This group covers government establishments primarily engaged in promoting and developing economic resources of all kinds, including tourism, business, and industry. Included are establishments responsible for the development of general statistical data and analyses and promotion of general economic well-being.
Administration of General Economic Programs
At the end of the 1990s, the five largest economies in the world were the United States, China, Japan, Germany, and India. The primary U.S. federal agency supporting general economic programs is the Department of Commerce (DOC). Established in 1931, the DOC encourages and serves the nation's international trade, economic growth, and technological advancement. In 1999, the DOC had a budget of $5.5 billion dollars and 47,200 (full-time equivalent) employees.
Within the context of fostering competitive free enterprise, the DOC administers a wide variety of social and economic programs. For instance, it conducts research for technological advancements, grants patents, encourages growth of minority-owned businesses, works to improve the utilization of natural resources, and promotes travel to the United States by foreigners. The Secretary of Commerce oversees more than 30 offices and bureaus.
In 1997, the DOC published its "Strategic Plan for 1997-2002," addressing its five-year priorities. In that Plan, it identified three basic areas of focus, which it referred to as "themes." Theme 1 of the Plan addressed the nation's economic infrastructure, and DOC's role in developing jobs to support our economy. Theme 2 focused on the promotion of science and technology, and their roles in contributing to a competitive global economy. Finally, Theme 3 outlined the DOC's responsibilities for the management of national resources and assets, such as intellectual property rights, the radio frequency spectrum, and ocean and coastal resources.
To better manage these objectives and responsibilities, the Department of Commerce is charged with the periodic conducting of the national census. In preparation for the 2000 census, an additional 80,000 (mostly temporary) employees were hired for the Bureau of the Census, bringing its total employment to 104,900 for the year. Its budget also jumped from $1.3 million in 1999 to $4.7 million in 2000.
The DOC's Economic Development Administration (EDA) was created to generate new jobs, to protect...