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New Commerce Department Report Shows Broadband Adoption Rises but Digital Divide Persists

November 10, 2011 Comments off

New Commerce Department Report Shows Broadband Adoption Rises but Digital Divide Persists
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration

The Department of Commerce’s Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today released a report, “Exploring the Digital Nation,” that analyzes broadband Internet adoption in the United States. Overall, approximately seven out of ten households in the United States subscribe to broadband service. The report finds a strong correlation between broadband adoption and socio-economic factors, such as income and education, but says these differences do not explain the entire broadband adoption gap that exists along racial, ethnic, and geographic lines. Even after accounting for socio-economic differences, certain minority and rural households still lag in broadband adoption.

The report analyzes data collected through an Internet Use supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS) of about 54,300 households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in October 2010. Earlier this year, NTIA released initial findings from the survey, showing that while virtually all demographic groups have increased adoption of broadband Internet at home since the prior year, historic disparities among demographic groups remain. Today’s report presents broadband adoption statistics after adjusting for various socio-economic differences.

+ Full Report (PDF)

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Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation

August 6, 2011 Comments off

Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation
Source: Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce

Our science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce is crucial to America’s innovative capacity and global competitiveness. Yet women are vastly underrepresented in STEM jobs and among STEM degree holders despite making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce and half of the college-educated workforce. That leaves an untapped opportunity to expand STEM employment in the United States, even as there is wide agreement that the nation must do more to improve its competitiveness.

  • Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs. This has been the case throughout the past decade, even as college-educated women have increased their share of the overall workforce.
  • Women with STEM jobs earned 33 percent more than comparable women in non-STEM jobs – considerably higher than the STEM premium for men. As a result, the gender wage gap is smaller in STEM jobs than in non-STEM jobs.
  • Women hold a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees, particularly in engineering.
  • Women with a STEM degree are less likely than their male counterparts to work in a STEM occupation; they are more likely to work in education or healthcare.

There are many possible factors contributing to the discrepancy of women and men in STEM jobs, including: a lack of female role models, gender stereotyping, and less family-friendly flexibility in the STEM fields. Regardless of the causes, the findings of this report provide evidence of a need to encourage and support women in STEM.

+ Full Report (PDF)

New Commerce Department Report Shows Fast-Growing STEM Jobs Offer Higher Pay, Lower Unemployment

July 25, 2011 Comments off

New Commerce Department Report Shows Fast-Growing STEM Jobs Offer Higher Pay, Lower Unemployment
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administraton

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) today released a new report that profiles U.S. employment in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future offers an inside look at workers who are driving our nation’s innovation and competitiveness and helping America win the future with new ideas, new companies and new industries.

In 2010, 7.6 million people or 5.5 percent of the labor force worked in STEM occupations. Key findings from the new report show that over the past 10 years, growth in STEM jobs was three times greater than that of non-STEM jobs, and STEM jobs are expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than other jobs in the coming decade. Meanwhile, STEM workers are also less likely to experience joblessness.

“This report profiles the fast-growing, productive STEM workforce and illustrates how we can win the future by encouraging the pursuit of 21st century jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “STEM jobs are essential to a competitive, innovative and technologically advanced U.S. economy.”

Further findings show STEM workers command higher wages, earning 26 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts. STEM degree holders also enjoy higher earnings, regardless of whether they work in STEM or non-STEM occupations. Likewise, college graduates – no matter what their major – enjoy an earnings premium for having a STEM job. “A STEM education is a pathway to prosperity – not just for you as an individual but for America as a whole,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said.

Economic Indicator Preview: Retail Sales – Everything is Bigger in Texas

July 13, 2011 Comments off

Economic Indicator Preview: Retail Sales – Everything is Bigger in Texas
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics & Statistics Administration

Thursday, the U.S. Census Bureau will release its advance June estimates of retail sales data. Retail sales capture a major portion of overall consumer spending, and thus a major part of GDP, and the June data will complete the snapshot for the second quarter of 2011. While the monthly retail sales figures justifiably receive a great deal of attention, the Census Bureau has other, less prominent statistical data that also enrich our knowledge of the retail sector and the economy as a whole.

The Census Bureau’s Business Register draws on the Bureau’s economic censuses and current business surveys, quarterly and annual federal income and payroll tax records, and other Departmental and federal statistics and administrative records to provide a continuously updated set of information on more than 7.4 million U.S. business establishments. Together, these data provide a binocular view into the economic landscape. To illustrate its value, let’s return to two retail topics we have visited in prior blogs and see what additional insights we can gather.

We looked at the ongoing shift in spending to big-box retailing, particularly at warehouse clubs and superstores. These stores are one part of a broader grouping of retailers called “general merchandise stores” because they sell a variety of goods. Department stores are also general merchandise stores. Warehouse clubs and superstores have boomed in recent years, growing to 4,482 in 2009 and employing 1.4 million workers. Going back 10 years earlier, there were only about 1,800 of these stores. The state with the most warehouse clubs and superstores? Texas (I guess when they say everything is bigger in Texas, they weren’t kidding).

U.S. Trade in Private Services

May 12, 2011 Comments off

U.S. Trade in Private Services
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics & Statistics Administration

U .S. exports of private services exceed a half trillion dollars, and account for nearly one third of all U.S. exports of goods and services.

  • Growth in exports of services has outpaced the rise in imports. The U.S. trade surplus in services rose to a total of $168.0 billion in 2010. The surplus has grown quickly since 2003, rising $101.2 billion.
  • Financial and business services contribute the most to the U.S. surplus, though fees for software and industrial process licenses, other royalties, and education services also contribute significantly.
  • The surplus in travel and passenger fares increased $29.8 billion from 2003 to 2010.
  • The largest U.S. surpluses in services by country are with Canada, Japan, Ireland, Brazil, the United Kingdom, China, and Mexico.
  • The U.S. services surplus with China has accelerated rapidly since 2007, from $2.4 billion to $10.4 billion in 2010, because of sharp gains in exports and relatively flat imports. Gains have been realized across all categories of services.
  • The largest U.S. services deficit is with Bermuda, which is a major source of U.S. reinsurance imports. The second largest is with India, primarily because of U.S. purchases of computer services.
  • The largest U.S. deficit by service type is in insurance. U.S. insurers purchased $41.2 billion more in reinsurance than they sold in 2009.

+ Full Report (PDF)

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