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The Commerce Blog

Commerce's NOAA Tracks Ash from Iceland Volcano

Image of video screen. Click to go to video clip.

Credit: NOAA/EUMESTAT/NASA

The eruption of a volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier of Iceland on Wednesday, April 14, sent ripple effects around the globe as it halted international flights to and from Northern Europe. Airborne volcanic ash posed a threat to jet engines, and to prevent disaster, air traffic controllers grounded planes. From the earliest moments of the eruption, a global network of Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers began monitoring the ash plume and the appropriate centers issued advisories about flow of the ash through the atmosphere. There are nine such centers, each responsible for a defined geographic region. (More) (Video clip) (Image of ash cloud)

Commerce Secretary Locke Addresses Economic Development Professionals at Federal Forum

U.S. Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered remarks at the International Economic Development Council’s (IEDC) Federal Economic Development Forum today. Locke spoke about the critical role federal economic development agencies play in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship within local communities. The IEDC works to help economic development professionals create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities and improve the quality of life in their regions. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez joined Locke at the forum. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Attends President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB) Meeting, Livestream from White House Toda

White House meeting

Image: White House video

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke will join Vice President Joe Biden, Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg, White House officials and PERAB members at the exports-focused meeting hosted by President Barack Obama. The meeting will address a range of economic issues, including job creation, financial reform and the President’s proposal to double the number of exports over the next five years. (On-demand video)

Census: Last day to Mail Back 2010 Census Forms?Residents Urged to Act Today to Save Taxpayer Money

2010 Census logo. Click to go to Web site.

Today marks the last day for residents across America to mail back their 2010 Census questionnaires. Households that return their forms after April 16 will likely be visited by census workers when they begin May 1 going door to door to collect census responses. Residents are encouraged to mail back their 2010 Census forms today. Those who wait to mail back their forms should expect to be visited by census workers, who will visit homes in person to ensure an accurate count of every person living in the United States. (More) (Take 10 participation map) (There’s Still Time)

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)