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The Commerce Blog

Secretary Locke Statement on Confirmation of David Kappos as Patent and Trade Director

Campus of USPTO in Alexandria, Virginia.

The U.S. Senate today confirmed David Kappos as the new Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement: “We are grateful to the Senate for its swift confirmation of David Kappos to lead the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It’s no secret that the agency currently faces significant and persistent challenges, but David is the right person to meet them and carry out my top priority for the USPTO—dramatically reducing the unacceptably long time it takes to process patent applications.” (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on July Unemployment Numbers

Secretary Locke on podium.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on today’s release of the July 2009 unemployment numbers by the Labor Department. The report showed that the jobless rate dropped to 9.4 percent from 9.5 percent. "Today's news that the rate of job loss is declining is a welcome sign that our economy is no longer in freefall. But we know that millions of families are still struggling. A 9.4 percent unemployment rate remains unacceptable, and this administration will not be satisfied until people are getting back to work.” (More)

BEA: Personal Income Growth for Metropolitan Areas Slows in 2008 Over 2007

Map of U.S. indicating percent change of personal income.

Personal income growth slowed in 2008 in most of the nation's metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), according to estimates released today by the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Personal income growth slowed in 322 MSAs, increased in 42, and remained unchanged in 2 MSAs. On average, MSA personal income grew 3.3 percent in 2008, down from 6.0 percent in 2007. Advance metropolitan area income estimates for 2008 are available interactively on BEA's Web site at www.bea.gov/regional/reis/ and select table AMSA. (More)

NOAA Lowers Hurricane Season Outlook, Cautions Public Not to Let Down Guard

According to its August Atlantic hurricane season outlook, Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) now expects a near- to below-normal Atlantic hurricane season, as the calming effects of El Niño continue to develop. But scientists say the season’s quiet start does not guarantee quiet times ahead. The season, which began June 1, is entering its historical peak period of August through October, when most storms form. “While this hurricane season has gotten off to a quiet start, it’s critical that the American people are prepared in case a hurricane strikes,” said Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. (More) (Animation of El Niño in Pacific)

Locke Announces $45 Million in Grants to Accelerate Manufacture and Deployment of Next-Generation Batteries, Vehicles

Photo of Locke and officials at event. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced three grants to accelerate the manufacturing and deployment of the next generation of U.S. batteries and electric vehicles in America. Ten million dollars will go to Smith Electric; $30 million to Ford Motor Company; and $5 million to Missouri University of Science and Technology. These grants are part of 48 new advanced battery and electric drive projects President Obama announced today that will receive $2.4 billion under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and create tens of thousands of new jobs. (More) (Grants Announcement) (President’s Remarks)

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)