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New Commerce Study Shows Women-Owned Businesses Making History but Still Significantly Less Likely to Win Federal Contracts

On Wednesday, March 2, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that for the first time, the goal of ensuring that women-owned businesses are awarded at least five percent of the federal government contracts for which they are eligible has been reached.1 SBA celebrated the news but noted that it plans to build on this achievement, as women-owned businesses are still under-represented when it comes to winning government contracts.

BEA Data Provide a Look into America's Shopping Carts

Consumer Spending GraphicAmerica's consumers spent more than $12 trillion last year on all kinds of stuff, including new cars, furniture, clothes, groceries, beauty products, electronics, visits to doctors and dentists, and tickets to sporting events and movies.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis produces a slew of data on what people buy and how much they spend.  It's a critical piece of economic information.  Consumer spending is a major shaper of the overall U.S. economy, accounting for more than two-thirds of GDP.  Beyond that, the statistics can help entrepreneurs and other business people make more informed decisions, offering insights into shoppers' buying behavior.

My First Year as Chief Data Officer

U.S. Department of Commerce Hosts First Commerce Data Advisory Committee Meeting in April, 2015This week marks my first anniversary as the US Commerce Department's first-ever Chief Data Officer. This past year was challenging.  But it was also an incredible opportunity to stand in the pilot-house of "America's Data Agency" and chart a new course that strengthened the agency's hugely important operations.  As I reflect on the past year, I want to share a personal reflection on the major roadblocks, lessons and accomplishments we've experienced.

Opportunity Data Set Powered by U.S. Census Bureau Information

U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Megan Smith, introduces Census Bureau Director John Thompson at Announcement of the Opportunity Project at the White HouseThis afternoon, I attended the launch of the Opportunity Project at the White House. The Opportunity Project is an initiative from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that uses Census Bureau data to help cities and local governments use new, curated, open data to account for how they use federal housing dollars.

Natural Capital Website Unveiled Following Conclusion of Business Roundtables

Commerce Department Chief Economist Ellen Hughes-Cromwick Unveils Natural Capital Website at National Summit hosted by World Bank.The U.S. Department of Commerce created and unveiled a natural capital website to provide resources and information to businesses seeking to incorporate natural capital into their planning and operations. Natural capital refers to the Earth's stock of natural resources – air, water, soil, and living resources – that provide a range of goods and services on which the global economy depends.

A Look at How Commerce Data Fuels Innovation

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker Tours Exhibit at PayPal's Headquarters in San JoseThe U.S. Commerce Department is responsible for producing troves of data – including weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), patent applications from the Patent and Trademark Office, demographic information from the Census Bureau, economic data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and export data from the International Trade Administration. This data is the foundation for innovative ideas from the private sector. And during a trip to Silicon Valley on Feb 26, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker saw firsthand how businesses, both established and startups alike, rely on Commerce data to fuel their ideas.

Analytics.usa.gov: Now with Agency-Specific Dashboards

Editor's note: This blog was originally posted on digitalgov.gov

We've added agency-specific dashboards to analytics.usa.gov!

Screenshot of Analytics.usa.gov Homepage

Starting today, you'll see a dropdown from the main analytics.usa.gov page that allows you to view the same dashboard, but filtered for websites that are administered by one of 10 specific agencies:

Growing a Data Driven Government - The Commerce Data Academy

Photo of training class.As "America's Data Agency", the U.S. Commerce Department has made open data a central part of its mission.  Over the last year, the department has taken a number of steps to move this mission forward, including the hiring of a Chief Data Officer, Deputy Chief Data Officer and Chief Data Scientist. Last fall, the department also formally launched the Commerce Data Service, an in-house data science and consulting service, to help maximize the value of the vast data resources across the department. 

Innovation @ BEA: Exploring New Data Projects

Man pressing airplane icon.BEA is working on a variety of projects this year to bring new economic statistics your way. The goal is to give business people, policymakers and households additional tools to make informed decisions and deepen their understanding of the U.S. economy. At this point, it's too early for us to say exactly when these new statistics will be introduced, but here's a look at what we're planning.

Visualizing Atmospheric Rivers

Editor's Note: The Commerce Data Service recently launched the Commerce Data Usability Project to feature tutorials and case studies in order to assist data scientists, programmers, researchers and other data users access and utilize a range of Commerce Department datasets. As part of this project, a number of external organizations are sharing tutorials illustrating their innovative use of Commerce data. In the guest blog below, Mapbox explains how to visualize NOAA precipitable water data. To learn more about this project, visit www.commerce.gov/datausability.

Atmospheric Rivers (AR) are narrow regions in the atmosphere that transport water across the world. Like a river suspended in the air, these phenomena carry moisture from the humid tropics to temperate areas, where it has the potential to fall as rain or snow. ARs can range in size, and we depend on them to resupply water reserves. However, when a large AR stalls over an area, it also can bring the risk of heavy, damaging rainfalls and flooding.

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