The roundtable will address current issues of concern to the independent and small entity inventor community including patent reform legislation. Directions for logging on to the webcast will be posted on the homepage of the agency’s Web site the day of the roundtable. (More)

Under Secretary Blank Statement on Third Estimate of GDP in the Fourth Quarter 2009

Department of Commerce seal.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released the third estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) for the fourth quarter of 2009. Real GDP grew 5.6 percent at an annual rate, nearly unchanged from the previous estimate of 5.9 percent. “As more fourth quarter data become available, it is evident that the administration’s efforts to promote economic recovery have helped create the conditions that lead to economic growth,” Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank said. (More) (Release)

Deputy Secretary Hightower to Promote U.S. Innovation Agenda During Visit to Brussels

Portrait of Hightower

U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower is in Brussels to promote the president’s National Innovation Strategy as a key driver for sustainable growth and quality jobs. Hightower’s visit will focus on three key building blocks to encourage innovation: investment in research, development and technology capital; promotion of competitive markets, and support for national priorities in the clean energy, advanced vehicle technology and health care sectors. Today, he delivered remarks at a luncheon hosted by the American Chambers of Commerce. (Remarks)