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The Commerce Blog

NOAA and Partners to Survey Ships Sunk off North Carolina in World War II

Underwater image of shipwrecks. Clicker for larger image.

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will lead a three-week research expedition in August to study World War II shipwrecks sunk in 1942 off the coast of North Carolina during the Battle of the Atlantic. The shipwrecks are located in an area known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” which includes sunken vessels from U.S. and British naval fleets, merchant ships and German U-boats. “The information collected during this expedition will help us better understand and document this often lost chapter of America’s maritime history and its significance to the nation,” said David W. Alberg, expedition leader and superintendent. (More)

Census: Capital Spending Increases Nearly $201 Billion Between 2000-2007

Census seal.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that spending by all U.S. nonfarm businesses on new and used structures and equipment increased 17 percent, or nearly $201 billion, to a total of $1.362 trillion in 2007. This compares with an earlier cyclical peak of $1.161 trillion in 2000, according to a report issued today. These data come from the Census Bureau’s 2009 Capital Spending Report: U.S. Capital Spending Patterns, 1999-2007. The report provides historical data from the Annual Capital Expenditures Survey (ACES) on spending for new and used structures and equipment by all U.S. nonfarm businesses with and without paid employees. (More)

Commerce Attends AGOA Forum in Nairobi, Kenya

8th AGOA Forum Logo. Click to visit AGOA Forum Web site.

The eighth AGOA Forum (African Growth and Opportunity Act) will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, August 4-6, 2009. The theme of this year’s Forum is “Realizing the Full Potential of AGOA through Expansion of Trade and Investment.” The Forum will focus on a number of crucial trade and economic issues, including but not limited to how countries can take full advantage of the range of export opportunities that AGOA offers. The Act, signed in 2000, offers tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets. (AGOA Web site) (U.S.-African Trade Profile)

Commerce Department Launches U.S. Recovery Act Project Funding Map

Map of United States. Click to go to interactive ARRA map.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has launched an interactive map indicating the project locations of communities and recipients funded by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on www.commerce.gov/recovery. Five agencies of the Department of Commerce (NTIA, EDA, NIST, NOAA and the U.S. Census Bureau) received a total of $7.9 billion for U.S. job creation and economic growth as part of the historic economic stimulus bill signed by President Obama in February, 2009. The map also includes data from the USDA and HUD Recovery Web sites. (More) (DOC Recovery Map)

NIST Releases Final Version of New Cybersecurity Recommendations for Government

NIST logo.

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released its final version of a publication which represents a major step toward building a unified information security framework for the entire federal government. Recommended Security Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations was released in draft form for public review in June. “The aim is to provide greater protection for federal information systems against cyber attacks,” said Ron Ross, of NIST’s computer security division. (More)

Commerce Secretary Locke Statement on 2nd Quarter GDP Numbers

Photo of Secretary Locke.

File Photo

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released data on GDP in the second quarter along with comprehensive revisions to the historical GDP data. Real GDP declined 1.0 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter, better than the private-sector expected drop of 1.5 percent. This decline is noticeably less than the larger decreases of 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 and 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2009. (More)

Secretary Locke Testifies Before Senate Committee to Discuss National Climate Change Policy

Secretary Locke with Director Holdren in background. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to discuss the Department’s contributions to national climate policy. Joined by Dr. John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Locke testified at a full committee hearing on “Climate Services: Solutions from Commerce to Communities.” The Department of Commerce is a leader in climate change research and monitoring, providing critical data and services to all levels of government and the private sector and helping companies and communities understand and adapt to climate change.

Census Bureau: U.S. Business Employers Add 100,000 Establishments in 2007

U.S. Census Bureau seal.

United States businesses with employees added more than 100,000 establishments in 2007, bringing the total number to 7.7 million and adding more than 650,000 employees to their payrolls. Overall, employees of businesses in the United States earned more than $5 trillion in annual payroll in 2007, up from $4.8 trillion in 2006. These economic numbers come from County Business Patterns: 2007, an annual report that contains data covering establishments with paid employees at the national and state levels, and in more than 3,100 counties. (More)

NOAA Reports GOES-14 Spacecraft Shows First Image

The spacecraft is transported to the launch site on large truck beds. Click for larger image.

NASA Photo

NOAA’s newest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) took its first full-disc visible image on July 27 at 2 p.m. EDT. GOES-14 joins three other operational NOAA GOES spacecraft that help the agency’s forecasters track life-threatening weather and solar activity that can impact the satellite-based electronics and communications industry. The satellites continuously provide observations of 60 percent of the Earth including the continental U.S., providing weather monitoring and forecast operations as well as a continuous and reliable stream of environmental information and severe weather Warnings. (More Photos and NASA Video of Launch)

NIST: 'Microfluidic Palette' May Paint Clearer Picture of Biological Processes

Image of microfluidic palette. Click for larger image.

Researchers at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have created an innovative device called the “microfluidic palette” to produce multiple, steady-state chemical gradients—gradual changes in concentration across an area—in a miniature chamber about the diameter of a pinhead. The tool can be used to study the complex biological mechanisms in cells responsible for cancer metastasis, wound healing, biofilm formation and other fluid-related processes. (More)