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Census Bureau Releases Valentine’s Day-Related Facts and Statistics

Census Bureau Release Valentine’s Day-Related Facts and Statistics

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day today, the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau released Valentine’s Day-related facts and statistics.  Expressing one's love to another is a celebrated custom on Valentine's Day.  Sweethearts and family members present gifts to one another, such as cards, candy, flowers and other symbols of affection.  Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released statistics on businesses that benefit from Valentine’s Day as well as statistics about married couples and the number of dating service establishments.

1,148:  Number of U.S. manufacturing establishments that produced chocolate and cocoa products in 2011, employing 35,538 people. California led the nation with 122 of these establishments, followed by Pennsylvania, with 109.

393:  The number of dating service establishments nationwide as of 2007. These establishments, which include Internet dating services, employed 3,125 people and pulled in $928 million in revenue.

29.0 and 26.6 years:  Median age at first marriage in 2013 for men and women, respectively.

23,394:  The estimated number of jewelry stores in the United States in 2011. Jewelry stores offer engagement, wedding and other rings to couples of all ages. In February 2013, these stores sold an estimated $2.8 billion in merchandise.

15,307:  The total number of florists' establishments nationwide in 2011. These businesses employed 66,165 people.

For more Valentine’s Day statistics, please go to the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features: Valentine’s Day 2014

Van Nuys-Based Louroe Electronics Travels with U.S. Secretary of Commerce to Mexico for First Trade Mission

Richard Brent, CEO of Louroe Electronics

Guest blog post by Richard Brent, CEO of Louroe Electronics

I remember getting the call from U.S. Department of Commerce extending an invite to my company, Louroe Electronics, to accompany Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on her first-ever trade mission to Mexico. I was truly humbled and enthusiastic about this unique opportunity.

I’ve served as the CEO of Van Nuys-based Louroe Electronics, the world leader in audio monitoring technology, for more than 5 years now and was thrilled to receive the call. I was beyond excited to learn that Louroe was handpicked by the Department of Commerce - the only Southern California and sole security company- along with 16 other export-ready companies, to be a part of The Secretary’s historic trade mission. The mission specifically focused on promoting U.S. exports in key industry sectors including advanced manufacturing, information and communications technology, and security products.

From February 3-7, I personally traveled with Secretary Pritzker to Mexico City and Monterrey alongside other leading companies including: IBM Corporation, Motorola Solutions, Inc., Oracle Corporation, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, and Deloitte Consulting LLP.  Our mutual goal was to promote U.S exports. This trade mission helped facilitate introductions to key government and private sector decision makers in Mexico who shared with us key initiatives and how US companies can assist with development and growth.

As a result of my participation in the trade mission, I was able to successfully identify five new pilot projects for Louroe that will focus on improving public safety throughout Mexico City and Monterrey. This is great news not only for Louroe but also for the Los Angeles economy as the pilot programs will require us to increase our current staffing by approximately 10 percent, ultimately creating more jobs.

EFJohnson: Participation in Mexico Trade Mission was a Positive Experience

Categories:
 Rudy Torres, Director of International Business for all Government Public Safety Radio Communication for EFJohnson Technologies

Guest blog post by Mr. Rudy Torres, Director of International Business for all Government Public Safety Radio Communication for EFJohnson Technologies of Irving, Texas.

Established in 1923, EFJohnson has a long history of providing mission critical communication solutions and is one of only three companies in the land mobile radio industry today that has developed a full line of Project 25 products. EFJohnson focuses on delivering the highest quality, innovative, and cost-effective Project 25 solutions for public safety, military, and government entities.

Being a representative on the trade mission to Mexico was a very positive experience. The inclusion of small and medium business was very important to us. Secretary Pritzker provided equal access to all companies on the mission regardless of size. It was a great opportunity for a medium company like ours to show its agility and focus to an audience normally reserved for larger companies.

Secretary Pritzker’s commitment and presence at all functions brought out the higher levels of government officials and administrators. All participating companies were provided access to key policy makers and business leaders. Secretary Pritzker also opened her personal network of business associates and introduced the delegation to top leaders of the business community both in Mexico City and Monterrey.

Cities Launch Prize Competitions to Spur Economic Development Planning

SC2 Challenge logo

Last week, Greensboro, NC; Hartford, Connecticut; and Las Vegas, Nevada launched economic development competitions as part of the SC2 Visioning Challenge (SC2 Challenge). Created by the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), the SC2 Challenge selected the three cities to receive $1 million each to solicit innovative strategies that advance local economic development planning.

Through a fair and open process of participation, these competitions are expected to attract a wide range of new approaches to help the communities succeed in reaching their economic and job growth goals. Leveraging an extensive array of innovative ideas from a diverse field of participants is a key benefit of challenge initiatives. 

The SC2 Challenge is part of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative (SC2), launched by the Obama administration in June 2011. SC2 is aimed at creating new partnerships between federal agencies and localities to spark economic development in communities that have faced long-term development challenges. 

A Vision for Mexico’s Future

Anne Altman, general manager of IBM US Federal Government and Industries, and Dan Pelino, general manager of IBM's public sector business

Guest blog post by Anne Altman, general manager of IBM US Federal Government and Industries, and Dan Pelino, general manager of IBM's public sector business.

IBM believes in a vision of economic development and vitality where technology helps drive more active and engaged communities through citizen-based services, including health care, infrastructure, public safety, supply chain and education, all enabling "smarter" regions and societies.

The dominant cities, regions and countries around the world today are planning for long-term growth to build their economic competitive advantage.  They are doing this by collaborating across levels of government, industry and academia - working across political, social and technological divides to achieve bigger, better and more sustainable outcomes in jobs, business environments and citizen quality of life.

This is why we were honored to be part of the U.S. business delegation to Mexico - deepening our relationships with government and business leaders, some of which we’ve held for many years, since IBM first opened for business in Mexico in 1927.  We share Secretary Pritzker’s belief that Mexico is an important growth market on its own, a key trade partner to the USA and perhaps the world.  This is why we are investing in opening up a cloud computing data center in Mexico City later this year. We believe that Mexico can benefit from the adoption of new technology to enable their cities and States for the future.

As the general managers of IBM’s public sector and Federal business units, respectively, we are always looking for opportunities to share best practices in business and government and learn from the experience of others.  Mexico is our neighbor and partner, and it was rewarding to spend several days in such insightful discussions with the leaders in business, academia and government.

Uncovering History’s Black Women Inventors

Dr. Patricia E. Bath and a drawing of her patent

Editor's note: This has been cross-posted from Inventor's Eye, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Publication for the Independent Inventor Community

February and March are Black History Month and Women’s History Month, respectively. Inventors Eye takes a look at past and present to salute the many Black women inventors who have contributed to the growth of innovation in America.

Black women throughout American history have impacted and contributed to our nation’s culture of innovation. Patents offer a unique lens through which to view history. By tracing the technologies patents protect—or once protected—as well as the inventors listed on those patents, an image of the past emerges. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted patents for more than 200 years. That’s a lot of history, and it contains many stories of successful black women who have changed the technological face of America. Today, black women continue to ignite the spark of genius and make key and meaningful contributions to America’s inventive process. 

The trove of historical information locked in patents can be a challenge to extract, as patents do not record extensive personal details about inventors such as race. Adding to the difficulty is the common practice of early inventors to use initials as a way to conceal their identity or gender. There is ongoing debate about the first black woman inventor, but modern research tools have made it less difficult to assemble the pieces of the puzzle. Though we may never be able to tell the full story of black women inventors, the findings reveal that they have consistently conceived innovative ideas and aggressively filed patent applications throughout history.

Martha Jones of Amelia County, Va., might have become the first black woman to receive a United States patent. Her application for an “Improvement to the Corn Husker, Sheller” was granted U.S. patent No. 77,494 in 1868. Jones claimed her invention could husk, shell, cut up, and separate husks from corn in one operation, representing a significant step forward in the automation of agricultural processes. Five years later in 1873, Mary Jones De Leon of Baltimore was granted U.S. patent No. 140,253 for a novel cooking apparatus. De Leon’s invention consisted of the construction and arrangement of a device for heating food by dry heat and steam. The design of the apparatus shows that it was an early precursor to the steam tables now found often at food buffets.

Other documented 19th century black women inventors include Judy W. Reed and Sarah Goode. Reed, from Washington, D.C., was granted a patent in 1884 for a dough kneader and roller (U.S. patent No. 305,474) and Goode, from Chicago, was granted a patent in 1885 for a folding cabinet chair (U.S. patent No. 322,177).

U.S. Exports Set Records in 2013

U.S. Exports Set Records in 2013 infographic

The United States is the world’s largest exporter and importer of goods and services, and the world’s largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI). Trade and investment are critical to the prosperity of the world’s largest economy. They fuel our economic growth, support good jobs—and spread the delivery of ideas, innovation, and American values. Trade and investment are an important engine for U.S. economic growth and jobs. With nearly 14% of U.S. GDP in 2013 accounted for by exports, and 95% of potential consumers living  broad, promoting trade and investment helps more U.S. companies compete in the global marketplace.

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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Concludes Her First Trade Mission in Mexico

Secretary Pritzker is joined by U.S. Ambassador Wayne and  Mexico's Secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal during her trade mission to Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico.

On Friday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker concluded her five-day trade mission in Monterrey, the largest business center in Mexico after Mexico City.

Among her many trade mission events, Secretary Pritzker met with Margarita Arellanes Cervantes, Mayor of Monterrey, and Jose Luis Pier Castello, President of Lowe's Mexico - one of the leading hardware chains in the world - to highlight the importance of promoting corporate social responsibility and to recognize Lowe's and other American companies doing business in Mexico for their focus on these efforts. At a Lowe's store in Monterrey, Secretary Pritzker expressed her appreciation for employee volunteerism and acknowledged the importance of companies' involvement in the communities in which they operate.

After Lowe's opened its first two stores in Monterrey in 2010, the company, began looking for ways to get involved in the Monterrey community. The company has since supported local schools with donations, volunteer time, and construction expertise. Secretary Pritzker said that Lowe's commitment to the Monterrey community reflects the values of many American companies that invest in Mexico, and that U.S. companies are committed to staying active in the region.

In addition to meeting with Mexican government officials in Monterrey, Secretary Pritzker met with employees at the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey as well as the Department of Commerce’s Monterrey team, thanking them for their public service and for their assistance in promoting Mexican investment in the United States.

Helping the Long-Term Unemployed Get Back to Work

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, delivers remarks at an event to outline new efforts to help the long-term unemployed, in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 31, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Editor's note: This has been cross-posted from the White House's Blog.

Guest Blog Post by Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement

In this year’s State of the Union address, President Obama called attention to a stubborn legacy of the Great Recession that remains despite the progress we have made in creating new jobs: a historically high number of Americans who are ready and eager to work, but have found themselves among the ranks of the long-term unemployed.

Although many of these Americans could help employers fill their hiring needs if given the chance, they often face particular barriers in getting back to work. Research shows that the long-term unemployed are frequently overlooked and sometimes excluded from job opportunities – one study found that candidates who had been out of work eight months were called back for interviews only about half as often as candidates who had been out of work one month, even with an otherwise identical résumé.

"I've heard from too many of these folks," President Obama told a group of CEOs and business leaders the week of his State of the Union address. "They fill out 100 applications, 200 applications. They’re sending out résumés, still finding time to volunteer in their community, or helping out at church. Sometimes they have more experience and education and skill than newly unemployed Americans."

"They just need that chance," he said.

BusinessUSA Recognized for Leading Innovative Collaboration to Support Businesses

Categories:
BusinessUSA

BusinessUSA was named as one of six winners yesterday for the 2014 Igniting Innovation Award, which recognizes government and industry individuals and teams who bring innovative thinking through their IT products, services, systems and solutions that benefit federal government and citizens.

Managed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration (SBA), BusinessUSA is the federal government’s official assistance resource for American businesses. The platform was launched in February 2012 to serve as a “one-stop-shop” that provides businesses and entrepreneurs with access to the full range of government services and resources available to them at every stage of development.

With thousands of federal, state and local resources, BusinessUSA makes it easier for businesses to locate, access, and utilize resources most relevant to their needs. The website also saves businesses valuable time by providing easy access to information and services through several customer service channels.

In fact, President Obama today called for the White House Rural Council, in coordination with the Commerce Department, SBA and other agencies, to utilize the BusinessUSA platform as part of a new “Made in Rural America” initiative. Specifically, the agencies were tasked with using BusinessUSA to better connect rural businesses with export and investment resources through coordinated support from across the government.