U.S. Department of Labor graphic: 1.7 Million jobs added to the American economy since January 2017

Dec 8th, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced that 228,000 jobs were added to the American economy in November, and 1.7 million jobs have been added since January of this year. This marks a 17-year low for unemployment at 4.1%. In addition, the unemployment rate in manufacturing dropped to 2.6% – the lowest rate recorded since BLS began measuring it in 2000.

Last week, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced in their latest estimate that the U.S. gross domestic product grew at a 3.3 percent pace in their third quarter of 2017 – faster than their initial estimate of 3.0 percent – and personal income increased by 0.4 percent in October 2017, marking the second month in a row that personal income increased by 0.4 percent.

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1 Million to Support Business Startups in Keokuk

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross today announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1 million grant to the city of Keokuk, Iowa, to renovate an office building that will house startup companies. According to grantee estimates, the project is expected to create or retain 75 jobs and spur $3 million in private investment.

“President Trump is working diligently every day to help empower our nation’s entrepreneurs who are the engine of job creation,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The renovated Roquette building will attract and support new companies that will boost the region’s economic growth.”

The project will help to renovate the former Roquette office building to support the expansion of emerging startup companies in southeast Iowa. It serves as an opportunity for area grain processing businesses as well as entrepreneurs to be close to clustered industries and expand in the region. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission. EDA funds Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.

Statement From Secretary Ross And Secretary Mnuchin Following The U.S. – China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue

Upon completion of the first meeting of the U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue, Co-Chairs Secretary Wilbur Ross and Secretary Steven Mnuchin released the following statement:

“We thank Vice Premier Wang and the Chinese delegation for making the journey to Washington for this first session of the U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue.

“We also extend our gratitude to Secretary Perdue, Ambassador Lighthizer, Ambassador Branstad, Chair Yellen and Director Cohn for their participation in these meetings.
“China acknowledged our shared objective to reduce the trade deficit which both sides will work cooperatively to achieve.

“Since the Presidential Summit, the first 100 days made progress on important issues including credit ratings, bond clearing, electronic payments, commercial banking, and liquefied natural gas. Also, this is the first time since 2003 that the Chinese have allowed for imports of American beef.

“The principles of balance, fairness, and reciprocity on matters of trade will continue to guide the American position so we can give American workers and businesses an opportunity to compete on a level playing field. We look to achieving the important goals set forth by President Trump this past April in Mar-a-Lago.”

U.S. Department of Commerce Makes $30 Million Available to Assist America’s Coal Communities

To support locally-driven efforts in coal country to spur job growth, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross today announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has published a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) making $30 million in funds available to assist coal communities through the 2017 Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC 2017) initiative.

“The Trump administration is working every day to help America’s coal industry, its workers, and their communities,” said Secretary Ross. “This funding is one element of a government-wide effort to restore American jobs, and renew the areas hardest hit by misguided regulations.”

Since taking office, President Trump and his Administration have reversed regulations that have drastically squeezed the American energy sector, eliminated constricting energy restrictions that would have shackled the United States’ economy under the Paris climate change accord, blocked the EPA’s and other agencies needless war on coal, and, in conjunction with Congress, acted swiftly to roll back many of the burdensome regulations and laws which have strangled many American communities.

These critical policy shifts have resulted in a better deal for coal country and tangible results for American workers who have gone ignored for far too long.

The $30 million in ACC 2017 funds available for application are targeted to directly assist communities and regions severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development and re-employment opportunities. Under the ACC 2017 initiative, EDA is seeking applications for projects and activities that will:

  • Support the creation of new businesses and jobs in a variety of industry sectors,
  • Create or implement economic diversification strategies targeting affected workers and businesses,
  • Develop a business incubator program,
  • Enhance access to and use of broadband services to support job growth,
  • Facilitate access to private capital investment, and provide related capacity building and technical assistance, or
  • Promote market access for goods and services created and manufactured by businesses in the impacted community/region.

Under the ACC 2017 initiative, the term coal economy is used to refer to the complete ecosystem of coal-reliant industries and businesses. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Coal Mining; and/or
  • Coal-Fired Power Plants; and/or
  • Related Transportation, and/or Logistics, and/or Supply Chain Manufacturing Industries.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to refer to the NOFA on grants.gov for more details on the ACC 2017 funding, including eligibility, matching-fund requirements, and other information.

For additional information about ACC 2017, please visit the EDA’s ACC 2017 webpage at: www.eda.gov/coal.

Foreign Direct Investment: Driving Global Competitiveness and Innovation

Graphic on Direct Employment by Majority Foreign-Owned Firms in the United States.

The following is a cross-post from the U.S. Economic and Development Administration

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) plays an important role in the U.S. economy. It leads to the creation of jobs, an increase in wealth and living standards, and overall growth and innovation that drive the U.S. economic competitiveness. Later this month, the Commerce Department will host the 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit providing a platform to communicate economic priorities and affirm the United States as the number one destination in the world for foreign direct investment.

The United States remains an attractive destination for FDI for a variety of reasons, including a large consumer base, a productive workforce, a highly innovative environment, and legal protections. As a result, foreign firms make investments in the United States on a regular basis by establishing new operations, purchasing existing operations of another company, or providing additional capital to their existing U.S. operations.

The U.S. welcomes foreign investment, and the numbers show that investors have confidence in the opportunities here. With a population of 320 million and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that’s over $18 trillion, our nation is home to more FDI stock than any other country.

The numbers paint the big picture:

  • 12.1 million jobs are attributable to FDI.
  • 6.4 million reflects the number of U.S. workers who are directly employed by majority foreign-owned firms.
  • 2.4 million includes jobs attributable to the economic activity of majority foreign-owned firms, including jobs in those firms’ supply chains, jobs attributable to higher incomes, and other economic effects.
  • In the manufacturing sector alone, productivity growth from technology spillovers associated with FDI contributed 3.5 million jobs.

At the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administratoin (EDA), FDI is one of our investment priorities. These priorities are designed to provide an overarching framework to guide the agency’s investment portfolio and ensure its investments contribute the strongest positive impact on sustainable regional economic growth and diversification.

Since FY2011, EDA invested more than $109 million in 91 projects to help advance local strategies to attract FDI. Of the total, 61 projects totaling close to $98 million are expected to create and/or retain 30,073 jobs and attract over $8 billion in private investment. The other 30 projects totaling close to $12 million support FDI-related planning, research, technical assistance, access to capital, and/or other activities that are essential for successful economic development and job creation in the future.
Examples that show how EDA is investing to support FDI include:

  • Mississippi: Mississippi State University’s Canton-based office received the Mississippi Economic Development Council’s Community Economic Development Award for its work to bring advanced manufacturing jobs back to America. The program acquired its initial funding through EDA. According to the University, the initiative resulted in a nearly $11 million economic impact, with more than 33 direct investment opportunities identified and 333 jobs created or saved. Additionally, the program saw 262 industry certifications and 221 paid internships in high-demand advanced manufacturing skills.
  • Georgia: Over the last three decades, the global automotive sector has established a noticeable presence in the Southeast United States. From Mercedes in Alabama, to BMW in South Carolina, many automotive manufacturers are seeking to take advantage of the Southeast’s comparatively inexpensive cost of doing business, warm climate, and excellent transportation networks. In 2015, EDA invested $700,000 in Public Works Program funds in the city of Lavonia, Georgia, to make sewer systems improvements that helped bring a foreign-based automotive parts manufacturer to the region. As a result, it is estimated that the region will gain 400 new manufacturing jobs and attract $54 million in foreign direct investment.

Statement from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on the GDP Growth in the First Quarter of 2017

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross issued the following statement today on the release of the real gross domestic product (GDP) quarterly growth by the Department of Commerce. In the first quarter of 2017, the GDP increased 0.7 percent, according to the advance estimate released. Since the first quarter of 2016 the year-over-year increase in real GDP was 1.9 percent. The increase in real GDP reflected increases in business investment, exports, housing investment, and consumer spending.

“We need the President’s tax plan, regulatory relief, trade renegotiations and the unleashing of American energy sector to overcome the dismal economy inherited by the Trump Administration,” said Secretary Ross. “Business and consumer sentiment is strong, but both must be released from the regulatory and tax shackles constraining economic growth.”

The increase in business investment reflected growths in both structures and equipment, notably a significant surge in mining exploration, shafts, and wells. The increase in exports reflected an increase in nondurable industrial supplies and materials.

During the first quarter of 2017, overall mining exploration shafts and wells accounted for 0.54 of the .7 increase in GDP. This was driven by a 449 percent increase in private fixed investment since the fourth quarter of 2016. The percent change from quarter to quarter within this sector is the greatest ever recorded, the next closest occurred in the fourth quarter of 1981, when the percent change was 192 percent. The growth rate for total footage drilled from the fourth quarter of 2016 to the first of 2017 was 533 percent.

Administration action, including approval of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines.

Just today, President Trump signed an executive order which will allow the review of the Continental Shelf for offshore oil and gas exploration as well as review the regulations and permitting process for development and seismic research. Currently 94% of these off-shore areas are closed for exploration and production which deprives our country of potentially thousands of jobs and billions in wealth.

Other Administrative accomplishments have begun to loosen the burdensome regulations which have handicapped American businesses. It is estimated that President Trump’s pro-growth actions, including signing into law 13 Congressional Review Acts removing harmful Obama-era regulations, could generate more than $18 billion in annual regulatory savings for businesses, investors, and consumers. American corporations and workers have reaped the rewards of these policies; since President Trump was inaugurated several companies announced additional domestic investments including Charter Communications’ $25 billion investment which would lead to jobs for 20,000 American workers in the next four years, and Exxon Mobil Corporation $20 billion’s investment that would create more than 45,000 jobs.

The increase in consumer spending reflected an escalation in spending on services that was offset by a decrease in motor vehicle purchases. Private inventory investment, federal government spending, and state and local government spending subtracted from growth.

Prices of goods and services purchased by U.S. residents increased 2.6 percent in the first quarter of 2017. Excluding food and energy, prices increased 2.3 percent in the first quarter of 2017.

Perry Sworn in as 14th Secretary of United States Department of Energy

WASHINGTON – Former Texas Governor Rick Perry was sworn in on March 2, 2017, as the 14th Secretary of the United States Department of Energy.

“It is an honor and privilege to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Energy. As Secretary, I will advocate and promote American energy in all forms. America has been blessed with vast natural resources and the technology to utilize them. I am committed to helping provide stable, reliable, affordable, and secure sources of American energy. An American first energy strategy is important to create jobs and grow the economy.

“I am also committed to maintaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent while reducing the threat of nuclear proliferation. We will also continue the important mission of carrying out the environmental clean-up from the Cold War nuclear mission,” said Secretary Perry.
“I have a long record of aggressively courting leading scientific minds to set forth innovation, solutions, and job creation strategies. Our scientists and labs are the envy of the world, and I am a major proponent of maintaining American leadership in the area of scientific inquiry.”

During Perry’s 14 years as Governor, he proved economic growth and increased energy production can be accomplished alongside caring for the environment. During his tenure, Texas created 2.2 million jobs.

Texas led the nation in energy production — not just in oil and gas, but also in wind energy. Texas now produces more wind energy than all but six countries in the world.
Under his leadership, Texas reduced its carbon footprint by 17%, reduced sulfur dioxide by 56%, and nitrogen oxide by 66%. Despite having a rapidly growing population and one of the largest petrochemical refining industries in the world, Texas saw its air quality improve.

Perry brings the executive experience and management skills honed during his time as governor to the leadership of the Department of Energy.

Perry is a veteran of the United States Air Force. He married his childhood sweetheart, Anita, in 1982. They have two children and two granddaughters.

Follow Secretary Perry on Twitter.