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NTIA Releases Report Furthering President’s Commitment to Identifying Spectrum for Commercial Wireless Broadband

June 18, 2015 Comments off

NTIA Releases Report Furthering President’s Commitment to Identifying Spectrum for Commercial Wireless Broadband
Source: National Telecommunications and Information Administration

NTIA Technical Report TR-15-517: 3.5 GHz Exclusion Zone Analyses and Methodology presents the assumptions, methods, analyses, and system characteristics used to generate the maps of the revised exclusion zones that NTIA submitted to the FCC in March. The report provides a description of the technical and deployment parameters of Citizens Broadband Radio Service Device access points and user equipment, technical characteristics of federal radar systems, and the analysis methodology used to compute the distances that established the revised exclusion zones. In particular, the report provides detailed descriptions of the propagation and clutter loss models used to predict transmission loss in a variety of scenarios and the computational methods used to predict aggregate interference power.

USDoC OIG — Investigation into Alleged Contracting Misconduct and Exertion of Improper Influence Involving a Senior National Weather Service Official

June 12, 2015 Comments off

Investigation into Alleged Contracting Misconduct and Exertion of Improper Influence Involving a Senior National Weather Service Official (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Inspector General

Based on the evidence obtained over the course of our investigation, the OIG identified numerous problems related to the retention of Senior Official as a consultant for NWS that indicate a lack of understanding on the part of multiple NOAA officials regarding key government contracting and ethics regulations.

As for the actions of Senior Official himself, the OIG concluded that he was personally and substantially involved in the procurement of his own post-retirement consulting services for NWS. This involvement implicated numerous federal laws and regulations, including the criminal conflict-of-interest statute found in 18 U.S.C. § 208. Specifically, the evidence obtained over the course of our investigation establishes that Senior Official engaged in the following while still holding his position as a federal employee:

+ Drafted and edited the applicable statement of work for his post-retirement consulting position;
+ Participated with NWS officials in setting what labor category and rates would be used to pay for his consulting services; and
+ Signed the task management plan that created the consulting position he would take upon his retirement on behalf of the contractor that would be employing him.

In addition, the evidence indicates that Senior Official took inappropriate steps to arrange for the payment by NOAA of approximately $50,000 worth of his post-retirement housing expenses. In particular, while still holding his government position, Senior Official instructed his direct subordinate to facilitate his post-retirement use of a NOAA housing contract intended to accommodate senior executives on temporary assignments to NOAA headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, even though Senior Official was not eligible for housing under this contract once he became a consultant.

Sacramento Tops Large Counties in Employment Growth Rate

May 1, 2015 Comments off

Sacramento Tops Large Counties in Employment Growth Rate
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Among the 50 largest counties with the most employees, Sacramento, Calif., had the highest rate of employment growth among all sectors between 2012 and 2013 (up 5.5 percent to 428,475), according to new U.S. Census Bureau statistics released today. Sacramento was followed by two Texas counties: Travis (up 4.9 percent to 514,749) and Harris (up 4.7 percent to 2.0 million). Annual payroll in Sacramento rose 9.9 percent to $20.9 billion for the same period.

Delaware led all states in rate of employment growth between 2012 and 2013 with employment levels climbing 5.1 percent to 382,128, followed by Washington (up 3.5 percent to 2.4 million) and California (a 3.5 percent increase to 13.4 million). Payroll in Delaware increased 6.7 percent to $19.5 billion.

Nationally, employment in the information sector (NAICS 51) of the nation’s economy rose 4.1 percent between 2012 and 2013 to 3.3 million, besting every other sector in rate of growth. The sector also saw its payroll rise 7.0 percent to $273.3 billion and its payroll per employee climb 2.8 percent to $83,677.

Realizing the Potential of the American Community Survey: Challenges, Tradeoffs, and Opportunities

April 29, 2015 Comments off

Realizing the Potential of the American Community Survey: Challenges, Tradeoffs, and Opportunities
Source: National Research Council

The American Community Survey (ACS) was conceptualized as a replacement to the census long form, which collected detailed population and housing data from a sample of the U.S. population, once a decade, as part of the decennial census operations. The long form was traditionally the main source of socio-economic information for areas below the national level. The data provided for small areas, such as counties, municipalities, and neighborhoods is what made the long form unique, and what makes the ACS unique today. Since the successful transition from the decennial long form in 2005, the ACS has become an invaluable resource for many stakeholders, particularly for meeting national and state level data needs. However, due to inadequate sample sizes, a major challenge for the survey is producing reliable estimates for smaller geographic areas, which is a concern because of the unique role fulfilled by the long form, and now the ACS, of providing data with a geographic granularity that no other federal survey could provide. In addition to the primary challenge associated with the reliability of the estimates, this is also a good time to assess other aspects of the survey in order to identify opportunities for refinement based on the experience of the first few years.

Realizing the Potential of the American Community Survey provides input on ways of improving the ACS, focusing on two priority areas: identifying methods that could improve the quality of the data available for small areas, and suggesting changes that would increase the survey’s efficiency in responding to new data needs. This report considers changes that the ACS office should consider over the course of the next few years in order to further improve the ACS data. The recommendations of Realizing the Potential of the American Community Survey will help the Census Bureau improve performance in several areas, which may ultimately lead to improved data products as the survey enters its next decade.

NIST Releases Draft Community Resilience Planning Guide for Public Review

April 27, 2015 Comments off

NIST Releases Draft Community Resilience Planning Guide for Public Review
Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today issued a draft guide to help communities plan for and act to keep windstorms, floods, earthquakes, sea-level rise, industrial mishaps and other hazards from inflicting disastrous consequences.

NIST is requesting public feedback on the draft Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure, which Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Acting NIST Director Willie May unveiled during a workshop at Texas Southern University in Houston today.

The official first version of the guide will be released this fall and updated periodically as new building standards and research results become available and as communities gain experience using the guide and recommend improvements.

2012 Economic Census Geographic Area Series: First Release of Data for Transportation and Warehousing Sector

April 20, 2015 Comments off

2012 Economic Census Geographic Area Series: First Release of Data for Transportation and Warehousing Sector
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

This is a series of national-, state-, county-, place- and metro area-level data files providing statistics on the number of establishments, receipts or revenue, payroll, number of employees and other items by industry. The first data were released today for the transportation and warehousing sector and includes statistics for industries such as air, rail and water transportation, as well as warehousing and storage. Covers Colorado, Hawaii and geographic areas therein only. Statistics for the other states and geographic entities within them for this sector will be released on a flow basis over the coming months.

New Estimates of Value of Land of the United States

April 15, 2015 Comments off

New Estimates of Value of Land of the United States (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Land is an important and valuable natural resource, serving both as a store of wealth and as an input in production. Previous attempts to measure the value of land of the United States have focused on indirect measures, inferring values based on the difference between the market value of real property and the replacement value of structures, and have not counted the entirety of the land area of the United States. Instead, this paper takes hedonic estimates of land prices in various locations and interpolates these values to a mosaic of parcels, census tracts, and counties of various sizes in the contiguous (lower 48) United States plus the District of Columbia. Estimates suggest that this 1.89 billion acres of land are collectively worth approximately $23 trillion in 2009 (current prices), with 24% of the land area and $1.8 trillion of the value held by the federal government.

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