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The Commerce Blog

NOAA: Above-Normal Temperatures and Below-Normal Precipitation in April

Graphic of temperature mapNOAA's State of the Climate report shows the April 2010 average temperature for the contiguous United States was 54.3 degress F, which is 2.3 degrees F above the long-term (1901-2000) average (14th-warmest April on record). April's average precipitation was 2.18 inches, 0.25 inch below the 1901-2000 average, based on a 116-year record since 1895, this monthly analysis is prepared by scientists at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. (Release) (Temperature graphic) (Precipitation graphic)

2010 Census Advertising Named Multicultural and Best Branded Campaign of the Year

The U.S. Census Bureau is being recognized by Mediaweek, a leading advertising industry trade publication, for its 2010 Census advertising campaign—winning both the “Best Multicultural Campaign” and “Best Branded Content” awards in the publication’s Media Plan of the Year competition. The primary purpose of the advertising efforts were to educate and motivate households to mail back their 2010 Census forms when they arrived in March—more than 72 percent of America participated by mail, matching the rate from the last census in 2000. (Release)

Secretary Locke, Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Lubchenco Visit Gulf Coast

Trajectory mapAt the direction of President Obama, Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco visited the Gulf Coast to meet with federal, state and local officials, and local business leaders as part of their continued oversight of BP’s efforts to plug the leak and contain the spill, and their ongoing emphasis on interagency coordination in response to the event. All three officials traveled to Biloxi, Miss. Locke and Napolitano continued on to Pensacola, Fla., in the afternoon. (NOAA-Deepwater) (Current trajectory map—PDF) (Incident News)

NOAA: Deepwater Horizon Incident, Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Update

Photo of Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill from NASA Satellite

Improving weather today allowed both NOAA overflights and dispersant operations to resume. Today, four aircraft applied dispersants to the surface slick, and dispersant application by vessels is expected to begin tomorrow. Monitoring of the dispersant efforts are ongoing. NOAA overflights were conducted over the source as well as south from Mobile. At present, technical specialists and other personnel from many agencies and organizations are assisting NOAA in providing scientific support for the spill response. (Incident News)

Report on Gross Domestic Product Statistics for Four U.S. Territories Released

Click for larger image. Pictured: Nikolao Pula, Director of the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior; Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; Pictured: Rebecca M Blank, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, U.S. Department of Commerce;  Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho, Northern Mariana Islands; Rep. Madeleine Bordallo, Guam; Rep. Eni Faleomavaega, America Samoa; Rep. Donna Christensen, Virgin Islands; Steve Landefeld, Director of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce.

The U.S. Department of Commerce released newly-developed Gross Domestic Product (GDP) statistics for American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The statistics are a product of a joint effort of the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Interior Department’s Office of Insular Affairs. Policy makers will now have an objective view of the size of these economies, their growth or contraction, and their major components in order to conduct economic-impact analysis on the effects of local and national policy decisions. (More)

Secretary Locke Joins HHS Secretary Sebelius for Web Chat on New Benefits in Affordable Care Act

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined Health and Human Services Secretary Kathlee

Image: HHS Web chat

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for a live Web chat today on a new reinsurance program that will help U.S. firms cover the health care costs of their early retirees. The program makes available $5 billion of financial assistance to businesses, state and local governments and unions to help them cover health care costs for those 55 and older not yet eligible for Medicare. The Web chat is available on-demand here. For more information, visit http://www.healthreform.gov/. (healthreform.gov en español) (White House health care Web site) (Fact sheet) (DOC May 4 release) (Secretary Sebelius May 4 release)

Secretary Locke Statement on New Affordable Care Act Reinsurance Program's Benefits for Employers

Comerce seal

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued regulations establishing the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program in the Affordable Care Act. The new law provides $5 billion in financial assistance to employers to help them maintain coverage for early retirees age 55 and older who are not yet eligible for Medicare. Employers can use the savings to either reduce their own health care costs, provide premium relief to their workers and families, or a combination of both. (More) (White House blog) (Fact sheet)

Forty-Six U.S. Business Executives to Join Secretary Locke in China and Indonesia for Clean Energy Trade Mission

Foto de El Seretario Gary Locke.

Washington (May 4 )—Forty-six U.S. business executives will join U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in China and Indonesia May 15-25 on the first cabinet-level trade mission of the Obama administration. On the heels of President Obama’s new National Export Initiative, aimed at doubling U.S. exports in the next five years, Locke will lead American companies on this clean energy mission to advance their export opportunities and support American jobs. (More)

Secretary Locke to Host White House Asian American and Pacific Islander Web Chat

Secretary Locke, AAPI Executive Director Kiran Ahuja and White House aide with laptop computer. Click for larger image. (Courtesy of the White House)

Image: White House video

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a live Web chat today to discuss important issues affecting the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Locke is co-chair of The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and was joined by Executive Director Kiran Ahuja for the Web chat. President Barack Obama proclaimed May 2010, as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The video will be available on www.whitehouse.gov/video. (Presidential proclamation)

Commerce Department Recruiting Industry Experts to Serve on New Advisory Council on Minority Business

Comerce seal

The Commerce Department is recruiting leaders from the private sector to serve on the National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise (NACMBE). The council will provide advice and guidance to the Secretary on key issues, including policies that would best position minority-owned firms to compete in the global economy: access to capital, expanded participation in emerging industries, and improved access to the global supply chains of the world’s largest corporations. Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) will assist the Secretary in overseeing the Advisory Council. (More) (Nomination notice)