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The Commerce Blog

NOAA Report Explains Sea Level Anomaly this Summer Along U.S. Atlantic Coast

Tide and Currents logo. Click to go to NOAA Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services Web site.

Persistent winds and a weakened current in the Mid-Atlantic contributed to higher than normal sea levels along the Eastern Seaboard in June and July, according to a new technical report from Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). After observing water levels six inches to two feet higher than originally predicted, NOAA scientists began analyzing data from select tide stations and buoys from Maine to Florida and found that a weakening of the Florida Current Transport—an oceanic current that feeds into the Gulf Stream—in addition to steady and persistent Northeast winds, contributed to this anomaly. (More)

Statement from Under Secretary Blank on July 2009 Personal Income and Outlays

Blank portrait.

The U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis today released personal income and outlays for July 2009. Real personal spending increased 0.2 percent and personal income increased less than 0.1 percent, after decreasing 1.1 percent in June. “During the first half of the year, more than 95 percent of working families benefitted from tax relief under the Recovery Act, which has boosted Americans’ disposable income,” U.S. Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank said. “This increase has helped stabilize economic conditions in the wake of the worst economic environment in generations.” (Release)

NOAA Administrator to Lead U.S. Delegation to World Climate Conference-3

NOAA seal.

Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator, will lead a U.S. delegation to Geneva, Switzerland, August 31- September 4 for the World Climate Conference-3 in efforts to establish a Global Framework for Climate Services. This framework is intended to help meet accelerating demands for useful information on the impacts of climate change.U.S. officials from more than 10 government agencies and departments will be actively engaged at the conference, learning from the international community and sharing American knowledge and innovations. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces Over $11.9 Million in Recovery Act Grants to Create Jobs, Boost Development in Seven States

EDA seal.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced over $11.9 million in Economic Development Administration (EDA) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants to help seven states boost private investment and create new jobs. The grants will make water treatment facility upgrades in Kentucky; help build an access road to serve an industrial park in Minnesota; help make roadway updates to improve access to an industrial park in Illinois; help build water and sewer infrastructure needed to spur business development in Georgia; convert an existing building for use as a regional vocational training facility in Idaho; expand an existing dock and install a crane to boost the commercial fishing sector in Alaska, and extend an avenue and provide water infrastructure in Washington state.

Secretary Lock Gives Keynote at MED Week, Follows White House Event for National MED Week Awardees

MED Week logo. Click to go to MED Week Web site.

Secretary Gary Locke laid out the Obama Administration’s strategy to expand opportunities for minority businesses. In his keynote, Locke outlined how the President’s Recovery Act is giving businesses access to billions of dollars in loan guarantees, and how it seeks to reorient America’s energy policy towards providing new manufacturing jobs in clean energy. Locke called for reform of the healthcare system so that small- and medium-sized businesses can better afford health benefits for their workers. On Wednesday, Secretary Locke and Vice President Joe Biden congratulated the 2009 National Excellence in Minority Business Award Winners at a reception at the White House. (Remarks)

Statement From Undersecretary Blank on Second Estimate of GDP in Second Quarter of 2009

Department of Commerce seal.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis today released the second estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2009. Real GDP declined at a 1.0-percent annual rate, unchanged from the advance estimate. Most analysts had expected a larger drop of 1.5 percent. “The economy’s better than expected performance in the 2nd quarter suggests that it is beginning to stabilize,” U.S. Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank said. (More) (BEA Release)

Statement from Under Secretary for Economic Affairs on July 2009 New Home Sales

Portrait of Under Secretary Blank.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of the Census today released new home sales data for July 2009. Sales of new single-family houses rose 9.6 percent, a far stronger gain than the expected rise of 1.6 percent. Sales have risen 31.6 percent above their low in January of this year. “These new numbers are another sign that we have put the brakes on the worst economic downturn in generations,” U.S Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank said. (More) (July Residential Sales Release)

Secretary Locke Reads "To the Top!" with DC Grade School Students

Locke seated and holding book while children look on. Click for larger image.

At lunchtime, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Donovan and Education Secretary Duncan participated in the Department of Education’s summer reading initiative, “Read to the Top!” During the reading, Secretary Locke read, “Those Shoes,” a picture book by Maribeth Boelts to a group of District of Columbia grade school students. The Department has partnered with community organizations nationwide to combat summer reading loss in response to President Obama’s national volunteer campaign, “United We Serve,” which challenges all Americans to engage in sustained, meaningful service to meet growing social needs resulting from the economic downturn.

Who Are You? Mobile ID Devices Find Out Using NIST Guidelines

Image of person holding a PDA. Click for larger image.

A new publication that recommends best practices for the next generation of portable biometric acquisition devices—Mobile ID—has been published by Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Devices that gather, process and transmit an individual’s biometric data—fingerprints, facial and iris images—for identification are proliferating. Previous work on standards for these biometric devices has focused primarily on getting different stationary and desktop systems with hard-wired processing pathways to work together in an interoperable manner. But a new generation of small, portable and versatile biometric devices are raising new issues for interoperability. (More)

Earvin "Magic" Johnson to Keynote MBDA's Annual MED Week Conference

Earvin “Magic” Johnson will keynote the Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference in Washington, August 26-28. Also participating as speakers will be U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, new MBDA National Director David Hinson, and Small Business Administration Administrator Karen G. Mills. The conference will focus on fostering innovation, competitiveness and opportunities for minority businesses to retool and rebuild America’s infrastructure under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. (More) (Registration)