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Commerce Week at a Glance: 2015 Budget Edition

Tuesday, March 11, 2014  
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This week, President Obama released his FY 2015 budget request that reflects the Department's key economic and scientific role in the Administration by making critical investments in our long-term growth and competitiveness. The budget prioritizes high-tech manufacturing and innovation, U.S. trade and investment, infrastructure, skills training, unleashing government data and gathering and acting on environmental intelligence, while also cutting red tape to help businesses grow. Around Commerce this week, NOAA promoted Severe Weather Preparedness, Census announced they were changing the way they do business and ITA celebrated exports successes in Alabama. Looking ahead, Secretary Pritzker will be leading a trade mission of 21 companies to the Middle East next week. Finally, I want to extend a personal congratulations to Kathy Sullivan, who was confirmed by the Senate yesterday as the new Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere and will serve as the tenth administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Please join me in congratulating Kathy!  -Bruce

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Announces Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request - Secretary Pritzker released the fiscal year 2015 budget request for the U.S. Department of Commerce. The FY15 budget request supports and builds on President Obama’s vision for creating economic opportunity for all Americans, and includes critical funding for key Commerce priorities: promoting trade and investment, spurring innovation, and fueling our data-driven economy. The $8.8 billion FY15 budget request directly aligns with the Department’s “Open for Business Agenda,” which reflects Commerce's role as the voice of business and the Obama Administration’s focus on economic growth and job creation.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Begins Trade Mission to Middle East - Secretary Pritzker leaves today for the Middle East for her second trade mission. She will lead 21 U.S. companies on the trade mission, which is focused on export opportunities for U.S. businesses in the infrastructure sector.  This trade mission will mark the first time in 15 years a U.S. Commerce Secretary has taken a trade mission to the Persian Gulf.  The delegation will make three stops over the next week including the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

Greeley and Hansen Sees Trade Mission as Opportunity to Advance Aggressive International Growth Objectives – A guest post by John C. Robak, President & Chief Operating Officer of Greeley and Hansen, about Greeley and Hansen’s excitement to participate in the upcoming Department of Commerce Trade Mission to the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar with Secretary Pritzker and other business delegates.

NOAA Encourages Businesses and Organizations to Become Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadors During National Severe Weather Preparedness Week - As part of its commitment to build a Weather-Ready Nation, the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) launched the Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador initiative last month. NOAA’s National Weather Service is recognizing the first 100 Ambassadors during National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, March 2 to 8.

Business Sunday - The Commerce Department is proud to announce our participation in the launch of Business Sunday. This initiative is focused on connecting current and future business leaders from congregations and communities around the country with the federal resources they need to start and grow their companies.

Changing the Way We Do Business - The Census Bureau has already made changes, through the website, the application programming interface, the Web and mobile apps, and other data dissemination efforts. Yet more remains to be done. Guided by customer feedback, Census is investigating a range of ways to improve data dissemination capabilities. As they continue to improve their processes, they are excited to announce that they will be seeking a Presidential Innovation Fellow.

A Pennsylvania Mining Town Moves Beyond Toxic History of Denuded Mountains and Contaminated Creeks - After many years of collaboration by a number of organizations and individuals, today the Lehigh River is popular with rafters and Blue Mountain is home to a lush 750 acre nature preserve and a 12 lift ski resort. According to its Chamber of Commerce, Palmerton is again a growing town and making incredible progress in moving beyond the once-tainted shadow of its history.

Alabama Celebrates Export Success - At a ceremony at the State Capitol, Gov. Robert Bentley recognized eight Alabama companies that are setting a very high standard for companies competing – and succeeding – in the global marketplace. These businesses are exporting everything from audio/video equipment to machinery that helps install decorative lighting and prove every day that Made in Alabama products are some of the most innovative, highest quality products in the world. They set the example that exporting is possible for businesses of any size.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis wrote that the January 2014 trade gap is $39.1 billion and real consumer spending rose in January on their blog this week.

The January 2014 international trade deficit increased 0.3 percent from December, to $39.1 billion. Exports increased 0.6 percent, to $192.5 billion, and imports rose 0.6 percent, to $231.6 billion.

January 2014 new orders for manufactured goods decreased 0.7 percent, to $483.0 billion. Shipments decreased 0.3 percent, to $490.7 billion. Unfilled orders were virtually unchanged at $1,059.9 billion. And inventories rose 0.2 percent, to $637.7 billion.

Commerce Data in the News: Using data collected by the Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, CNN reports in an article titled “Hiring Surprisingly Stronger in February” that the U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs last month, marking an improvement from January and topping economists’ expectations. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate ticked up to 6.7 percent, from 6.6 percent the prior month, as more Americans joined the labor force.

Citing commuting statistics from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Governing magazine in their article “Cities Consider Taxing Commuters to Drive Up Revenue,” discusses cities that have a labor force living outside of where they work.

The Huffington Post gives the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey kudos for providing more reliable marriage and divorce statistics than other data sources in “Is the U.S. Divorce Rate Going Up Rather Than Going Down?

Data Releases Next Week: Monthly Wholesale Trade: January (Census); Quarterly Services: 2013 Q4 (Census); Advance Monthly Retail Sales: February (Census) Manufacturing and Trade - Inventories and Sales: January (Census)


Starting on Saturday and continuing all next week, Secretary Pritzker will lead an Infrastructure Business Development Mission to the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. The mission aims to promote U.S. exports to the Gulf region by helping U.S. companies increase their business in the infrastructure sector.

On Monday, Dr. Patrick Gallagher, NIST Director performing the duties of Deputy Secretary, will visit the Census Bureau to meet with staff and tour the facilities, including a visit to the Center for Applied Technology. Dr. Gallagher will learn more about Census’s goals and priorities and how they directly tie into the Department’s strategic plan.

On Tuesday, Bureau of Economic Analysis Director Steve Landefeld will host a users’ conference for BEA’s Industry Economic Accounts data.

On Thursday, USPTO Deputy Director Michelle Lee will speak at a roundtable on proposed changes to rules of practice to collect “attributable ownership” information for patents and applications. This initiative is one of a number of Executive Actions issued by the Administration to ensure the highest-quality patents and enhance competition by providing the public with more complete information.

Also on Thursday, Ivonne Cunarro, MBDA Senior Program Manager, will deliver remarks at a workshop hosted by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition focusing on how the rulemaking under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act could enhances access to credit for small businesses.

On Friday, NOAA's National Hurricane Center Director, Rick Knabb, will address the annual meeting of the International Hurricane Protection Association in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.  Dr. Knabb will recount the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season and discuss a new experimental storm surge flooding map that NOAA forecasters will issue for communities that find themselves in the path of a storm this 2014 hurricane season that begins June 1.


A Throwback Thursday photo of Secretary Pritzker’s first visit to NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction where she was joined by Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, the recently confirmed Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.


Secretary Pritzker appears on Morning Joe to discuss ways the Administration is working to grow the economy and create jobs.


Secretary Pritzker spotlighted the innovative advancements the Census Bureau has made in visualizing key demographic and economic statistics by introducing Census Explorer, a new interactive mapping tool, during a recent speech in Silicon Valley. Census Explorer provides easier access to income, employment and other figures from surveys such as County Business Patterns and the American Community Survey.

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