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The Commerce Blog

Secretary Locke Statement on New Residential Construction in December 2009

Department of Commerce seal.

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Bureau of the Census released data on new residential construction in November 2009. Permits rose 6.0 percent in November and starts increased 8.9 percent, in both cases exceeding market expectations. Permits have risen 17.3 percent above their low in April, and starts have advanced 19.8 percent above their April low point. These gains reflected increases in single-family activity, while multi-family starts have increased modestly. (More) (Release)

NOAA Produces Images of Haiti for First Responders

Photo of plane. Click for larger image.

A specially-equipped NOAA jet conducted aerial surveys of earthquake-stricken Haiti on Jan. 17 and 18 as part of the agency’s effort to help responders assess damage and plan recovery efforts. The aircraft is equipped with high-resolution digital cameras and other sensors that collect data vital to disaster response, scientific research and environmental resource management efforts. “NOAA maintains some of the nation’s premier emergency response services,” said Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “We are proud to be of service in offering experts and expertise to help the people of Haiti during this heartbreaking time.” (More) (Haiti Earthquake Relief Web site)

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Announces Plans for Forum on R&D Commercialization at Universities

Locke at podium. Click for larger image.

Photo: National Press Club

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced today his plans to host a forum with university leaders and key stakeholders on the roles of universities in innovation, economic development, job creation, and commercialization of federally funded research next month in Washington, D.C. “It’s not tenable for the United States to continue with the status quo,” Locke said at the Kauffman Foundation’s State of Entrepreneurship event. (More) (Remarks)

Commerce Department Mobilizes to Assist Relief Efforts in Haiti

Help for Haiti icon. Click to go to Web site.

The U.S. Department of Commerce is mobilizing to assist in the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. “In response to President Obama’s pledge of support, the Department of Commerce has mobilized resources to assist the Haitian people,” said Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. Commerce’s NOAA is sending a multi-tiered disaster response team to conduct emergency surveys and damage assessment of key Haitian ports. BIS is expediting the licensing process to speed up the export of humanitarian items. For more information on the effort and what you can do to help, visit the White House’s site on earthquake relief. (More) (Haiti Earthquake Relief Web site)

Secretary Locke, Senator Begich Meet with Alaska Business and 2010 Census Leaders in Anchorage

Locke and participants at roundtable.

U.S. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) in Anchorage today for a series of meetings to discuss trade expansion, rural development and the 2010 Census. Locke and Begich hosted a roundtable discussion with Alaska business leaders on potential trade expansion between Alaska and Pacific Rim countries, and discussed rural development with the Denali Commission.The pair also toured the Anchorage census office to meet with statewide Complete Count Committee members in advance of this year’s 2010 Census. (Remarks)

NOAA Satellites Help Rescue 195 People in 2009

Image of COSPAS-SARSAT Systems overview. Click for larger image.

NOAA’s fleet of satellites played a vital role in the rescues of 195 people during life-threatening situations throughout the U.S. and its surrounding waters in 2009. In each incident, NOAA satellites pinpointed these downed pilots, shipwrecked mariners, or stranded hikers by detecting a distress signal from an emergency beacon and relaying the information to first responders on the ground. NOAA’s polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites, along with Russia’s Cospas spacecraft, are part of the international Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking system, called COSPAS-SARSAT. (More) (Rescue at sea photo)

Census Launches 2010 Census Advertising Campaign to Boost Mail-Back Participation Rates

Image of people attending event with tent inside of Ronald Reagan Building. Click for larger image.

The U.S. Census Bureau today unveiled its national advertising campaign for the 2010 Census, which seeks to boost the national mail-back participation rate by increasing awareness and educating the public about the importance of participating in the once-a-decade headcount. The $133 million campaign builds on the success of the 2000 Census efforts, where the Census Bureau used paid advertising for the first time and reversed a three-decade decline in public response rates by mail. (More) (Director’s blog) (Road Tour blog)

Secretary Locke Statement on December 2009 Retail Sales

Locke speaking from lectern.

File photo

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau released retail sales data for December 2009. Retail sales declined 0.3 percent, following strong monthly gains in October and November. Sales rose 7.0 percent at an annual rate in the fourth quarter, following a gain of 6.4 percent in the third quarter. “While the overall trend is in the right direction, today’s retail sales data show that we have more work to do,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. (More) (Report)

Secretary Locke Announces $7.5 Million in Recovery Act Investment to Increase Broadband Access in LA

Locke, Boxer and Villaraigosa at table with young child.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke was joined by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at a South Los Angeles WorkSource Center to announce a $7.5 million Recovery Act grant to upgrade and expand 188 computer centers that provide the public with free broadband access to the Internet. The grant to the Los Angeles’ Computer Access Network will help bridge the technological divide and improve access to job and computer training and educational opportunities. (More) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Statement on November 2009 Trade in Goods and Services Report

Department of Commerce seal

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the November 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports increased by 0.9 percent to $138.2 billion since October 2009. Imports increased 2.6 percent to $174.6 billion. (More) (Fact Sheet) (Release)