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The Commerce Blog

Secretary Locke Discusses Travel and Tourism Industry at American Hotel and Lodging Association Summit

Locke on podium.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke addressed the American Hotel and Lodging Association Legislative Action Summit to discuss the importance of the travel and tourism industry to the U.S. economy. Locke spoke about President Obama’s National Export Initiative and the role travel and tourism plays in growing American jobs. He also discussed plans for implementation of the recently-signed Travel Promotion Act, which establishes a new public-private partnership between the U.S. government and the nation’s travel and tourism industry. (Remarks)

FEMA and NOAA Renew Partnership to Encourage Flood Safety

NOAA logo. Click to go to Web site.

As one of the snowiest winter seasons in many years yields to warmer weather and the promise of rain and snowmelt, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) FloodSmart campaign and Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced they are again working together during Flood Safety Awareness Week (March 15-19) to raise awareness of the dangers associated with flooding and steps to protect against damage. (More) (Map)

2010 Census Forms Arrive in 120 Million Mailboxes Across Nation

Image of home page of 2010 Census Web site. Click to go to Web site.

Asking just 10 questions and taking about 10 minutes to complete, 2010 Census forms began arriving in 120 million mailboxes across the nation today—just the 23rd time the country has undertaken the constitutionally-mandated population count that dates back to 1790. The Census Bureau today estimated that if every household completed and mailed back their census form, taxpayers could reduce the cost of taking the census by $1.5 billion. The Census Bureau saves about $85 million in operational costs for every percentage point increase in the nation’s participation rate by mail. (More)

Statement from Secretary Locke on Retail Sales in February 2010

Photo of Secretary Locke.

File Photo

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau today released retail sales data for February 2010. Retail sales grew an unexpected 0.3 percent compared with private-sector forecasts of a 0.3 percent decline. Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales grew 0.8 percent. Retail sales have grown 3.9 percent over the past year. (More) (Release)

Secretary Locke Statement on January 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 January 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 January 2010 decreased by 0.3 percent to $142.7 billion since December 2009. Imports in January decreased 1.7 percent over December to $180.0 billion. (More) (Fact sheet) (Release)

Secretary Locke Participates in White House Web Chat to Discuss National Export Initiative

Video clip of Web chat.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke took questions from the public on exports, the economy and the President’s National Export Initiative online at Whitehouse.gov/live today. Questions came from the discussion itself, but members of the public were also encouraged to submit their questions ahead of time via Twitter by sending a message to @SecLocke or emailing open[at]doc[dot]gov. Locke also announced an unprecedented schedule of upcoming international trade missions. (Web chat) (Trade missions release) (List of trade missions—PDF) (NEI Executive order)

USPTO and UKIPO Announce Action Plan to Reduce Global Patent Backlogs

USPTO seal

Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) today agreed to develop an action plan for reducing patent processing backlogs in both offices. Patent backlogs hinder the deployment of innovation and have clear adverse effects on the global economy. According to a study by London Economics released on behalf of the UKIPO, the first study that attempts to quantify the economic impact of patent backlogs, the cost to the global economy of the delay in processing patent applications may be as much as £7.65 ($11.4) billion each year. (More)

NOAA: U.S. Winter and February Cooler Than Average

U.S. map graphic with temperature ranges. Click for full-size graphic.

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that temperatures were below normal for the contiguous U.S. for the winter season (December through February). The winter season was wetter than normal; however precipitation in February alone was slightly below average. Based on data going back to 1895, the monthly analyses are prepared by scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. (More) (Temperature map) (Precipitation map) (State of the Climate Report)

Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank Promotes Census in Schools in Hawaii

Blank joined by Hawaii Department of Education Secretary Ronn Nozoe (far left), Clifford (the Big Red Dog) and Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona (far right). Click for larger image

Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank urged Hawaiians to participate in the 2010 Census at a Census in Schools event at the Linapuni Elementary School on Tuesday. “As you know, Hawaii was an undercounted state in the 2000 Census, and we don’t want that to happen in 2010,” Blank said. “The complete count of our children nationwide is critical to their health, education and the future strength of our communities and labor force. That’s why it’s so important parents list their children on the 2010 Census form and mail it back.” (More)

Secretary Locke to Travel to Brazil to Meet with Key Leaders to Strengthen Bilateral, Commercial Relationship

Secretary Locke with Forum participants. Click for larger image.

Photo: American embassy in Brazil

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will travel to Brasilia, Brazil, to meet with key Brazilian leaders, American companies, and public and private sector co-chairs of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum. During his meetings with American business leaders, Locke will discuss the Obama administration’s National Export Initiative and how it will help those businesses become more competitive abroad while supporting job creation here at home. (March 8 release) (March 9 release)