Department of Commerce

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Q3 GDP Growth More Like 2.8% Than 3.5%

Spending and home prices are up, but not enough to help jobs

(Newser) - The government’s optimistic reading of GDP growth in the 3rd quarter was distorted by a pair of rose-tinted glasses, it now says. The Commerce Department has revised its estimate down to 2.8% from 3.5% on evidence that stimulus programs like Cash for Clunkers and the homebuyers' tax... More »

Economy Shrinks Faster Than Expected in 1st Quarter

6.1% pace fueled by biz cutbacks, export drop

(Newser) - The US economy shrank at a worse-than-expected 6.1% pace at the start of this year as sharp cutbacks by businesses and the biggest drop in US exports in 40 years overwhelmed a rebound in consumer spending. Today's Commerce Department report dashed hopes that the recession's grip on the country... More »

March New Home Sales Down 0.6%

But that's good news: Numbers are actually better than expected

(Newser) - New US home sales dipped slightly last month but still beat expectations as builders start to see long-awaited encouraging signs about the housing market—including a dip in the inventory of new homes for sale. Sales fell 0.6% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 356,000,... More »

Are Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Junk?

Buyers complain that some eco-lights last hours, not years

(Newser) - Compact fluorescent light bulbs cost a little more than regular bulbs, but they’re supposed to last for 10,000 hours, cut your electric bill, and, incidentally, help save the planet. But buyers are finding a disturbing number of bulbs that last hours, not years, the New York Times reports.... More »

Senate Approves Locke as Commerce Secretary

(Newser) - The Senate today confirmed former Washington Gov. Gary Locke as commerce secretary, handing President Obama an easy victory after his first two nominees for the post withdrew. Locke, 59, was America's first Chinese-American governor, serving two terms from 1997 to 2005. He has promised to focus on job creation and... More »

Obama's Agenda Dwarfs His Staff

President's team stretched thin despite flurry of appointments

(Newser) - President Obama is filling government jobs more quickly than his predecessors, but there's so much going on that his team is still stretched thin, the Wall Street Journal reports. Obama is juggling the economic crisis, stimulus package, and two wars, all with just 43 confirmed aides. "No one since... More »

GDP Drop Worst in 26 Years

Worse than anticipated

(Newser) - The US economy contracted at a staggering 6.2% pace at the end of 2008, the worst showing in more than a quarter-century, as consumers and businesses ratcheted back spending, plunging the country deeper into recession. That's drastically worse than the 3.8% the government originally estimated, and the 5.... More »

Commerce Nom Locke a Rock Star in China

As Washington state governor, he cultivated deep trade ties

(Newser) - The third time was the charm for China—at least in terms of President Obama's picks to head the Commerce Department, reports the New York Times. Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, to be introduced today as the administration's latest nominee, brings a reputation for pragmatism, a scandal-free resume, and deep... More »

Gregg Flap Sheds Light on Perennial Census Battle

(Newser) - Judd Gregg’s flirtation with the top job at Commerce has brought the partisan battle over the US Census to the fore with just a year to go before before the official count, the New York Times reports. Most Americans may not think of the census as a political tool,... More »

Obama: Gregg's Withdrawal 'Something of a Surprise'

(Newser) - President Obama—now 0 for 2 on commerce nominations—said Judd Gregg's decision to back out today came as a "something of a surprise," the State Journal-Register of Springfield reports. "The truth, you know, Mr. Gregg approached us with interest and seemed enthusiastic," said Obama. The... More »

Deep-Red Gregg Is a Strange Fit for Obama

Commerce nom tried to get rid of agency, but is bridge to big business

(Newser) - Judd Gregg is a fairly bizarre choice for commerce secretary, Pete Engardio writes in BusinessWeek, considering the Republican senator once called for the elimination of the Commerce Department. Gregg is a true fiscal conservative, who’s voted against bills to tighten emission standards, raise taxes on gas producers, and negotiate... More »

Gregg to Take Commerce Job

NH governor will name new GOP senator

(Newser) - New Hampshire GOP Sen. Judd Gregg is accepting the post of commerce secretary, reports CNN. The state's Democratic governor has agreed to name another Republican to replace Gregg in the Senate, leaving the balance of power unchanged. If that deal hadn't been struck, Gregg would have turned down the commerce... More »

GOP Says It Will Keep Gregg's Senate Seat

Sources say Lynch would appoint interim GOP member

(Newser) - Republicans say they have a deal in place to make sure that if Barack Obama picks Judd Gregg to head the Commerce Department, they won't lose that 41st seat they need to mount a filibuster. Officials expect New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch to pick his former chief of staff Bonnie... More »

GOP Desperate to Keep Gregg in Senate

If he takes Commerce, they want NH governor to pick a Republican

(Newser) - Republicans are stepping up efforts to keep Judd Gregg from jumping to Barack Obama’s Cabinet, or, failing that, to convince New Hampshire’s Democratic governor to pick a Republican to replace him. Otherwise, Democrats would gain a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority. “It would be a loss to the Senate... More »

Caucus Pushes for Black Commerce Secretary

Obama considering Symantec CEO—and a GOP senator

(Newser) - The Congressional Black Caucus is lobbying President Obama to name a black commerce secretary. The caucus is pushing for technology executive John Thompson, CEO of software security company Symantec and an Obama contributor, to fill the post, reports the Hill. Obama has so far appointed only four African Americans to... More »

Mumbai Gets Back on Its Feet

The city returns to business as usual after terrorist attacks

(Newser) - For those who need proof of Mumbai's resilient spirit, look no further than Cafe Leopold, writes Saritha Rai of GlobalPost. It still bears bullet and grenade scars, but it is nevertheless jammed every day with tourists and local residents. "Leopold, the site of the first terrorist attack on the... More »

What Embargo? HP Printers Find Their Way to Iran

Company skirts US law with help from overseas distributor

(Newser) - HP printers have become top-sellers in Tehran, despite a 13-year embargo against US companies doing business with Iran, the Boston Globe reports. An Indian-owned distributor sells HP products in Iran, enabling it to skirt American law. But questions remain: If HP execs cut the deal with Redington Gulf knowing their... More »

Richardson-to-Commerce Pick to be Official Tomorrow

Richardson would lead economic revival policy

(Newser) - President-elect Obama is expected to announce Bill Richardson's appointment as secretary of commerce tomorrow, Reuters reports, the latest in a string of cabinet announcements. In his new role, the New Mexico governor will lead the charge to revive the nation's economy. Richardson will be the first Latino in Obama’s... More »

NY Fed Prez Lands Top Job at Treasury

Speculation about Commerce gig surrounds Richardson

(Newser) - The Obama transition team has settled on a treasury secretary nominee, NBC reports: Timothy Geithner, the president of the New York Fed. The announcement is expected to come Monday, when the president-elect will announce his entire economic team in an attempt to quell the unrest surrounding the financial markets.... More »

Recession in China Could Sink Regime

Regime worries as angry workers take to the streets

(Newser) - Beijing's grip on power in recent years has relied on a simple agreement with its citizens: "Tolerate our authoritarian rule and we'll make you rich,” writes Joshua Kurlantzick in the New Republic. But with the nation's economy on the rocks, that agreement is now breaking down. If Beijing's... More »

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