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Economic Briefing Blog

The New Spirit of Sustainable Business: Prosper by 'Doing Good' as Commerce Department Launches First of Five Natural Capital Business Round Tables

Nature provides several trillion dollars' worth of inputs and services vital to long-term business success – indeed, one study shows our global 'natural living infrastructure' produces $21-72 trillion in annual goods and services.  However, because clean water and air; fertile soil; buffers to floods, droughts, fires, and extreme weather are not traded or sold in the marketplace, their value has been largely unaccounted for in business decisions and market transactions. 

Reinvesting in America’s Supply Chain Innovation

Photo taken during a field trip to Itron, one of several companies we visited.It's springtime, and during this season of growth and renewal another important renaissance is underway: a remarkable resurgence in American manufacturing.  Powering this growth are the small- and medium-sized businesses that comprise the U.S. manufacturing supply chain. 

Data Snapshot: Which states are leading the way in manufacturing and which pay the most?

Just over one week ago, the U.S. Census Bureau's Economic Census staff released new manufacturing statistics for more than 350 manufacturing industries at the state and local level. California led the way with number of establishments (38,741) and employees (1.2 million) -- and was second only to Texas in the value of shipments from manufacturing establishments ($512.3 billion). 

Data Snapshot of the Week: Baby, It's Cold Outside

Figure 1. House Heating ChartWhat are the coldest locations in the United States, and what heating sources do residents in those chilly climes rely upon to warm up their homes?

Businesses Commit to Alleviate Their Suppliers’ Capital Costs

Photo of Susan HelperA recently released Department of Commerce report, "The Economic Benefits of Reducing Supplier Working Capital Costs," highlighted how much the viability of our nation's supply chain depends on large firms paying on time.  Our small manufacturing firms—which account for more than 1/3 of manufacturing shipments and close to half of employment—fa

The Value of Government Weather and Climate Data

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) collects weather and climate data. As we noted in a recent Commerce Department report on the Value of Government Data, the return to society on investment in government meteorological data is large.

Who is Buying American? Considering U.S. Exports

U.S. goods exports reached over 200 countries in 2013. Some buy more, others buy less, but all buy from America. At first blush, our export markets appear fairly concentrated, geographically speaking (see Figure 1 below). For example, Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, and Germany—our top 5 export markets measured by the value of exports in 2013—collectively captured almost half of the $1.6 trillion in U.S. goods exports, and the top 20 goods export markets as of 2013, captured 78 percent of U.S. export value.

Recent U.S. Export Trends and Foreign Economic Growth

U.S. exports have continued to grow and reach record levels in each of the last few years.  Moreover, forecasters such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predict that the world economy will strengthen in the next couple of years, which should further boost U.S. exports.  Today’s blog examines the potential impact of the economies of our trading partners on U.S. exports.

Earnings of New Hires in Manufacturing: Wage Benefits Continue

Recent data confirms previous findings by the Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA): new hires in manufacturing continue to earn an average of 38 percent more than their counterparts in non-manufacturing jobs, according to 2012 data. 

Measuring Bytes across Borders

Digitally-deliverable services such as banking and telecommunications are important contributors to U.S. trade and the overall trade balance. When these services are considered as inputs throughout the production process, their value is even more apparent. Virtually no good or service is produced in the United States without input from one of the many digitally-deliverable services. Furthermore, the recent trend towards increased digitization shows no signs of slowing down.

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