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The Commerce Blog

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)

Secretary Locke Hosts Luncheon with New Chilean President Sebastián Piñera and U.S. Companies

Locke and Pinera shaking hands.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a roundtable dialogue and luncheon with new Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, Chilean and U.S. government officials, and select U.S. businesses at the Commerce Department today to match some of Chile’s post-earthquake reconstruction needs with the capabilities of U.S. companies. The Government of Chile estimates that the 8.8-magnitude earthquake on February 27 caused upwards of $30 billion in damages. President Piñera assumed office less than two weeks after the earthquake. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces Grants in Iowa to Aid Flood Rebuilding Efforts

Secretary Locke at podium

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke viewed new flood-resistant construction at the University of Iowa and announced grants totaling $30 million to assist in flood rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the 2008 Iowa flood—part of a continuing effort by the Obama administration to help those impacted by the flooding. Locke was joined by Governor Chet Culver, Congressman Dave Loebsack and Mayors Matt Hayek and Jim Fausett. Commerce’s Economic Development Administration will administer the grants. (Remarks) (Press release)

NOAA: U.S. Averaged Warmer-than Normal, Drier-than-Normal in March

Map of March temperature. Click for larger image.

NOAA’s State of the Climate report shows the March 2010 average temperature for the entire contiguous United States was warmer-than-average with several New England states experiencing one of the warmest March’s on record. Average precipitation for the U.S. was below normal, but heavy rainfall set March records in parts of the Northeast. Based on data going back to 1895, the monthly analyses are prepared by scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina. (More) (Temperatures) (Precipitation levels)

Secretary Locke Encourages Census Participation at New York Rally with Congressman Crowley

2010 Census logo. Click to go to Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined Congressman Joseph Crowley for a 2010 Census meeting with New York community leaders. Locke and others rallied community leaders from the Bronx and Queens to make a “last call” for New Yorkers to participate in the 2010 Census. Although heavily populated, New York City is traditionally undercounted in the census, which causes the city and state to lose important federal funding. In 2000, only 57 percent of New York City households returned their census forms. Communities around the nation are focusing on getting residents to mail back their forms in a “March to the Mailbox” effort. (Remarks)

Commerce Department Releases Open Government Plan

Screenshot of Commerce's Open Government Website

In response to President Obama’s Open Government Directive, the Department of Commerce released its first iteration of its Open Government Plan. The plan creates a process for making more data available to the public and identifies three flagship Open Government initiatives that help make the Commerce Department more accessible and interactive. In a blog post on the Department’s Open Government Web site, Secretary Gary Locke noted that the plan, “establishes clear goals and benchmarks for success, and lays the foundation for continued work on increasing openness, participation and collaboration at Commerce in the months and years to come.” (Open Government Plan) (Open Government Web site) (Secretary’s post)

NOAA's GOES-15 Weather Satellite Captures Its First Image of Earth

View of Eath taken by GOES-15. Click for larger image.

GOES-15, launched on March 4 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, joins three other NOAA operational GOES spacecraft that help the agency's forecasters track life-threatening weather—from tornadoes, floods and hurricanes—and solar activity that can impact the satellite-based electronics and communications industry. The black and white full-disk image shows North and South America with a storm system visible across the United States, indicated by a drape of clouds from New England westward to the central Plains. Further west is a cold front over the Rocky Mountains. Mostly clear skies are seen over the mid-Atlantic, southeastern U.S., Gulf of Mexico, California and Mexico. (More)