Archive for the 'Department of Commerce' Category

Bureau of Economic Analysis Releases Two New Data Sets to Deepen Understanding of U.S. Economy

In the past two days, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic  Analysis (BEA) has released two brand new sets of economic statistics that business people, entrepreneurs, policy makers, households and others can use to make more informed decisions in their professional and personal lives.

Today, BEA released new statistics that show how much consumers spent in every state and the District of Columbia last year as well as in years back to 1997.  Besides totals on the amount of consumer spending for each area, the statistics detail what goods and services consumers are actually buying – including motor vehicles, clothing, home furnishings, food, gasoline, housing and utilities, and health care and recreational services.

Here are some highlights from today’s report:

  • Total consumer spending across all states grew 4.2 percent in 2014, with growth ranging from 2.1 percent in West Virginia to 7.4 percent in North Dakota.
  • Across all states, per person (per capita) consumer spending last year was $37,196. Per person spending ranged from a high of $48,020 in Massachusetts to a low of $29,386 in Mississippi.

Yesterday, BEA released new statistics showing the amount and type of new investment made in the United States by foreign direct investors to acquire, establish or expand U.S. businesses.  These statistics covered new investments initiated in 2014 and provided details on these investments including the countries from which the new investment originates, the U.S. industries that are drawing new investments and U.S. states where new investments are located.

Some highlights from yesterday’s report:

  • Expenditures by foreign direct investors for new investment totaled $241.3 billion in 2014.  Expenditures for acquisitions were $224.7 billion—93% of the total expenditures for new investment. Expenditures to establish new U.S. businesses totaled $13.8 billion, and expenditures to expand existing foreign-owned U.S. businesses totaled $2.8 billion.
  • By U.S. state, the largest expenditures, $48.9 billion, were for U.S. businesses in California. The four U.S. states with the largest expenditures by foreign direct investors—California, New Jersey, New York, and Texas—together received over half of all new investment.

These two new data sets are just the latest examples of how BEA is producing data to deepen the public’s understanding of the U.S. economy, the centerpiece of our mission.

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

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