Posts Tagged 'Department of Commerce'

Announcing the Commerce Data Service

data servicesThe Department of Commerce provides valuable services and data products that fuel the modern technology services Americans rely on every day.  These data sets include information on technological innovation from the Patent and Trademark Office, demographic and economic data from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, export data from the International Trade Administration, and information on natural phenomena from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  This is why we call the Department of Commerce “America’s Data Agency.”

However, as technology constantly and rapidly advances, people across the country are using public and private sector data in new and exciting ways to drive their businesses and improve society. The vast data resources at the Department of Commerce are contributing to this technological growth. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker recognized this as an opportunity and challenged the Federal government to innovate with data to improve the way we deliver to our customers, the American people.

Consider these opportunities for improving our data to positively impact America’s competitiveness:

  • How should we connect businesses with growth opportunities through data science on U.S. exports in order to improve America’s competitiveness abroad and also improve data-driven decision-making of policy-makers?
  • How should we integrate disparate income data and develop a new engagement technology platform in order to help different groups of people to better understand and take action on relevant issues?
  • How should we build a suite of products to improve the data architecture and systems for delivering patent data to the public in order to help businesses to more easily safeguard and discovery intellectual property?
  • How should we invent and deploy a service that overcomes the pervasive and systemic absence of data standards in order to integrate data from across government Bureaus in order to increase the accessibility, dissemination and use of government data and maximize the positive impacts of Department of Commerce data on society?
  • How should we develop and aggregate use cases, tutorials, and technology user interfaces for processing, analyzing and visualizing Commerce data like oceanic and atmospheric forecasts in order to drive up the consumption of Commerce data for public benefit and increase the integration of Commerce data by businesses to help fuel their growth?

All of these are not just data challenges, but also business challenges.  That’s why the Department of Commerce is excited to announce a new initiative to deliver these kinds of solutions: the Commerce Data Service.

Built in the spirit of America’s entrepreneurial technology ventures, the Commerce Data Service is a start-up within government, that consists of diverse team of top-notch designers, developers, software engineers and data scientists. We are passionate about our mission, building new tools, and delivering improved ways to get work done.  We are agile product developers transforming government services by building world-class software products and raising standards of software development throughout the Department of Commerce. Through partnerships with the twelve bureaus that make up the Commerce Department, the Data Service will deliver products and services to help government agencies better deliver information to their customers.

To help this initiative get off the ground, I am pleased to announce that the Department has hired Dr. Tyrone Grandison to lead our team as the Deputy Chief Data Officer.  Dr. Grandison brings a wealth of experience as an entrepreneur, consultant and software engineer, most recently serving at the Department of Labor as a Presidential Innovation Fellow.

Now we’re actively recruiting data experts, from outside and inside government, from three general professional areas:

  1. Front-End Developers – experience with interface design & development, search engine optimization, and interactive and static visualization.
  2. Back-End Engineers – experience with Extract-Transform-Load (ETL), distributed data systems, devops, and Application Programming Interface (API) construction.
  3. Data Scientists – experience with machine learning, predictive algorithms, and visualization.

If you are an expert data geek, there is no better way to have a giant impact while improving our government than to join the Commerce Data Service.  For more information, and to submit your resume for potential employment consideration, please visit

What is the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis?

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, a unit of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is the federal agency responsible for measuring the U.S. economy, or as some say, BEA is the nation’s accountant. It is responsible for measuring what is produced, what is earned, and how it is spent.  BEA is well known as one of the world’s premier economic statistical agencies, producing some of the most closely watched economic indicators and leading the way in cutting-edge macroeconomic measurement.

Each month, the Bureau pulls together a wealth of data from the public and private sector to provide a comprehensive and consistent picture of economic activity for the nation as a whole and for its various sectors. In addition, the Bureau produces data on U.S. economic interactions with the rest of the world, such as trade and international investment.  These data are considered among the most timely, relevant, and accurate in the world.

BEA is somewhat unique among federal agencies in that it is made up of, and lead by, an entirely career staff; it employs no political appointees. This is done, in part, to ensure the integrity and the perception of the integrity of the nation’s key economic indicators.

The data that BEA produces allow businesses, agencies, researchers, and the American people to better understand what is going on in the U.S. economy. That information is used by people to make financial decisions like whether to buy a home, while businesses rely on the data to make decisions about capital investments and hiring.
BEA produces a wide variety of economic statistics through its national, international, regional, and industry accounts. Probably the most common and one of the most important is gross domestic product, or GDP.  GDP is the measure of the total value of all final goods and services produced within the United States during a given period of time. It looks at the activity of consumers, businesses, government agencies, and imports and exports. It is the primary measure of growth in the economy. In the first quarter of 2012, GDP exceeded $15 trillion. (Adjusted for inflation, GDP topped $13.5 trillion.)  
GDP and the related BEA accounts are used for a wide variety of economic policy purposes. 

For example:

  • GDP accounts are used by the Administration and Congress to prepare the federal budget projections.  
  • GDP accounts are used by the Federal Reserve Board to formulate monetary policy. Two of the most important variables guiding monetary policy are real GDP growth and inflation as measured by BEA’s personal consumption expenditures price index.
  • BEA regional data are used to distribute more than $327 billion in federal funds for Medicaid, Title I Education Grants, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and other programs to state and local governments.

In addition to GDP, BEA produces other economic indicators and posts them on its Web site.  You can explore these statistics through the interactive data tables or through the archive of the Survey of Current Business, the Bureau’s monthly journal.