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Back to School 2010-2011 Stats from Census

Image of front of yellow school busBy August, summertime is winding down and vacations will be coming to an end, signaling that back-to-school time is near. It's a time that many children eagerly anticipate—catching up with old friends, making new ones and settling into a new daily routine. Parents and children alike scan the newspapers and websites looking for sales to shop for a multitude of school supplies and the latest clothing fads and essentials. This edition of the Census Bureau's Facts for Features highlights the many statistics associated with the return to classrooms by our nation's students and teachers. Facts for Features.

NOAA: Second-Warmest July and Warmest Year-to-Date Global Temperature on Record

Map of U.S. temperaturesThe combined global land and ocean surface temperature made this July the second-warmest on record, behind 1998, and the warmest averaged January–July on record. The global average land surface temperature for July and January–July was warmest on record. The global ocean surface temperature for July was the fifth-warmest, and for January–July 2010 was the second-warmest on record, behind 1998.

The monthly analysis from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, which is based on records going back to 1880, is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides government, business and community leaders so they can make informed decisions.  Read more here

NOAA Reopens More Than 5,000 Square Miles of Closed Gulf Fishing Area

Map of Gulf WatersToday NOAA reopened 5,144 square miles of Gulf waters to commercial and recreational finfish fishing. The reopening was announced after consultation with FDA and under a reopening protocol agreed to by NOAA, the FDA, and the Gulf states.

Since July 3, NOAA data have shown no oil in the area, and United States Coast Guard observers flying over the area in the last 30 days have also not observed any oil. Trajectory models show the area is at a low risk for future exposure to oil and, most importantly, fish caught in the area and tested by NOAA experts have shown no signs of contamination.

“Consumer safety is NOAA’s primary concern, which is why we developed rigorous safety standards in conjunction with the FDA and the Gulf states to ensure that seafood is safe in the reopened area,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “We are confident that Gulf fish from this area is safe to eat and pleased that recreational and commercial fisherman can fish these waters again.”  Read more

Secretary Locke Announces $1.6 Billion in 2010 Census Savings

Secretary Locke gestures with his hands on podium

Effective public outreach campaign and careful management save taxpayer dollars

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced today that the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau is returning $1.6 billion in 2010 Census operational savings.

In the first full year of Census management by Obama administration officials and in a time of tightened federal resources, the Census came in 22 percent under budget. The savings occurred primarily because contingency funding set aside for disasters or major operational failures was not tapped and because the Census questionnaire mail-back response rate and workforce productivity across field operations both beat expectations.

In the years leading up to the 2010 Census, operations had been beset by a costly IT systems development. Upon taking office in 2009, Locke and Census Bureau Director Robert Groves heard warnings from Congress and Census watchdogs about the many high-risk operational challenges ahead and about the numerous systems failures in the years preceding the 2010 count. Importantly, response rates to surveys had been declining for years, and if that trend had held true for this decade’s census, it would have added hundreds of millions to the cost of the door-to-door follow-up effort.

“In early 2009, the 2010 Census was in need of top-notch operational and fiscal management,” Locke said. “The Census is a massive undertaking with great risk for operational problems and cost overruns. We appointed Dr. Groves to execute the 2010 Census with a directive to run a successful, non-partisan Census that counted everyone. Just as importantly, the President and I directed Dr. Groves to run a comprehensive review of the Census plan and find ways to cut costs and enumerate the population more efficiently. Over the last 17 months, we have worked tirelessly to ensure American tax dollars were being spent wisely.”  Read more   |  en español  |  RemarksWhite House blog  |  Census Director's blog

MBDA Unveils First U.S. Global Construction Program for Minority-Owned Firms

Secretary Locke with participants at National Press ClubProgram to provide minority-owned firms with education, mentoring and ability to compete for $1 billion in global construction procurement opportunities

U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower, Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), the International Trade Administration (ITA), the Tutor Perini Corporation, and the University of Southern California’s School of Policy, Planning and Development today announced the nation’s first program created to globalize the U.S. minority-owned construction industry by providing education, mentoring and procurement opportunities to minority-owned firms. Firms that complete the program will have the opportunity to compete for a minimum of $1 billion in Tutor Perini contracts, primarily international contracts, over a four-year period.

“This program could not be more relevant in today’s economy, where global competition is tougher than ever before,” said Hightower. “President Obama has set a goal of doubling exports over the next five years though his National Export Initiative and we need every stakeholder in America actively engaged in re-building our economy to create new jobs.”

An unprecedented public-private program spearheaded by MBDA, the Global Construction Program will prepare 150 high capacity, minority-owned and operated general contractors, subcontractors and suppliers to compete for construction opportunities worldwide. Participating firms will receive training, education and mentoring, as well as a new, broader source of contracting opportunities. Tutor Perini Corporation is one of the nation’s largest global construction conglomerates and a leader in supplier diversity within the construction industry. 

Pictured are Ralph Moore, President and CEO, Ralph G. Moore & Associates, Jennifer Grodsky, Executive Director, Federal Relations, University of Southern California,  Richard Rizzo, Executive Vice President, Tutor Perini Corporation, Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower, and MBDA National Director David Hinson.  Read more

Secretary Locke Announces $10 Million Investment in Louisa County, Iowa

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced a $10 million U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to Louisa County, Iowa, to help rebuild the Oakville Bridge and assure businesses that vital transportation routes will remain open in the event of future severe weather events.

“The 2008 floods severely impacted infrastructure in Iowa,” Locke said. “This EDA grant will ensure that an important link for regional commerce remains open during future floods, letting businesses continue to operate and workers continue to work.”

“These funds will not only create good paying jobs immediately, but also will spur economic development in the region for years to come,” said U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack. “Oakville has shown a steadfast commitment to flood recovery and response and these funds will help the community recover stronger and better than before.”  Read More

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Names New Members of Manufacturing Council

Image of members of 2010 Manufacturing CouncilToday on Capitol Hill, Secretary Locke announced his appointment of 24 members to the 2010 Manufacturing Council. The Council is directed by the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration and was established in 2004 and recently re-chartered. Locke was joined by members of the Senate Manufacturing Caucus, including Senators Debbie Stabenow (MI), Sherrod Brown (OH), Jeff Merkley (OR) and Tom Udall (NM). The Council advises the Secretary of Commerce on matters in the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector, and government policies and programs that affect U.S. manufacturers. The Commerce Department will schedule the Council’s first meeting in the coming weeks.

“A vibrant manufacturing sector isn't just critical for the millions of Americans whose jobs depend on it,” Locke said. “Manufacturing is absolutely central to driving the innovation that fuels the American economy.”

Manufacturing is a key industry in the revitalization of the U.S. economy and the growth of U.S. jobs. The United States is the world’s largest manufacturing economy, employing nearly 12 million Americans in the production of $1.6 trillion in manufactured products, representing 18 percent of the world’s manufactured goods.

President Obama’s Recovery Act included more than $100 billion dollars worth of grants, tax cuts and incentives devoted to manufacturing investments.  |  Remarks | Read more

NOAA Still Expects Active Atlantic Hurricane Season; La Niña Develops

Image of Hurricane Alex, the first named storm of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, hits northeast Mexico on June 30. From Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): The Atlantic Basin remains on track for an active hurricane season, according to the scheduled seasonal outlook update issued today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. With the season’s peak just around the corner – late August through October – the need for preparedness plans is essential.

NOAA also announced today that, as predicted last spring, La Niña has formed in the tropical Pacific Ocean. This favors lower wind shear over the Atlantic Basin, allowing storm clouds to grow and organize. Other climate factors pointing to an active hurricane season are warmer-than-average water in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean, and the tropical multi-decadal signal, which since 1995 has brought favorable ocean and atmospheric conditions in unison, leading to more active seasons.  Read more here

Secretary Locke Visits Kennedy Space Center Lab, Meets with Displaced Workers on Florida's Space Coast

Phot of Locke in labSecretary Locke visited Florida’s Space Coast today to tour a world-class laboratory at Kennedy Space Center and meet with displaced workers to discuss what the Obama administration, the Commerce Department and NASA are doing to improve the local economy as the Space Shuttle program winds down, and to hear from them about the challenges they’re facing during the transition. Locke stressed the administration’s continued commitment to getting people back to work and preserving the region as a hub for innovation.

During his third visit to the region, Locke toured the Space Life Sciences Laboratory at Exploration Park, a research and technology facility at Kennedy Space Center, and met with recently laid off NASA contractors. He was joined by Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas, Commerce’s Assistant Secretary for Economic Development John Fernandez, NASA Associate Deputy Administrator Charles Scales, and Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana.

Locke and NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr., are co-chairing the President’s Task Force on Space Industry Work Force and Economic Development, a $40 million, multi-agency initiative that is building on and complementing ongoing local and federal economic and workforce development efforts. The Task Force is leading the effort to grow the Space Coast economy and prepare its workers for the opportunities of tomorrow. Its report to the president is due in mid-August. 

 

Federal Science Report Details Fate of Oil from BP Spill

Alternate TextThe vast majority of the oil from the BP oil spill has either evaporated or been burned, skimmed, recovered from the wellhead or dispersed  much of which is in the process of being degraded. A significant amount of this is the direct result of the robust federal response efforts.

A third (33 percent) of the total amount of oil released in the Deepwater Horizon/BP spill was captured or mitigated by the Unified Command recovery operations, including burning, skimming, chemical dispersion and direct recovery from the wellhead, according to a federal science report released today.  See NOAA release