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Statement from Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on Retail Sales in April 2010

Commerce's U.S. Census Bureau today released retail sales for April 2010.  Retail sales increased 0.4 percent, following a large 2.1‑percent rise in March.  Sales of building materials and garden equipment and supplies jumped 6.9 percent following a similarly large gain in March.  Private-sector analysts had expected a small decline of 0.1 percent in total sales in April.

“The rising trend in retail sales indicates that consumer spending continues to grow, underlining increasing confidence in the recovery,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said.  “The gains in consumer spending are yet another indication that the outlook for sustained economic growth is improving.”

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Secretary Locke Honors U.S. Companies with Highest Presidential Award for Exports

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today presented 22 companies and organizations with the 2010 Presidential “E” Award and “E” Star Award for outstanding contributions to growing U.S. exports, strengthening the economy and creating American jobs. The Presidential “E” Awards are the highest U.S. government honor for increasing exports.

These are the first “E” and “E” Star Awards given out since President Obama announced the National Export Initiative, which aims to double American exports and support two million U.S. jobs by 2015.

Two recipients flanked by Locke and Under Secretary Sanchez

“Today we honor companies that are selling high-quality products and services in every corner of the world, and most importantly, helping to create good jobs for American workers,” Locke said. “This administration is focused on helping American businesses, like the ones honored today, take advantage of the worldwide economic recovery and sell more abroad.”

The Presidential “E” Award was created by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to recognize persons, firms or organizations that contribute significantly to increasing U.S. exports. The “E Star” Award, meanwhile, recognizes continued superior performance in increasing or promoting exports. (Remarks) (Release)

Secretary Locke Briefs Washington Foreign Press Center on Upcoming Trade Mission to China and Indonesia

Commerce sealU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke led a briefing at the Washington Foreign Press Center on the Obama administration’s first Cabinet-level trade mission to China and Indonesia next week. The clean energy business development missions will promote exports of leading U.S. technologies related to clean energy, energy efficiency and electric energy storage, transmission and distribution. In his remarks, Locke said, “Here at home, every American should know that when a U.S. clean energy company finds success abroad, it creates more jobs in the United States." (Remarks)

Secretary's Statement on March U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis today released a report on March 2010 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports in March 2010 increased by 3.2 percent to $147.9 billion from their February 2010 level. Imports in March increased 3.1 percent over February to $188.3 billion.

“The rise in imports shows increasing consumer confidence in America's economic recovery,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “It's heartening to see a corresponding increase in exports.

“This administration is focused on helping American businesses take advantage of the worldwide recovery underway, ramping up trade advocacy on all fronts – from providing credit to small businesses that want to export to increasing the number of trade experts who will help U.S. companies find buyers abroad to the continued rigorous enforcement of our trade laws.” (Full statement)

Senior Adviser Wade Meets with Business Leaders in Pennsylvania

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Wade touring manufacturing facilityRick Wade, senior adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, met with local businesses in Williamsport, Penn., today as part of a national tour taking him to Main Streets across America to hear from business leaders about the challenges they face and to take their ideas and concerns back to Washington. Wade participated in a roundtable discussion, a luncheon, and toured a local manufacturing facility.

Secretary Locke Holds Exports Town Hall with Northern Virginia Businesses

Image of ITA Exports reportU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited the Precision Auto Care international corporate headquarters training facility in Leesburg, Va., to discuss President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) and how it can help U.S. companies of all sizes sell more of their goods and services overseas and support the creation of American jobs. Locke was joined by U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf. The NEI aims to double U.S. exports over the next five years while supporting two million American jobs.

Secretaries Locke and Donovan Tour Nashville, Memphis Flood-Damaged Areas

Locke with residentsAt the request of President Barack Obama, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan toured areas affected by the recent flooding in Nashville and Memphis, Tenn., today. The secretaries assessed the damage, talked to residents and discussed long-term recovery plans with local elected officials and community leaders. The secretaries toured the impacted areas and held brief press availabilities in each city.

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)