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The Commerce Blog

Secretary Locke Statement on New Residential Construction in March 2010

Commerce Department seal

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau today released new residential construction data for March 2010. Permits for new housing units jumped 7.5 percent in March, housing starts increased 1.6 percent in March and starts in February were revised up considerably. Permits have advanced 37.6 percent and starts have risen 30.7 percent above their low points in April 2009. (More)

Deputy Secretary Hightower Joins Vice President Biden in Pennsylvania for Groundbreaking of ARRA Project

Hightower on podium with Biden and others behind. Click for larger image.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Dennis Hightower joined Vice President Joe Biden to kick off the groundbreaking of an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) project, with funds administered by Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). EDA obligated all $147 million of its Recovery Act funds one full year ahead of schedule. Responding to aggressive goals set out by President Obama and Vice President Biden, the agency acted expeditiously. Recovery Act funds were delivered to communities where they were needed most. (Remarks)

New Commerce Report Shows Growing Exports Key to Job Creation

Image of Exports Report.

A U.S. Department of Commerce report released today confirms the importance of exports to the U.S. economy and the increasingly globalized marketplace. According to Exports Support American Jobs, in 2008, exports accounted for a record 12.7 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), and during a period of relatively flat job growth across the economy, supported a record number of jobs—more than 10 million. (More) (Report—PDF)

Countdown: Two Days Left to Mail Back 2010 Census Forms

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2010 Census logo. Click to go to Web site.

Today marks the two-day countdown for residents across America to mail back their 2010 Census questionnaires. Households that return their forms after Friday, April 16 will likely be visited by census workers, who begin May 1 going door to door to collect census responses. Residents are encouraged to promptly mail back their forms, because doing so would reduce the cost of administering the census by $1.5 billion—funds that would be given back to taxpayers. (More) (en español) (Take 10 participation map)

NOAA: Global Temps Push Last Month Hottest March on Record

Temperature anomolies map. Click for larger image.

The world’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature made last month the warmest March on record, according to Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Taken separately, average ocean temperatures were the warmest for any March and the global land surface was the fourth warmest for any March on record. Additionally, the planet has seen the fourth warmest January-March period on record. The monthly National Climatic Data Center analysis, which is based on records going back to 1880. (More) (Temperature anomalies graphic). (State of the Climate report)

Secretary Locke Visits San Diego to Stress Importance of Exports in Competitiveness and Job Creation

Locke with Canadian Minister of Industry Tony Clement and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Gerardo Ruiz. Clicke for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Solar Turbines, one of California’s top exporters, for a tour of the company’s facility and a discussion with local small business owners on how the National Export Initiative will help small- and medium-sized businesses grow and create jobs in their community. Locke viewed the exporting process for industrial gas turbine engines from assembly through shipment to nearly 100 countries. Earlier in the day, he delivered the keynote address at the North American Competitiveness, Innovation & Clean Energy 2010 Conference Luncheon. He also met with Canadian Minister of Industry Tony Clement and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Gerardo Ruiz. (Solar Turbines remarks) (NAC remarks) (Release)

Secretary Locke Statement on March 2010 Retail Sales

Locke gesturing with microphone in hand.

File photo

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau today released retail sales for March 2010. Retail sales increased 1.6 percent compared with an expected increase of 1.2 percent, and recent months were revised upwards. Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales rose 0.6 percent. Retail sales have grown 7.6 percent over the past year. “The strong growth in retail sales demonstrates consumers’ increasing confidence in the economic recovery,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. (More) (Release)

NIST Develops Instrument to Detect Poultry Spoilage

NIST logo

Researchers at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) designed an instrument that quickly and precisely sniffs trace amounts of chemical compounds that indicate poultry spoilage without damaging the product itself. The process can detect minute amounts of spoilage compounds and can be used by suppliers during all stages of processing, transport and storage. Several proactive measures are used in the United States to keep poultry from going bad between the time it leaves the farm to when it reaches the grocery cart. (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on February 2010 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services

Department of Commerce seal

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the February 2010 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 in February 2010 increased by 0.2 percent to $143.2 billion from their January 2010 level. Imports in February increased 1.7 percent over January to $182.9 billion. (More) (Release) (Fact sheet)

Deputy Secretary Hightower, Rep. Peters Host Roundtable with Michigan Small Business Owners

U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower joined Rep. Gary Peters in Farmington Hills, Mich. to meet with local small business owners, representatives from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Detroit Regional Chamber, to discuss the current business climate, growing manufacturing jobs and spotlight initiatives that are working to help improve Michigan’s economy. Hightower underscored the department’s commitment to provide technical and business assistance to small manufacturers. (Remarks)