Third-quarter economic growth was revised up 0.3 percentage point to 3.2 percent at an annual rate, a noticeably faster pace than in the first half of the year. Exports, which have faced substantial headwinds in recent years from slow growth abroad, grew at an annual rate of 10.1 percent in the third quarter, boosted in part by transitory factors. Consumer spending continued to grow at a solid pace in the third quarter, while inventory investment (one of the most volatile components of GDP) boosted GDP growth after subtracting from it in the prior five quarters. Third-quarter growth in the most stable and persistent components of output—consumption and fixed investment—was revised up to 2.1 percent. Still, more work remains to strengthen economic growth and to ensure that it is broadly shared , including promoting greater competition across the economy; supporting innovation ; increasing investments in infrastructure ; and opening new markets to U.S. exports . FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY'S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS (BEA) 1. Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 3.2 percent at an annual rate in the third quarter of 2016, according to BEA’s second estimate. Real consumer spending grew a solid 2.8 percent in the third quarter following its strong second-quarter growth of 4.3 percent, with robust growth in durable goods spending and a small contraction in nondurable goods spending. Inventory investment—one of the most volatile components of GDP—added 0.5 percentage point to GDP growth in the third quarter after subtracting 1.2 percentage point in the second quarter. Residential investment declined for the second quarter in a row, though at a slower pace in the third quarter than in the second. Notably, exports grew 10.1 percent at an annual rate in the third quarter, its fastest quarterly growth since late 2013, boosted by a jump in agricultural exports (see point 4 below). Real gross domestic income (GDI)—an alternative measure of output—increased 5.2 percent at an annual rate in the third quarter. (In theory, GDP and GDI should be equal, but in practice they usually differ because they use different data sources and methods.) The average of real GDP and real GDI, which CEA refers to as real gross domestic output (GDO), increased 4.2 percent at an annual rate in the third quarter. CEA research suggests that GDO is a better measure of economic activity than GDP (though not typically stronger or weaker). 2. Third-quarter real GDP growth was revised up 0.3 percentage point at an annual rate. The upward revision to GDP growth was more than fully accounted for by upward revisions to consumer spending and structures investment, with smaller offsetting revisions in equipment investment, intellectual property investment, and inventory investment. The overall contour of third-quarter growth was little changed from last month’s advance estimate, though the 0.5-percentage-point upward revision to private domestic final purchases (the sum of consumption and fixed investment, see point 5 below) suggests greater momentum for growth in the fourth quarter of 2016. In addition to reporting its first estimate of third-quarter GDI and GDO in today’s release, BEA also revised up its estimate of real GDI growth in the second quarter of 2016 from -0.2 percent to 0.7 percent due to an upward revision to wages and salaries. This boosted second-quarter real GDO growth to 1.1 percent, a stronger pace than the previously reported 0.6 percent. 3. Strong consumer spending growth in recent quarters has been supported in part by improvements in household balance sheets, with household debt service as a share of disposable income at a historically low level. Consumer spending contributed 1.9 percentage points to total real GDP growth in the third quarter, with 0.8 percentage point attributable to durable goods spending. In recent years, durable goods spending has contributed disproportionately to consumer spending growth: although durable goods spending makes up only about one-tenth of total consumer spending, it has been responsible for about one-quarter of the growth in consumer spending since the beginning of 2014. This strength in part reflects improvements in household balance sheets since the recession, as spending on durables tends to be more sensitive to financial conditions than other types of consumer expenditures. As the chart below shows, household debt service—the fraction of disposable income that households must spend on interest and principal payments for their outstanding debt—has fallen sharply in recent years, driven both by low interest rates and by sharp reductions in the level of outstanding household debt, and is now close to its lowest level on record (with data going back to 1980). This improvement in balance sheets has left households with more disposable income available for consumer purchases, and—along with increases in real incomes —has helped to support strong consumer spending growth. 4. In part due to transitory factors, real exports contributed 1.2 percentage point to overall real GDP growth—their largest quarterly contribution since 2013—with goods exports providing the majority of the contribution. Exports of goods contributed 1.1 percentage point to overall real GDP growth in the third quarter, in part due to an unusually large increase in agricultural exports. Goods exports make up about two-thirds of total U.S. exports (with agricultural exports comprising around 5 percent of total exports) and the United States is the second-largest exporter of goods in the world according to data from the World Trade Organization (WTO). Although services exports have contributed less to overall GDP growth than goods exports in recent years, the level of U.S. services exports is high: according to WTO data, the United States is the world’s largest exporter of services, and the International Trade Administration (ITA) estimates that U.S. services exports support 4.8 million American jobs. Additionally, the division of exports into goods and services in today’s BEA release is based on final sales, and does not account for the value added by the services sector in each stage of the production process for export goods. ITA analysis finds that nearly half of the 6.8 million jobs supported by goods exports in 2014 were in the services sector.  5. Real private domestic final purchases (PDFP)—the sum of consumption and fixed investment—rose 2.1 percent at an annual rate in the third quarter. PDFP—which excludes more volatile components of GDP like net exports and inventory investment, as well as government spending—is generally a more reliable indicator of next-quarter GDP growth than current GDP . In the third quarter, the divergence between overall real GDP growth and the relatively weaker contribution of PDFP to growth was largely accounted for by the large positive contributions of inventory investment and exports to real GDP growth. Overall, PDFP rose 2.0 percent over the past four quarters; this is above the pace of real GDP growth over the same period, as inventory investment has subtracted 0.4 percentage point from growth over the past four quarters. As the Administration stresses every quarter, GDP figures can be volatile and are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any single report, and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data as they become available.

First-quarter economic growth was revised up 0.3 percentage point to 1.1 percent at an annual rate. Strong growth in residential investment boosted real GDP growth, but weakness in business investment—exacerbated by weak foreign demand and low oil prices—weighed on growth. Going forward, increased uncertainty, including uncertainty regarding the consequences of British voters' decision last week to leave the European Union, underscores the importance of proactive policy steps to strengthen the U.S. economy. The President will continue to take steps to strengthen economic growth and boost living standards, including promoting greater competition across the economy; supporting innovation; and calling on Congress to support investments in infrastructure and job training and to pass high-standards free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY'S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS (BEA) 1. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 1.1 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter of 2016, according to BEA’s third estimate.  In the first quarter, GDP grew faster than previously estimated, but growth remained modestly slower than the 1.4-percent rate in the fourth quarter of 2015. GDP growth was supported by strength in residential investment, which increased 15.6 percent. Consumer spending grew 1.5 percent, a moderate pace but below its rate over the prior four quarters. Business investment contracted 4.5 percent in the first quarter, reflecting ongoing declines in oil-related structures investment as well as a decline in equipment investment. Slowing global demand continues to remain a key headwind to output growth , though real exports increased 0.3 percent in the first quarter. However, other indicators provide a stronger picture of first-quarter growth. Real Gross Domestic Income (GDI)—an alternative measure of output—grew 2.9 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter, well above the increase in GDP. (In theory, these two measures should be equal, but in practice often differ because they use different data sources and methods.) The average of GDP and GDI, which CEA refers to as Gross Domestic Output (GDO), increased 2.0 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter. CEA research suggests that GDO is potentially a better measure of economic activity than GDP (though not typically stronger or weaker). 2. First-quarter GDP growth was revised up 0.3 percentage point at an annual rate. The upward revision to GDP growth was largely accounted for by upward revisions to exports and investment in intellectual property products, with a partially offsetting downward revision in consumer spending on services (reflecting the incorporation of new data from the Census Bureau’s Quarterly Services Survey). In today’s release, BEA also revised up its estimate of real GDI growth in the first quarter from 2.2 percent to 2.9 percent due to an upward revision to corporate profits. As a result, first-quarter GDO growth was revised up to 2.0 percent, a stronger pace than the previously reported 1.5 percent.  3. While growth in consumer spending slowed somewhat in the first quarter, monthly data through May point to a pickup in the second quarter. Consumer spending increased 1.5 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter, below its 2.7-percent pace over the previous four quarters. The first-quarter slowdown was largely driven by a decline in durable goods spending. However, measures of consumer spending that are reported on a monthly basis—including retail sales and motor vehicle sales—rebounded in April and were solid in May, consistent with a pickup in growth in the second quarter. In addition, growth in real disposable income has outpaced growth in real consumer spending in recent quarters, especially in the first quarter of 2016, providing support in future quarters for further growth in consumer spending. 4. Real State and local government purchases—which had faced challenges earlier in the recovery—increased 3.2 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter. Contraction in State and local government purchases amid budgetary cuts was a meaningful drag on GDP growth earlier in the current recovery, particularly when compared to earlier business cycles. If State and local government purchases had increased at the average rate of the prior four recoveries, real GDP growth would have been 0.4 percentage point faster per year in the first five years of the current recovery. State and local government purchases remain 6 percent below their level at the business-cycle trough, compared with an average 13-percent increase at this point during the four previous business cycles. However, since mid-2014 the State and local government sector has generally added modestly to GDP growth, contributing 0.3 percentage point to growth in the first quarter of 2016. 5. Real private domestic final purchases (PDFP)—the sum of consumption and fixed investment—rose 1.1 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter, a slower pace than in recent quarters. PDFP—which excludes noisier components of GDP like net exports and inventory investment, as well as government spending—is generally a more reliable indicator of next-quarter GDP growth than current GDP . In recent quarters, weaker demand abroad has dampened business investment, and low oil prices have weighed on energy-related investment, both of which have led to slower PDFP growth. Overall, PDFP rose 2.5 percent over the past four quarters, above the 2.1-percent growth in GDP over the same period. As the Administration stresses every quarter, GDP figures can be volatile and are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any single report, and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data as they become available.

Today, women make up nearly half of the U.S. labor force and more women than ever are the breadwinners in their families. More women are also working in positions and fields that have been traditionally occupied by men. Yet in 2014, the typical woman working full-time all year in the United States earned only 79 percent of what the typical man earned working full-time all year. The pay gap is even greater for African American and Latina women, with African American women earning 64 cents and Latina women earning 56 cents for every dollar earned by a white non-Hispanic man. The gender wage gap continues to be a very   real and persistent problem that continues to shortchange American women and their families. Since the beginning of his presidency,  President Obama has taken a number of steps   to close the national wage gap, including signing the  Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act during his first days in office. To build on that work, today at the United State of Women Summit, the White  House announced a new Equal Pay Pledge for private sector companies that share our commitment to equal pay – many of which are already taking steps on their own.  Highlighting the critical role that businesses must play in reducing the national gender pay gap, 28 companies have signed on to the pledge, including Accenture, Airbnb, Amazon, American Airlines, BCG, Buffer, Care.com, CEB, Cisco, Deloitte, the Dow Chemical Company, Expedia, Inc., Gap Inc., Glassdoor, GoDaddy, Jet.com, Johnson & Johnson, L'Oréal USA, PepsiCo, Pinterest, Popcorn Heaven, PwC, Rebecca Minkoff, Salesforce, Slack, Spotify, Staples, and Stella McCartney. Additional companies are invited to join this effort in the coming months. Additional businesses are encouraged to sign the pledge here . View the additional commitments and statements from signatories below, then learn more about President Obama's record on empowering women and girls. White House Equal Pay Pledge Statements Accenture Accenture is proud to join the White House and along with other leading companies sign the Equal Pay Pledge. At Accenture, we believe that gender equality is an essential element of an inclusive workplace. This commitment extends to pay, and we strive to ensure that all our people – women and men – are compensated fairly and equitably from the moment we hire them through the milestones of their careers. We are proactive in our efforts to ensure pay equality and have ongoing rigorous processes in place to identify discrepancies, looking carefully at specific roles and at all stages of an individual’s career. If we identify a problem, we fix it. Airbnb At Airbnb, we strive every day to create a world where people can belong anywhere, and that starts with creating a workplace where employees of every age, race, sex, ability/disability, religion, culture, sexual orientation and gender identity feel welcome and supported. We’re proud to commit to workplace fairness for all employees and also to support organizations that promote gender equality through their critical work around the world. As our employee community grows, we are analyzing the factors that influence pay and promotion decisions to ensure equal pay for equal work across the organization. We have begun this process and will continue to collect more data, monitor, measure and innovate to ensure a system that rewards people fairly, based on their work and on our collective success. We are also offering ongoing education around unconscious biases and intervening to reduce the impact of bias in the recruiting, hiring and promotion process and have conducted trainings across the organization to raise awareness and identify areas for improvement. We will continually expand our work in these areas as part of our effort to create an inclusive workplace.  Through our partnerships with groups like the Global Fund for Women and Vital Voices, we are proud to support ongoing efforts towards gender equality around the world. We are also committed to improving the recruiting and retention of underrepresented groups in our organization through work with groups like Code 2040, the United Negro College Fund, Lesbians Who Tech and others. We recently launched Airbnb Connect, which will offer six-month hands on learning opportunities at Airbnb for people from underrepresented groups looking to make a career change to technology and we will continue to expand this outreach across our organization.  Amazon At Amazon we are committed to keeping compensation fair and equitable and audit our pay annually. We are also constantly looking for more ways to engage and advance the tens of thousands of talented women who work at Amazon – from our Affinity Groups, which play an important role in building internal networks for career development, to investigating mechanisms where we can interrupt any unconscious bias. We are at the early stages in some of this work and more advanced in other areas, but we're putting resources toward solution development. American Airlines American Airlines – the world’s largest airline – is proud to take the Equal Pay Pledge. Fairness, diversity and inclusion in the workplace are core values at American and the airline’s commitment to its equal employment opportunity policies is reaffirmed in writing each year to underscore their importance as an integral part of the company’s everyday business practices and long-term success. In addition, the adherence to these values is emphasized on the company’s career site. American welcomes the opportunity to continue its leadership in this area. BCG At BCG, we have a long-standing commitment to equal opportunity. We believe the best ideas and greatest impact come from diverse perspectives and experiences. BCG strives to be a place where all individuals are welcomed and given the opportunity to succeed and achieve their full potential.  At BCG, achieving our diversity and inclusion goals is everyone's responsibility. We offer global best-in-class career development, mentorship, networking programs, and unconscious bias training, and are continuously seeking ways to improve in building diversity in the firm. We are proud to join with other companies in supporting equal pay for equal work. Buffer We’re honored at Buffer to sign the White House’s Equal Pay Pledge. When we first committed ourselves to transparency as a company, we had no idea how big of an impact it could make. We've learned that transparency creates a culture of conversation, where everyone can feel empowered to share information and ask questions. Sharing our salaries publicly has sparked many thought-provoking conversations, and we’re humbled when other companies choose to adapt or modify our open salary formula for their needs. As a team, we’re now working to ensure that we measure experience fairly across the company and that there's a clear path for both women and men to move up and into leadership roles. We’ve also launched a public salary calculator, to make it easier to understand how our salary formula is calculated. In addition to consistently working to reduce unconscious biases and committing to an annual company-wide pay analysis, we will continue to publish all of our salaries, and our salary formula, in the hopes that our transparency might spark new ideas and inspire other business or individuals to commit to making pay equal for all. Care.com Care.com is committed to ensuring equal pay for like work and work of equal value among all employees. Beyond the obvious and legitimate reasons of fairness and equality, we believe that a company committed to gender equality will more effectively attract and retain top talent, which in turn yields greater business productivity. Care.com recognizes the importance of, and is committed to, providing a fair and objective pay system which is free from gender bias.   Care.com’s objectives relating to equal pay are to: Eliminate unfair, unjust or unlawful practices that impact pay as it relates to gender; Take appropriate remedial action regarding evidence of gender pay inequity; Review other company policies and rewards to ensure consistency with equal pay principles. To achieve these objectives Care.com will: Plan and execute regular equal pay reviews for all employees regardless of work status (leave or sickness); Carry out job evaluations and regular equal pay audits (which may be completed by internal HR staff or external compensation experts); Provide training and coaching for managers involved in determining pay; Inform team members as to how these processes and practices work and how their own pay is determined; Respond decisively to grievances on equal pay matters; Monitor pay/bonus statistics regularly (twice per year) and gather other relevant information to assess the impact of these objectives. Care.com will also publish and communicate an annual internal report to company employees that will include the actions (and results of those actions) the company has taken to: Identify and eliminate gender inequity; Promote and achieve equality of opportunity for men and women; Eliminate practices, processes and procedures that create disparate treatment based on gender CEB Inclusion and justice are core to CEB’s culture and we are committed to gender equality and gender-balanced leadership. Through our partnerships with the world’s leading companies, we’ve seen meaningful advancements in gender equality in many countries around the world, but our research suggests there is more to be done. We are pleased to join the Equal Pay Pledge and commit to making equal pay a priority for our organization. Cisco Cisco is honored to be a founding signer of the White House Equal Pay Pledge.  As a global company that has always been dedicated to fair pay, we recognize that achieving it is an ongoing commitment. We’re committed to not only driving fairness and equity across our own company, but to playing a leadership role in this critical initiative. Within Cisco, we’ve already designed a pay parity framework to expand our ability to achieve the goal that all employees are paid fairly and equitably. Based on a holistic approach that includes everyone (both gender and ethnicity), it introduces powerful new analytics and targeted strategies to: Identify critical factors and root causes influencing pay parity Validate parity through regular testing, using findings to enhance Cisco’s already-existing guidelines on pay parity Proactively monitor, intervene, and minimize disparities over time Ensuring that our people share in our mutual success through compensation strategies that focus on pay for performance, market competitiveness, and fairness and equity is a key promise at the heart of our people strategies. Pay parity helps us build the trusting environment that drives the best teams, allows us to retain the best talent, and positions us as a top employer. Our pay parity strategies include regular reviews of our comprehensive data and monitoring of our environment. When we identify gaps, we’re committed to fixing them – fully funding robust solutions. Expedia, Inc. The science and data-driven culture that leads to innovation in technology released by Expedia, Inc. brands is also fostering unique programs to grow and retain a diverse set of leaders. In fact, this week we released data about women representation, pay parity, and ongoing efforts to increase the role of women in leadership within the Expedia, Inc. family of brands including Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Orbitz Worldwide, Travelocity, Trivago, HomeAway, Egencia and more. The report revealed that pay here at Expedia is equal between men and women in similar roles and locations.” Ongoing offerings like our annual inclusive leadership summit, strong family-centric benefits programs, flexible working environments, required trainings on topics like micro-inequities, and inclusive hiring practices are helping to build a workplace that celebrates diverse opinions and experiences. These initiatives are critical to Expedia's continued success and we will remain dedicated to hiring, fostering and promoting talent of all kinds in our offices all around the world.” We commend the Obama Administration and applaud the many corporations that are taking similar actions to give all Americans the opportunity to contribute and succeed in their communities and organizations. Expedia, Inc. is proud to stand up for gender equality and take the Equal Pay Pledge.”   Gap Inc. For more than 45 years, Gap Inc. has stood for equality and opportunity. When Doris and Don Fisher founded our company in 1969, they contributed the same amount to open that first Gap store, and continued to run the business as equals. Together, they established a culture of equality that continues to inspire and guide us today. In 2014, Gap Inc. became the first Fortune 500 Company to announce that we pay female and male employees equally for equal work on average across our global organization. This is an important step globally, as well as in the U.S., where a woman earns on average 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. When we pay our employees fairly and treat them with dignity and respect, they are inspired to be their best, which in turn helps us deliver better products and experiences to our customers. And when our business succeeds and grows, we can become a stronger voice for equality and inclusion around the world. We believe pay equality should not be an accomplishment; it’s the way the world should work and it’s time to get it done. Gap Inc. pledges to continue our annual company-wide analysis of pay by gender as well as to identify and promote other best practices that will close the national gender wage gap. Glassdoor ​As an employer and platform dedicated to workplace and salary transparency, Glassdoor is proud to join with the White House to commit to advancing pay equality at our company and serving as a catalyst for other companies across the United States and around the world. Glassdoor Commitment to Pay Equality as an Employer: Glassdoor has already conducted a thorough gender pay analysis of the compensation of approximately 600 employees and is publicly releasing not only the findings but also the method by which it was conducted to help other employers in their own efforts. While Glassdoor analysis reveals a 20 percent pay gap in the average base pay between men and women, when we control for age, job title, job level, department, and employee performance scores, the pay gap disappears. We commit to conduct this analysis for base pay and variable pay at least annually to ensure we prevent unintended bias in our compensation programs. Further, we are committed to continue to focus on efforts to attract, retain and advance women into higher paying leadership roles. Glassdoor Pay Transparency Helps American Workers Pay It Forward: Glassdoor believes greater transparency around compensation can illuminate pay inequities at companies and empower workers and employers to take positive steps to close pay gaps. We encourage workers everywhere to anonymously share their pay on Glassdoor to help others better understand what is fair and equitable compensation for specific jobs at specific companies. Glassdoor Supports Other Employers’ Pay Equality Efforts: Glassdoor is committing to help other employers in their own pay equality efforts and is launching a pilot program to conduct gender pay analysis through independent confidential economic research. We will continue to help employers highlight their pay equality commitments to their employees and candidates via a Pay Equality Pledge badge that may be added to their company’s Glassdoor profile page. More than 2,000 employers have already promoted pay equality commitments on Glassdoor. We believe that through greater workplace transparency, the power and voice of people and the positive actions by employers, we can collectively make meaningful strides toward closing the very real gender pay gap and ensure all people everywhere are paid fairly for equal work and experience. GoDaddy At GoDaddy, our employees are our source of success, with an absolute connection between the quality of our team and the quality of the experience we can provide our customers. To fuel the strength of our workforce and better serve our diverse customers, GoDaddy is committed to closing the gender pay gap and maintaining salary parity for women and men in like roles. Beyond being the “right thing to do,” we know a diverse workforce results in better products and services. To that end, GoDaddy has committed to: conducting an annual company-wide gender pay analysis across occupations; reviewing hiring and promotion processes and procedures to reduce unconscious bias and structural barriers; and embedding equal pay efforts into broader enterprise-wide equity initiatives We are already taking these steps, as well as identifying and promoting other best practices, to help close the national wage gap and ensure fundamental fairness for all workers. Jet.com Equal pay for equal work is the embodiment of Jet's value system that is anchored in trust, transparency and fairness. We are proud to have always been on the right side of the gender wage gap issue and we enthusiastically take this important pledge. Johnson & Johnson We are responsible. Three incredibly powerful words, and the first three words of the Johnson & Johnson Credo; a simple, one-page document, guiding our actions and serving as our moral compass for more than 70 years. It’s not a mission, it’s a statement of responsibilities. One critical responsibility is to our employees. We believe that supporting our women employees—in fact, supporting all our 130,000+ employees and their families who work with us throughout the world—is not just a matter of good corporate citizenship, it’s good business. We are responsible for employee’s health and wellness. Women are at the helm of science and technology and are responsible for bringing key innovations to market. As such a valued resource, it’s critical that we foster a culture of health—enabling vibrant and longer lives for our employees. Our vision is to have the healthiest workforce. We believe there’s nothing more personal or more important to every individual on earth than their health and that of their family. We at Johnson & Johnson have created an environment where employees can actively engage in their health and achieve their ‘best self’ at work, at home and in their communities. Our employee wellness programs have, undoubtedly, led to a healthier and more productive, engaged and satisfied workforce, which reaffirms our belief that an investment in our employee’s health is an investment in our company’s health. We are responsible for helping employees fulfill their family responsibilities. We ask our employees to help us care for the world, one person at a time, and that includes members of their family. Those aren’t just words. We encourage it and provide ways to act on it. Johnson & Johnson is immensely proud of our work life effectiveness programs and policies, which allow us to be at the forefront of driving the type of critical change needed to align workplace policies with the realities of the 21st Century family. The programs we have in place empower moms—and dads, too— to bring their best to work while still meeting their family responsibilities. By doing so, these programs help empower all of our employees, including women, to succeed and advance in our company. We believe that the health of our employee’s families is a true competitive advantage. It allows us to attract and retain top talent within our organization. When employees feel good at home, they come to work and make each day their best day ever. In turn, that allows Johnson & Johnson to help people everywhere live longer, healthier and happier lives. We are responsible for the equal employment, development and advancement of our employees. Women have always helped shape and lead Johnson & Johnson and will always be at the heart of this great company. Today women hold 43 percent of manager and executive positions combined, and they represent 30 percent of our Board of Directors. Johnson & Johnson has an ongoing commitment to review our policies and actions to ensure that fair decisions are being made. As a company, we strive to bridge the gender gap, and it’s our commitment to continue to evolve and lead the way. We are responsible for doing more. We’re very proud of the way in which we take care of our employees. But know this—we’re never satisfied, and we can always do better! Johnson & Johnson commends the Administration and we applaud the other companies and organizations who have come together to sign this Equal Pay Pledge, to make sure we all do more. Like Our Credo, this pledge will continue to hold us responsible. L'Oréal USA L'Oréal USA is a steadfast supporter of gender balance in the workplace and we are proud to stand with other companies, at the United State of Women, who have chosen to make pay equity a priority. L'Oréal believes that a diversified and fulfilled workforce will only strengthen our creativity, allowing us to understand our consumers better and enable us to develop the most innovative products for them. L'Oréal USA has been a longtime advocate for creating a fair work environment, becoming the first U.S. company to be certified with the EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality) global standard for workplace gender equality. Signing the White House's Equal Pay pledge allows us to reaffirm our commitment to reducing any meaningful difference in salaries between men and women to the point that they disappear. And we encourage other organizations and employers to join us in this important pledge. PepsiCo With female full-time workers in the United States making only 79 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts, PepsiCo is committed to ensuring that women earn equal pay for equal work. That’s why we put in place a comprehensive process to review our hiring practices, performance assessments, promotion decisions, and pay equity assessments. In addition, PepsiCo will continue our efforts to end unconscious bias and create an inclusive environment where women are hired, developed professionally, and promoted into leadership positions. To affirm our commitment, PepsiCo is proud to sign the Equal Pay Pledge. Pinterest At Pinterest, we’re building a product that inspires everyone. Our success depends on our ability to understand the perspectives and needs of people worldwide. A company that’s more diverse and inclusive is a more creative and effective one. We've publicly shared our diversity hiring goals and our commitment to building a more diverse company. We're treating this like any other business problem and identifying goals to hold ourselves accountable. Data is key; we need more transparency around compensation, promotion and demographics to make progress. Our leadership team partners with our head of diversity, Candice Morgan, to ensure accountability for equity on measures like hiring and promotions within our workforce, and cultivating a sense of belonging for each member of our team. With regard to pay, we’ve been working with a third party firm that audits our data and ensures we’re making equitable decisions at Pinterest. Popcorn Heaven I am proud to sign onto the Equal Pay pledge and reinforce my commitment to fairness and equity at Popcorn Heaven. While working for my father’s business, I saw the pay gap first hand and recognized the need to challenge the status quo. When my father leveled out his salary structure, I saw a boost in morale and the loyalty and commitment of his staff members got stronger. When I went into business for myself, I vowed to get it right the first time–ensuring that my female employees felt every bit as valued as the men working next to them. I’ve worked with my colleagues at the Main Street Alliance to spread awareness of the prevalence of unequal pay and to develop commonsense solutions that work for business owners and employees alike. PwC The business community has a crucial role to play in promoting equality across society. At PwC, we’re proud of what we’re doing to not only be a progressive employer, but one that lives up its purpose – “to build trust in society and solve important problems.” PwC joins other corporate leaders in advancing the dialogue around the critical issue of reducing the national wage gap. Our goal is to inspire change that will help move all of us one step closer to fairness, building a much more innovative world in which men and women have the same opportunities and choices. Rebecca Minkoff Rebecca Minkoff commends the White House for its efforts to break down gender gap barriers and provide women with equal pay. As an organization conceived and led by a female entrepreneur, we understand the importance of supporting women early in their careers. While progress has been made in the fashion industry, we pledge to work to empower future generations of female entrepreneurs by providing them with equal opportunities in our organization. We will continue to support our female employees by ensuring that they earn 100% of men's wages within our company. Salesforce Salesforce is reinforcing our commitment to closing the gender wage gap. We assessed the salaries of global employees and spent nearly $3 million dollars to eliminate any statistically significant differences in pay. Moving forward, Salesforce plans to monitor and review salaries on an ongoing basis—making equal pay a part of our company’s DNA. In addition to analyzing salaries regularly, Salesforce will continue to focus on equal opportunity and equal advancement by increasing access to growth opportunities for all. Slack At Slack, one of the most important things we are doing right now is addressing diversity and inclusion in the infancy of our organizational history. Our primary goal is to achieve a workplace where all people can thrive. Central to this effort is ensuring that we examine all decisions regarding hiring/recruiting, promotion, compensation, employee recognition and management structure to ensure that we are not inadvertently advantaging one group over another. With our success comes an obligation to extend our impact outside the company. We hope to move the needle with our commitment to inclusion. The best outcome we could have would be a generation of Slack alumni starting new companies, being role models, and setting examples in this space. Signing the pledge reaffirms our commitment to equity in the workforce, and building processes and procedures to ensure that there are opportunities for all to succeed. And we encourage other organizations and employers to do the same. Spotify At Spotify we value the incredible contributions of all our talented employees equally, and we acknowledge this by ensuring we consistently review our compensation structures and benefits that establish gender pay equity across the organization. We commit to conducting industry analyses, removing biased reviews and in turn making regular adjustments to the set the bar high on closing the gender pay gap for ourselves and encourage others to do the same. We believe that women and men who undertake the same work, at the same level, should always be remunerated justly for the job they do. We know that individuals thrive when they are compensated fairly for the contributions they make to their organization. In addition, we acknowledge that women are often dissuaded by roles in technology not only due to the low representation of women in this industry but of the lower value placed on their contributions in these roles. In tech, women are promoted at lower rates and paid significantly less. Our support of the Women in Tech industry goes beyond just closing this pay gap, we actively partner, sponsor and contribute to ours and other organizations who are focused on ensuring women are encouraged into STEM careers and feel valued in making that choice. Increasing women and girls educated in these areas contributes to higher economic growth. Staples Staples values all of its female associates, and understands the important role gender equality plays in fostering an inclusive workplace. By publicly showing our commitment to advancing women in the workforce, we hope to help raise awareness of the gender-based wage gap that currently exists, and lend a voice to the movement to provide fair pay for all. At Staples, we have always recognized the strategic advantage in hiring, engaging and retaining female talent. We are proud to share the following ways that Staples is encouraging the development of women in the workplace: We annually host a “Women’s Week” at our corporate headquarters, providing women with training and tools to develop and grow as leaders within Staples (included Simmons Leadership Conference for nominated female associates). We are participating in the Corporate Challenge, a gender equality initiative started by the Massachusetts Governor in concert with Bentley College. We committed to the 100% Talent: The Boston Women’s Compact, an initiative supported by Boston Mayor Martin Walsh aimed at making Greater Boston the premier place for working women in America by closing the wage gap and removing barriers to women’s advancement. Our Women Who Lead Associate Resource Groups strive to give women the resources they need to be successful in the workplace and beyond. They facilitate connections and partnerships among all associates to help support women’s initiatives. Ultimately, the goal is to help Staples become a leader in recruiting, developing and retaining female leaders. We will continue to support programs like the White House Equal Pay Pledge to ensure that not only women associates of today but of the future are compensated as equally as their male counterparts, and are recognized for the unique perspectives and the important role they play in the businesses of America. Stella McCartney At Stella McCartney, we are proud of our gender diversity and are dedicated to continuing to foster a gender-balanced workplace. Women occupy 67% of our leadership team and we have an even higher number of women across the brand. We place gender equality as a strategic imperative across our talent pipeline. Stella McCartney was recently awarded the EDGE certification, the global standard for gender equality in the work place, across three of our core business centers in the USA, United Kingdom and Italy. Having attained the EDGE certification, we are already committed to continually reviewing hiring and promotion processes and to conducting annual company-wide analysis, including fairness and equal pay for all. Natalie Merluzzi is Senior Policy Advisor for the Domestic Policy Council

The following is cross-posted from the First Lady's Medium .  On June 14th, the White House Council on Women and Girls, together with the Department of State, the Department of Labor, the Aspen Institute and Civic Nation, is convening the first United State of Women Summit, a large-scale effort to rally together advocates of gender equality to highlight what we’ve achieved, identify the challenges that remain, and chart the course for addressing them. Experts, advocates, and grassroots and business leaders who work in both domestic and international arenas will gather to highlight key issues affecting women and girls and best practices to carry on into the future. Featuring a diverse mix of speakers and panelists from around the world, the Summit’s plenary and breakout sessions are built around six pillars: Economic Empowerment Health and Wellness Educational Opportunity Violence Against Women Entrepreneurship and Innovation Leadership and Civic Engagement Together with our co-hosts, we seek to address these critical issues, and bring together people from all backgrounds to learn from each other. The Summit is being held with cooperation from the Ford Foundation, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women, the PepsiCo Foundation, and the Tory Burch Foundation. We’re thrilled to announce that 5,000 people have registered to attend the Summit. And while registration is now closed for attendees,  we encourage everyone to tune in via livestream on June 14th at  www.theunitedstateofwomen.org . We’ll release more details about the summit’s speakers, panelists and breakout sessions in the coming days. In the lead-up to this year’s Summit, today the White House proudly launched a video message from some incredible women who strive to level global playing field — across the world — from the silver screen to the sports arena, from non-profits to the financial sector, from the runway to the White House. In addition to participating in this film, many of these women have also created their own pledges, declaring how they’re doing their part for the United State of Women. Join the #StateofWomen by making your own pledge of how you’re going to change our tomorrow. Meryl Streep  is the most Oscar-nominated actor in the world, known for her roles in films including  Kramer v. Kramer, The Iron Lady, Julie and Julia  and The Devil Wears Prada . Outspoken about sexism in Hollywood and funds a screenwriting lab for women over 40. Kerry Washington  is an Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actress and activist and can currently be seen starring on ABC’s  Scandal . She most recently starred in HBO’s  Confirmation,  which she executive produced. Washington serves as a member on the President’s Committee for the Arts and Humanities and is an ambassador for the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Campaign. Dr. Jen Welter  is the first female coach in the NFL and the first woman to play running back in men’s pro football. Dr. Welter uses both her Ph.D. in psychology and her decades of experience knocking down barriers to encourage young girls and women to do the same — to tackle their dreams and take the path not previously travelled. Leah Katz-Hernandez  is the receptionist of the United States. Being hearing-impaired, she has paved the way for people with disabilities in the White House. Amani Al-Khatahtbeh is the founder of  Muslimgirl.net , the number one online publication for Muslim women in the U.S aimed at eliminating stereotypes surrounding Islam and promoting the place of Muslim women in Western societies. First Lady Michelle Obama  is a lawyer, writer, role model for women and an advocate for  healthy families ,  service members and their families ,  higher education , and  international adolescent girls education . Katie Lowes  is an actress known for her role on  Scandal , a show centered around strong and powerful women. She is also the co-founder and director of her IAMA Theatre Company. Tina Fey  is an actress, comedian, writer and producer. She was the first female head writer of  Saturday Night Live , screenwriter of  Mean Girls , creator/co-creator of  30 Rock  and  Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt  respectively, and author of  Bossypants . Oprah Winfrey  is a talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist. Winfrey is Chairman and CEO of her cable network OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, founder of O, The Oprah Magazine, and hosted  The Oprah Winfrey Show , the highest rated talk show in history. She founded the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2013. Connie Britton  is an Emmy and Golden Globe nominated Actress most well known for her roles on  Nashville  and  Friday Night Lights . Connie serves as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme, focusing on poverty eradication and women’s empowerment. Jessica Williams  is an actress and comedian, known for her role as a Senior Correspondent on  The Daily Show . She has addressed equal pay and other women’s rights topics on the show. Laverne Cox  is the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy and star of  Orange is The New Black . She has won numerous awards for her activism and her prominence has led to a growing conversation about transgender people. Indra Nooyi  is the Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo and is consistently ranked as one of the world’s 100 most powerful women. In its global food and beverage portfolio, PepsiCo has 22 brands — from Pepsi to Tropicana to Quaker — that generate more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales. Dina Habib Powell  is the Head of Goldman Sachs’ Impact Investing Business and President of the Goldman Sachs Foundation. She oversees 10,000 Women, an initiative that offers business and management education and access to capital to women entrepreneurs across over 50 countries. Tory Burch  is the Chairman, CEO, Designer and Founder of the Tory Burch Foundation, which empowers women entrepreneurs in the U.S. Adepero Oduye  is an actress known for her roles in the critically-acclaimed independent film,  Pariah  and the Academy Award-winner  12 Years a Slave . She made her directorial debut last year with the short film  Breaking In . Bellamy Young  is known for her role on  Scandal  where she plays a strong female character running for President. From Broadway to the country music scene, her work transcends boundaries. Cecilia Muñoz  is the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, and has also served as the White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Cecile Richards  has been the President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America since 2006. Her career has been devoted to fighting for women’s reproductive rights and women’s health coverage. Aidy Bryant  is an American actress and comedian, best known as a cast Member on  Saturday Night Live.  She wrote and starred in the short film Darby Forever  which can be seen on Vimeo, and has appeared on  Girls, Broad City  and Louis CK’s  Horace & Pete. Christy Turlington Burns  is a model, global maternal health advocate, and founder of Every Mother Counts, a non-profit organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, everywhere. Cynthia Erivo  is an actress and singer-songwriter. She is known for her Tony-nominated role as Celie Harris in the Broadway production of  The Color Purple , a show that centers around the stories of women. Valerie Jarrett  serves as the Senior Advisor to the President of the United States and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs in the Obama Administration. Tina Tchen  is Assistant to President Barack Obama, Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, and Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls. Megan Smith  the first female Chief Technology Officer of the United States of America. Smith was previously the vice president of Googlex at Google. Smith co-founded the Malala Fund, a girls’ education foundation and is leading the way for women in technology. Shonda Rhimes  is one of the most successful writers, producers and content creators of all time. Her award-winning shows  include Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How To Get Away with Murder  and  The Catch  and these shows feature strong, complex female characters. Tracee Ellis Ross  is an actress, performance artist and passionate motivational speaker. Tracee stars on the ABC comedy series Black- ish ,  a role for which she earned her third NAACP Image Award for “Best Actress in a Comedy Series.” Tracee is an advocate for women to know their true, genuine beauty.

  Today is Equal Pay Day — the day when we mark how far into the new year women have to work to earn the same as men did in the previous year. To talk about how we can work toward giving every woman a fair shot at success, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett wrote this message to Fairygodboss, an online community of people who share a common passion for improving the workplace for women. Check it out: We are at a pivotal moment in American history. Women are increasingly entering fields where they have been traditionally underrepresented, while standing on the shoulders of past champions for equality. We are scientists, engineers, and astronauts. We are senators, governors, and mayors. We have senior positions from the board room to the White House. We are coaches and star athletes. We are graduating from college at higher rates than men. We are role models for all of our daughters and sons. We should be proud of our progress, yet still, disparities persist. The typical woman makes 79 cents on the dollar, as compared to our typical male colleague. Compared to the typical non-Hispanic white man, the typical African American woman makes 60 cents on the dollar, while the typical Hispanic woman makes 55 cents. Women are also less likely to start or run small businesses. We face a tougher climb up the ranks of corporate America, and tend to drop out of fields such as computer science after only a few years. And we still suffer from gender stereotypes that limit our reach beginning in early childhood. So, on this Equal Pay Day, let’s ask what more we can all do to ensure we continue to create equal opportunities for all Americans. Inequality in the workforce doesn’t just adversely affect women; it affects our families and our broader economy. As President Obama says, “When women succeed, America succeeds.” In his first month in office, President Obama proudly signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, making it easier for women to challenge unjust pay disparities. He has taken steps to ensure businesses report detailed data so they know when they have a pay gap in their workplaces and so we can better enforce of existing laws, and he has prohibited federal contractors from retaliating against workers who share compensation data with one another. He continues to call on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to further protect women from wage discrimination; to pass the Healthy Families Act, which would provide seven paid sick days; and to pass legislation that provides for paid leave – because still, the United States remains the only developed country without a national paid leave policy. The President has signed Presidential Memoranda that advance six weeks of paid sick leave to all federal employees and direct agencies to expand workplace flexibility to the maximum extent practicable. He also recognizes that change must come from outside of government, so he has called on leaders from the private sector to adopt family-friendly workplace policies, including affordable child care, workplace flexibility, paid sick days, paid leave, and raising the minimum wage – factors that affect the pay gap between men and women. President Barack Obama signs into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Joyce Boghosian) So yes, we have made progress. The pay gap has narrowed slightly. Companies such as Salesforce and Gap have enacted policies to ensure men and women are treated equally, so they can thrive at home and at work. And when Congress failed to act, the President challenged states and cities across the country to raise their minimum wage laws and create paid family or sick leave programs. So far, at least 65 cities and 18 states have responded, with New York and California the latest to join and San Francisco about to become the first American city to provide six weeks of fully paid leave for new parents. But new laws and policies alone will not fix the problems we still face. We must continue to challenge the belief that a woman who negotiates her salary is being difficult or ungrateful, or that having a child must go hand in hand with sacrificing one’s professional aspirations. We need to constantly reinforce with our girls that they too can be whatever they want to be regardless of outdated gender norms. That they, too, can break through the glass ceiling to wherever their passions lead them. We need to have this conversation, and we ask you to be a part of it. On May 23rd, the White House will host the Summit on the United State of Women – a daylong opportunity to take stock of the progress we have made together and the road ahead of us. In the meantime, let's ask ourselves: How will we further the #StateOfWomen to expand opportunities and pave paths without barriers? How will you contribute to the conversation? Thanks for your partnership, and for all the work you do to leave behind a better country for all of our daughters and sons. Valerie @VJ44  

This Wednesday the White House will transform for the day into a hands-on showcase of student innovation: robots, prototypes, tools to help us fight climate change and cancer – all researched, built, and designed by the next generation of America's scientists. On April 13th, President Obama will host his sixth and final White House Science Fair , welcoming more than 100 top science, technology, engineering and math students from across the country to show us how they are going to change the future of America. Find out more below about the students participating in this year's Science Fair, and share YOUR science projects on social media using #WHScienceFair. Meet This Year's Exhibitors Girls Reach Space with Loki Lego Launcher Nine-year-old Kimberly and eleven-year-old Rebecca Yeung from Seattle, Washington, built a homemade “spacecraft” out of archery arrows and wood scraps, and launched it into the stratosphere via a helium balloon. Called the Loki Lego Launcher after their late cat and a Lego figurine, the craft recorded location coordinates, temperature, velocity, and pressure and reported the data back to the young inventors on the ground. Kimberly and Rebecca hope to show other children that science and engineering is not only interesting and accessible for kids, but a lot of fun as well. MiniMaker Creates Toys and Games with Not-So-Pint-Sized Manufacturing Techniques Nine-year old Jacob Leggette, of Baltimore, Maryland wasn’t going to let anything stand in his way of taking on the Digital Harbor Foundation’s (DHF) MiniMakers challenge. After being introduced to 3D printing, Jacob was hooked and wrote letters to different printer companies, asking if they would donate a 3D printer to him in return for feedback on how easily a then-8-year-old could use their device. His sales pitch worked, and he has been creating toys and games ever since. Jacob’s specialty is experimenting with additive and subtractive manufacturing and the combination of the two to create whatever he imagines. Florida Teen Develops Novel Solution to Pen Pal’s Power Challenge Hannah Herbst, a 15-year-old from Boca Raton, Florida, was named America’s 2015 Top Young Scientist and won the 2015 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for creating BEACON, an ocean-energy probe prototype. BEACON—which Hannah created out of a desire to help her nine-year-old pen pal who lives in Ethiopia and lacks a reliable source of power and electricity—seeks to offer a stable power source to developing countries by using untapped energy from ocean currents. For her ingenuity, Hannah has been featured on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and has received honors from the Office of Naval Research, the Florida Science Teachers Association, and the Society of Women Engineers. Development of Ebola Diagnostic Test Wins Teen Top Honors in Global Competition When learning of the Ebola epidemic spreading through Africa, Olivia Hallisey, 17, of Greenwich, CT, was concerned that the people who most needed diagnosis and treatment did not have access to care and decided to do something about it. As she learned about the challenges of delivering medical care in remote areas, she recalled her science lesson about silk storage and its stabilizing properties, thinking that silk could allow Ebola antibodies to travel much longer without the need for refrigeration. Olivia created the Ebola Assay card—a temperature-independent, rapid, portable, and inexpensive diagnostic test for the detection of the Ebola virus. This novel and impactful approach earned the Connecticut High School student the Grand Prize in the 2015 Google Science Fair. Missouri Girl Scouts Develop Recycling Program and Discover a New Glue—Now Seeking Two Patents Sindhu Bala, 12, Ellie Englund, 12, Sydney Gralike, 13, Julianna Jones, 13, Reagan Mattison,12, and Christina Yepez, 13, of Girl Scout Troop #1484 from St. Louis, Missouri wanted to help a local retirement community be more environmentally friendly. They learned that 20,000 Styrofoam cups—cups which take 500 years to decompose in a landfill—were being used and disposed of every month. The team developed “Eco Bin,” a metal bin containing a non-toxic substance (d-limonene) that dissolves Styrofoam when mixed with water, enabling households and businesses to reduce their waste. In a surprise twist, these innovators discovered that the gooey substance created by the mixture is a strong adhesive. The girls bottled and branded the substance, naming it “GlOo” and marketing it to their local school and other Girl Scout troops for art projects. These creations have earned the girls state accolades and the chance to compete for the Global Innovation Award at FIRST Lego League Nationals. The girls are also now pursuing patents for “Eco Bin” and “GlOo”. Idaho Teen Looks to Prehistoric Past to Understand Climate Challenges Nathan Charles Marshall, 17, of Boise, Idaho, was a finalist in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search for his project examining prehistoric climate change and what it means for our current climate challenge. For his project, Nathan used a marine sediment core to examine the warming effects of two natural pulses of carbon dioxide released 55 million years ago. Nate found that Earth recovered from the first before a second, larger pulse triggered massive warming of the planet lasting tens of thousands of years. Nate believes that his findings indicate that the planet can recover from current warming trends if humankind acts quickly to curtail carbon emissions or remove atmospheric carbon dioxide. Team Designs Robot to Clean Up New York City Subways A team of young engineers from New York City, Amro Halwah, 18, Stephen Mwingria, 17, and Si Ya “Wendy” Ni, 18, saw a problem and wanted to do something about it: they and their classmates were often delayed getting to and from school because of rubbish fires in the subway system. So, for their Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam invention, they started building a 100-lb robot on student desks in the back of their small Spanish classroom. The result, a robot that moves along subway system rails, vacuuming up debris to make New York City’s transportation system cleaner and more efficient for kids like them who take the subway to school every day. The team is comprised of two students who came to the United States less than ten years ago knowing very little English, and a first generation college student. All three are now on an educational path in computer science or engineering. Georgia Teen Wins National Competition for Research on Effects of Low-Dose Radiation On Patient Tissue Nicole O’Dell, 17, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, won first place at the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) National Competition for her research on the effects of low-dose radiation. Nicole’s project evaluated if the growth of patient diagnostic specimens are affected by exposure to low dose X-rays from security scanning machines, which are routinely used when transporting materials between research and diagnostic labs. Nicole hopes to use biotechnology to further the world’s understanding of cellular biology, replication, injury, and cellular healing, and is aiming to reach these career goals by pursuing an MD-PhD in biochemistry. No Password? No Problem! Teen Engineer Develops Novel Cell-Phone Security Technique Based on How You Lift Your Phone Yashaswini Makaram, 17, of Northborough, MA, created a new cell phone security tool that records the distinctive arm and hand motions people use to lift a cell phone from a table to uniquely identify the cell phone’s owner. To date, the technology correctly identifies a cell phone’s owner 85 percent of the time and differentiates among people with 93 percent accuracy. Yashaswini’s biometric research, which got her recognized as part of the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search, may lead to greater personalization of mobile devices. Wisconsin High-School Student Already Fulfilling Her Dream of Being a Theoretical Astrophysicist At the age of 8, while watching a television special on black holes, Kaisa Crawford-Taylor of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, decided that she wanted to become a theoretical astrophysicist. At 17, she’s already accomplishing her dream. Kasia’s Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) project uncovers very massive black holes capable of emitting gravitational waves – such as those recently discovered by LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) – using open databases; namely, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey’s tenth data release of quasars and New York University’s Value Added Catalogue. Using the computer language Python, Kaisa created a program that deftly sorted through the combined databases’ 2.7 million galaxies. The program returned a handful of potential binaries, which Kasia analyzed to identify four supermassive black hole binary candidates. Middle-School Coder Develops Tool to Help Teach the Periodic Table to the Visually Impaired Hari Bhimaraju, a 12-year old Kennedy Middle School student from Cupertino, California, used a Raspberry Pi and Arduino to design the hardware and software for “The Elementor”, a portable, low-cost teaching tool to help visually impaired students learn the periodic table of elements. When a user enters an element’s symbol with either a regular or a Braille keyboard, pictures and animations show a model for an atom of the element, along with light-up LEDs and sound beeps to describe the positions of the element’s electrons. The system, which is now available for purchase, also uses a simulated Geiger counter to provide information about radioactivity, and a voice generation feature speaks all details out loud. In addition to winning the 1st Place Award in Technology at the 2015 Broadcom MASTERS competition, two schools for the blind have reviewed the tool’s usefulness and are in the process of having their students use it. Girl-Powered Programming Brings Literature to Video Games Olivia Thomas, 18, a home-schooled student from Boise, Idaho, designed a game inspired by her love of literature, winning her accolades at the National STEM Video Game Design Challenge. At 10, Olivia became interested in creating games to express her creativity, and so taught herself to code as a means of interactive storytelling. She became immediately hooked on computer programming and began creating programs within her community to teach other girls how to code. At her virtual school, she mentors students and teachers on technology and was recently awarded a grant by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) to start a local game-design program for girls. Satisfying the Growing Demand for Pasteurized Eggs In 2015, Mikayla Ockels, an 11th-grade student at Sussex Central High School in Georgetown, Delaware, conducted a project to identify the most profitable breeds to satisfy the growing demand for pasture raised eggs. Mikayla’s project, “Identifying Genes with Roles in Power Output of Exoelectrogenic Bacteria in Microbial Fuel Cell Heritage Hens, Weighing in on Feed to Egg”, studied which breed of Heritage Breed (a hardy breed that thrives in an outdoor environment) laying hen had the optimal Feed to Egg Conversion Rate (FECR), or total feed needed to produce an egg. Mikayla’s project earned her high accolades at the 2016 International BioGENEius Challenge, where she took home the Special Award for Practical Impact. Teen Tackles Early Cancer Detection Neil Davey, 20, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, took on the study of cancer for his International BioGENEius Challenge project. Neil’s goal was to detect cancer early, when there are often more treatment options and better outcomes for cancer patients. His technique uses a combination of drop-based microfluidics and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect circulating tumor cell (CTC) genes, which are shed by tumors and enter the blood stream. In addition to improving early cancer detection, Neil’s solution provides the genomic details of the cancer, giving the treating doctor insights into the patients’ cancer that can enable for more-targeted “precision medicine” treatments. Charging the World with a Better Battery In 2014, Gabriel Mesa, 16, of, Canton, Connecticut, combined piezoelectric materials with graphene, to create a new battery technology, the “Carbon Battery”—an environmentally safe and compostable battery that generates electrical energy through mechanical instead of chemical means. The patent-pending Carbon Battery seeks to replace conventional batteries that are typically created using toxic materials. Furthermore, the Carbon Battery is self-contained and requires no external stimulation, unlike alternative batteries powered by the sun, trash, or wind. The Carbon Battery is intended to provide a clean energy source for personal-use situations—such as lighting a rural home during monsoon season, when solar power is not feasible—and also has commercial applications—such as an always-on phone battery or (when used en masse) as a method for enhancing of existing power-generation sources such as dams. This invention earned Gabriel top honors at the 10 XPrize Challenge and BROADCOM Masters, won him first place at the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair, and made him a repeat winner at the Connecticut Invention Convention. In addition to commercializing the “Carbon Battery,” Gabriel is currently working on a device for diabetic neuropathy. Las Vegas Middle School Team Takes on Sustainable City Design Las Vegas, Nevada students Sydney Lin, 13, Krishna Patel, 12, and Isha Shah, 13, overcame the obstacle of losing their original teacher and mentor to compete at the Future City National competition. These Hyde Park Middle School students created a sustainable, waste-free, municipal city, winning Team Kilau Most Sustainable Buildings and City of the Future that Best Incorporates Cultural and Historical Resources. Texas Teen Takes Natural Approach to Cancer Treatment After unexpectedly losing her grandfather to gastric cancer, high school sophomore Nia Clements, 15, of San Antonio, TX, decided to learn more about the disease and discovered an unlikely treatment in Santalum album (sandalwood) tree oil (EISO). Over the past few years, as part of her Junior Science and Humanities Symposium project, Nia examined the impact of the oil on AGS, a gastric cell line, and worked on an encapsulation for the oil and determining whether it would be degraded in stomach acid. This year, Nia studied the effects of EISO on the transmembrane ion channels of the gastric cancer cells to figure out the method by which the oil is killing and and/or inhibiting the gastric cancer cells. Trip to Solar Sprint Nationals is the First Flight for All-Girl Maryland Team The first-place team in the Maryland Army Education Outreach Program (AEOP) Junior Solar Sprint competition couldn’t believe they had won or that they would be taking their first flight to the National Competition in Grapevine, Texas. The team from Windsor Valley Boys & Girls club in Harford County, Maryland, comprised of Kylah Cain-Ward, 13, Destani Cularri, 11, Adriana Pusey, 13, and Jordan West, 12, of Edgewood, MD designed, built and raced a solar-powered vehicle. The team was so focused on testing designs, data collection, gear ratios, and time trials that they hadn’t even thought about the winning the competition, but that’s exactly what they did in the state-wide solar car race. Young Inventor Designs 3-D Printed Solution to Pesky Problem Bothered by an everyday annoyance—tangled headphone cords—Shemar Coombs, 19, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, used computer-aided design (CAD) software and a 3D printer to invent a cellphone case with a specially-designed channel along its edge that allows headphones to be easily wrapped and secured, while remaining tangle-free. The teenage entrepreneur took the invention all the way to the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship National Challenge. Passionate about both business and music, Shemar plans to donate a portion of the profits from his budding business to music programs in developing countries. Young Coders Design App to Help Cancer Patients Inspired by some of the 1.5 million Mayo Clinic patients around the world, three girls, represented by Lydia Mindermann, 13, and Andrea Richard Kasson, 14, of Kason-, Minnesota, developed an international award-winning app to help patients. The girls observed that patients had high levels of stress and anxiety, sometimes felt lonely and scared or lost among the hospital buildings, and were unaware of what was available to do during their free time between appointments and treatments. The team’s “Mayo Free Time” app, which beat out 400 apps from 28 different countries to win the Technovation Challenge, displays activities happening at the Mayo Clinic that patients can participate in, a map of the Mayo campus along with the city of Rochester, and a chat and help screen. While helping patients of Mayo Clinic, the girls learned computer science and entrepreneurship and heard from technology leaders, including women role models, during the international finals of the Technovation Challenge. The Flyest Sophomore Around Talie Cloud, a sophomore from Sanger, California, conducted a project to see whether Momordica charantia (bitter melon seed) could be used as an organic insecticide for managing populations of fruit flies and other agricultural pests. After examining the effects of bitter melon seed on the reproductive rate of Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) after four generations of exposure, Talie concluded that, since the bitter melon concentration within the Drosophila medium increased and the reproductive rate after four generations significantly decreased when compared to the control, Momordica charantia could be a cost-efficient and effective agricultural insecticide that acts upon the reproduction of the pest. For her findings, Talie was named a National Winner at the FFA Agriscience Fair. Microwave Goodbye to Energy Loss Annie Ostojic, 13, of Munster, Indiana, was the winner of the 2015 Broadcom MASTERS competition. In 2014, Annie designed a microwave container to cook food more thoroughly with less energy. In testing her design, however, Annie noticed a significant loss of energy around the corners of the microwave. She determined that the best method to improve this technology would require redesigning the microwave cavity itself to refocus lost corner energy onto turntable food. In 2015, Annie tackled this problem by measuring various microwaves to identify energy wasting hotspots, testing seven types of reflector materials, and applying what she learned to design three aluminum-foil reflectors for a more efficient microwave design. Annie, who has applied for a patent for her new microwave design, is an 8th-grade student at the Wilbur Wright Middle School, and also takes classes at Munster High School, where she convinced the local principal to let her take high-school computer-science courses with her older peers. The Teen Who’s Putting an End to Oil Leaks Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna, 17, of Elmont, New York, was named a finalist in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search for adding a nanoclay ingredient called attapulgite to cement slurries to improve the undersea cement seals that keep offshore oil wells from leaking. She found that adding nanoclay at just 0.3 percent of the total volume of the mixture markedly improved the mixture’s properties. Augusta’s initial interest in cement stemmed from her learning that production of cement accounts for 7% of human-made carbon emissions. The Unbotable Robotics Team In 2004, as a struggling Mobile County, Alabama, school trying to find its identity in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) world, the W.P. Davidson faculty and students decided to take a leap of faith and participate in the BEST Robotics program. The team had no tools to manufacture a robot, no space to work, and no classes devoted to engineering, and the newly formed robotics team went to the community for donations. In a relatively short period of time, their hard work, success and motivation lead to the creation of the EPIC Program (Engineering Pathways Integrated Curriculum) for their school. Now, in 2016, W.P. Davidson High School is home to the largest K-12 engineering program in the state of Alabama, all students have access to 3D printers, CNC machines, and advanced simulation software and the faculty and students mentor schools throughout the Gulf Coast region and the Black Belt of Alabama, encouraging more students to become excited about science and engineering. W.P. Davidson High School, represented by Jacob Bosarge, 17, Nolan Lenard, 16, and Rupa Palanki, 17, has become one of the best of the BEST in Alabama, winning 1st Place Overall BEST Award in the Jubilee BEST Robotics Competition and 2nd Place Overall BEST Award in the South’s BEST Regional Championship—making W.P. Davidson’s team the highest-ranking team in Alabama. The Rainbow App that Helps Dyslexic Students Devon, 14, and Trevor, 11, Langley representing a team from Haute, Indiana, harnessed the power of the rainbow to help dyslexic students learn mathematics. This innovative young team developed the ROY G. BIV Math System, an app designed to improve the way children challenged with dyslexia learn new math concepts. A color-coded system keeps digits in place when children do any kind of math operation. The system uses the rainbow color order so children will recognize if they unintentionally move digits because the familiar ROY G. BIV pattern will also be out of order. By assigning a unique color to each place value, the system makes mathematical operations easier for a child with dyslexia to follow, and also offers learning benefits for children with dysgraphia or a more serious math disorder called dyscalculia. The team’s colorful innovation earned them the FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award. Oklahoma Team Triumphs at Robotics Competitions The Cybercats Robotics Team of the Woodall School in Tahlequah, Oklahoma has competed in and taken home trophies at a FIRST LEGO League Robotics Competition, as well as the Vexpo 15 competition hosted by the Cherokee Nation Education Services and Northeastern State University College of Education. The team, represented by Ty Brant, 12, Anthony Maldonado, 13, Benjamin Woolen, 13, Taylor Wingo, 12, put their science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) classroom concepts to the test in these robotics competitions by designing and building a robot to compete against others in a game-based engineering challenge. By being good competitors and working collaboratively, displaying a high level of enthusiasm and passion for robotics, and enriching the event experience for others, the Wildcats were rewarded, taking home prizes at each competition. Middle School Students Build Prosthetics to Help Keep Veterans Active Inspired by neighboring Buckley Air Force Base and, in particular, a veteran who needed a more comfortable and functional prosthetic limb, Simon-Peter Frimpong, 13, Maya Max-Villard, 13, and Grayson Fast, 14, designed and built a new prosthetic leg that will allow an amputee to hike, manage uneven terrain, and even skateboard! The team hails from Horizon Middle School in Aurora, CO, a school with students representing 56 countries and speaking 35 languages. Through the use of computer design, 3D printing of prototypes, and interviewing the veteran who would be using the prosthetic, the team delivered a more-functional artificial limb, earning them a spot as finalists in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow national competition. Preventing Future Kidney Failure 18-year-old Sanjana Rane, from Prospect, Kentucky, has helped discover how a particular protein could be used to detect and treat renal fibrosis. Her discovery helps to prevent renal fibrosis from developing into end-stage renal disease, an incurable total failure of the kidneys. Sanjana first became interested in pursuing medical research when she read a USA Today study ranking Louisville, her hometown, as having some of the worst air quality in the United States. She began to look into the dangers of air pollution and learned about the chemical acrolein, which is found in both cigarette and industrial smoke and can cause kidney damage. As Sanjana delved into her research, she began to focus on how to shift acrolein’s influence on the kidneys by using a particular protein as a therapeutic target. This novel approach won Sanjana a scholarship at the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. Looking forward in her career, Sanjana is interested in pursuing medicine; in particular, Sanjana would like to practice regenerative medicine to explore how to use stem cells to treat diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and ALS. MUD Power- Students Identify Novel Way to Clean-Up Oil and Create Energy Kimberly Te and Christine Yoo, now seniors at Manhasset Senior High School in Manhasset, New York, have been friends since the 1st Grade, and since then, both have been passionate about science. Kimberly and Christine’s National Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology Grand Prize winning project is titled “Natural, Cost-Effective Anodes for Optimized Sediment Microbial Fuel Cells: Engineering a Novel Approach to Harvesting Energy and Cleaning Up Oil-Polluted Regions.” Working from their high-school laboratory, they engineered a device, known as a microbial fuel cell (MFCs), which can produce clean energy and help clean up oil spills using natural, sustainable materials. MFCs, colloquially called “mud power,” are a developing technology that use bacteria to produce electrical energy from organic matter, like marine sediment or wastewater. Their novel design and approach uses an everyday loofah sponge—a natural and readily available material—to take the otherwise unusable oil from oil spills to generate clean energy. Kimberly and Christine found that their design significantly increases power production, effectively removes oil-spill pollution, and is highly cost-effective. Sea Dirty Water? Wave Goodbye Every summer Deepika Kurup, 18, and her family travel from their home in Nashua, New Hampshire, to visit India. In the United States, Deepika always had the privilege of having unlimited access to potable water, but in India, she saw children drink water that she felt was too dirty to touch. Deepika wanted to find out why these people lacked access to safe water, a substance that’s essential for life. Deepika learned that the world is facing a global water crisis and that, according to the World Health Organization, one-ninth of the global population lacks access to clean water. This unacceptable social injustice compelled Deepika to find a solution to the world’s clean-water problem—a solar-powered technology that uses silver and other materials to rapidly remove bacteria from water. Deepika’s innovation made her a finalist in the 2015 Google Science Fair and a winner of the National Geographic Explorer Award. Deepika hopes to use her creation to provide cleaner drinking water to families in India and around the world. Teen Builds on Personal Experience to Develop Vaccine Transporter When Anurudh Ganesan, now 16, was an infant, his grandparents walked him 10 miles to a remote clinic in India in order to receive a vaccination. When they arrived, the vaccines were ineffective due to the high temperatures and lack of refrigeration. Although Anurudh was fortunate and ultimately received the vaccination, others are not. Anurudh learned that, according to UNICEF, 1.5 million children die every year as a result of not getting the safe and effective vaccines that they so desperately need. He also discovered that ice packs used to transport vaccines can freeze the vaccines, rendering them ineffective. This inspired Anurudh, who now lives in Clarksburg, Maryland, to explore a better method of refrigerating vaccines immediately prior to use, particularly in developing countries. His creation, VAXXWAGON, can effectively transport vaccines in the last leg of distribution without the use of ice and electricity, saving potentially thousands of lives throughout the world. Anurudh’s project made him a finalist in the 2015 Google Science Fair. Team Rock-It Just Needs Space Team Rock-It of Durham, North Carolina, has experienced great success at amateur rocketry, including making the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) national finals in 2013 and 2014, finishing in the top 25 teams during their second year. Their success qualified them for NASA’s follow-on Student Launch Initiative, where their payload system garnered high praise from engineers at NASA. The team also won multiple awards at the prestigious NASA competition. The team is comprised of high-school seniors Samantha Armistead, 17, Judy Cheng, 17, Ryan Hill, 18, Emma Jaynes, 17, and Evan Perry, 17, all of whom plan to pursue higher education in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields of computer science, astronomy, and neurobiology. Girl Coders Provide Supportive Community for LGBTQ Peers Navigating gender identity, sexual orientation, and romantic orientation can be an isolating and difficult journey, particularly for high-school students. To create a more positive and welcoming environment, a group of teen girl programmers created Spectrum, an Android app that aims to provide a social-media network for the LGBTQIA+ community, especially younger users looking for a safe support system. The app was imagined and designed by the team of San Diego, California, teens Siobhan Garry, 17, Mona Fariborzi, 17, Lauren Mori, 17, Bansi Parekh, 17, and McKenna Stamp, 18. This Team Is (Intentionally Not) On Fire! Team FireArmor is one of the five winners of the 2015 Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge, an honor bestowed upon a team of high-school inventors and entrepreneurs. The competition challenges high-school students to use science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills to develop commercially viable, technology-based products that address real-world challenges. FireArmor is an innovative protective apparel designed to protect firefighters or anyone who faces extreme temperatures. It was created by then Centreville, Virginia, and Gahanna, Ohio team members, Savannah Cofer, 18, Valerie Chen, 18, Matthew Sun, 17, and Varun Vallabhaneni, 17. Unlike any protective apparel on the market today, FireArmor is composed of an inorganic, endothermic fiber that absorbs heat from its environment and keeps the firefighter safe even at dangerously high temperatures. Current firefighter turnout gear rapidly degrades above 300 degrees Celsius and provides less than six seconds of protection in flash fire conditions. In contrast, FireArmor keeps the firefighter safe even above 1000 degrees Celsius and provides up to five minutes of protection in flash fire conditions. The team was inspired to create FireArmor two years ago, when 19 Arizona firefighters were surrounded and killed during a flash fire. After the Arizona tragedy, the team started thinking about whether an endothermic chemical reaction like that used in instant ice packs could be used to offer a dramatic improvement in firefighter apparel. Team FireArmor is currently working on both a patent and a trademark. AMNO & CO Isn’t Going Underwater, But Their Robot Certainly Is Alex Miller, 17, Clara Orndorff 19, and Nicholas Orndorff, 16, of Seattle, Washington, started in 2010 with a $130 kit of underwater robotics parts provided by the MATE Center’s Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) grant from the National Science Foundation. The students’ goal was to design and build an underwater robot to complete the mission tasks laid out by the MATE competition. The team, named for their initials, AMNO & CO, did just that. They entered the competition’s SCOUT (beginner level) class in 2010, and the following year, they challenged themselves to move up to the RANGER (intermediate level) class. In 2013 and 2014 they won the RANGER class at their regional event, advancing to the MATE international competition where they placed 13th (2013) and 6th (2014) overall. They advanced to the international competition again in 2015 where, five years after their passion for science and engineering was first ignited, their hard work and perseverance paid off—they won! In addition to 1st place, in 2015 AMNO & CO was presented with the RANGER class award for Design Elegance and the Health, Safety, and Environmental (HSE) Award sponsored by Oceaneering International. Alex, Clara, and Nicholas were also recognized for the mentorship they provide to other students just getting started—hoping to inspire the next team to move from SCOUT to RANGER to champions! Building More than Robots South Los Angeles, California, has long been associated with gang violence, drugs, and high-school graduation rates of 60 percent or less. More than 80 percent of its community lives at or below the national poverty level, and 64 percent of kids grow up in single-parent households. In these neighborhoods, nearly 100 percent of students qualify for the Federal Lunch Program. And although crime rates and police chases often drive the headlines here, an inner-city robotics team, represented by Ana Hernendez, 18, and Jason Mares, 17, is helping to finally rewrite them. Team 597 took home the Chairman’s Award at the 2015 FIRST Championship in St. Louis—the most prestigious award of the competition, which honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of the FIRST organization. Every team member logs at least 200 hours of community service, adding up to a 6,000-hour team total each year. Team 597 takes into consideration not only their own neighborhood but the global community, as well. They’ve established a partnership with School in a Bottle, a program focused on advancing technology and constructing environmentally-friendly schools, built from recycled bottles, for children in Guatemala. They also lend a hand to FIRST Robotics Competition teams abroad by sharing their time and resources, helping them to overcome season challenges and most importantly, spreading the message of FIRST. FIRST Robotics Competition Team 597, The Wolverines, certainly build more than robots—they build community. A Motivated 15-Year-Old Creates MotivateMe When 15-year-old Diana Veronin’s grandfather had a stroke and had a hard time motivating himself to do his rehabilitation exercises, Diana, of Hillsboro, New Jersey, took it upon herself to create a device to help patients like her grandfather. Diana’s device, MotivateMe, is a compact, low-cost wristband that uses wearable technology to motivate stroke patients to do their rehabilitation exercises frequently and correctly. A therapist can program specific exercises for the patient to do while wearing the device. The device will then use the accelerometer to record movement data. When the patient wears the device, the machine-learning software used in the device will analyze movement patterns for the different exercises to detect when and how frequently a patient does an exercise correctly. The Breathtaking Device That Cuts Costs but Not Quality Maya Varma, a 17-year-old from San Jose, California, was astounded at the price of diagnostic spirometers—the machines used to analyze lung health by having patients blow into them. The devices typically cost hundreds of dollars, so Maya Varma developed a 3D printed version, that costs a mere $35. Maya used her knowledge of 3D printing, electrical engineering, and computer science, along with data of lung capacity and flow rate, to build the device, which can currently diagnose chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and restrictive lung disease with remarkable accuracy. The Electronics Aquarium tubing connects the spirometer to a pressure sensor that converts the pressure change to voltage. An Arduino microcontroller sends the voltage data to an Android app. The Spirometer Varma’s system uses a 3D-printed Lilly pneumotachometer, a spirometer that calculates flow by measuring the pressure change across a mesh when you blow into it. Maya’s (literally) breathtaking invention earned her a slot as a 2016 Intel STS finalist, where her spirometer was selected as one of the top 40 projects in the nation. These Kids are In Charge: California Students Build Solar-Powered Charging Station for Electric Vehicles When these Union City, California students, represented by Shaneel Narayan, 18, and Jahsene Tongco, 18, realized that even for electric cars, the energy generated to charge them often comes from fossil fuels, they set a goal to change that reality. A team of young engineers from James Logan High School took on the challenge of designing and building a solar charging station for an electric vehicle—enabling a car to be fully powered by renewable and sustainable energy sources. Their result earned them a spot as finalists at the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow national competition. They built a full-scale charging station requiring engineering and wiring precision, incorporating a solar array, batteries, solar charge controller, inverter, and an Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE). Possibly their biggest accomplishment, they convinced a teacher to allow them to test the charging station on his car…and it worked!

U.S. companies are most effective when they can rely on the same cybersecurity standards overseas as they do in the United States. Not only do common standards make it easier for product development and sales, companies can more easily maintain and enhance network defense and resilience, which are vital in today’s world of diverse cyber threats.  That’s why I am pleased to announce the release of a new strategy to improve the U.S. government’s participation in the development and use of international standards for cybersecurity. This new report, entitled “ Interagency Report on Strategic U.S. Government Engagement in International Standardization to Achieve U.S. Objectives for Cybersecurity ” and “ Supplemental Information for the Interagency Report on Strategic U.S. Government Engagement in International Standardization to Achieve U.S. Objectives for Cybersecurity ,” articulates U.S. government strategic objectives and outlines recommendations to achieve those objectives. The U.S. approach to developing international standards relies on hundreds of mostly non-governmental organizations to develop standards and specifications and to provide the infrastructure for the preparation of standards documents.  This approach allows the users of standards, as well as representatives from industry, academia, and government, to all participate in the standards development process. The U.S. Government receives no preferential treatment in this process. This non-governmental approach yields standards of better technical rigor and industry uptake, helps support innovation, and enables the rapid adaptation and evolution of standards. When used to support cybersecurity standards, this development structure helps improve the effectiveness of those standards in promoting security and resiliency of critical information and communications infrastructure internationally.  The process also builds trust among those creating and those using the solutions throughout the world.  These standards include cybersecurity measures that are necessary to protect everyday applications such as online commerce, smart electricity meters, networked medical devices, and online banking.  Simply put, we believe that a consensus-based, private sector-driven international standards development process, with input from all interested stakeholders, is superior to a top-down, national government-controlled approach to standards.  We are committed to advocating for the adoption of a global approach to standards development around the world. The report supports the 2010 United States Standards Strategy , which was developed through a public-private partnership coordinated by the American National Standards Institute, and outlines the contribution of private-sector led standards development to competition and innovation in the U.S. economy and the imperative of public and private-sector participation and collaboration. The strategy is also fully consistent with the standards-related provisions of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act, as well as OMB Circular A-119, which sets out Federal standards policy. The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014 directed the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to work with relevant federal agencies to ensure interagency coordination in “the development of international technical standards related to information system security” and to “ensure consultation with appropriate private sector stakeholders.” NIST worked with those agencies, and consulted with the private sector, in the development of a strategy to implement the Act via a newly established International Cybersecurity Standards (ICS) Working Group. The ICS Working Group has now been asked to coordinate implementation of the recommendations in the report.  The Working Group looks forward to working with private sector partners on implementation in 2016. J. Michael Daniel is Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator

Third-quarter economic growth was revised upward as domestic demand continued to grow at a solid pace. Slowing foreign demand continues to weigh on overall growth, underscoring the importance of policies that promote strong and consistent domestic demand instead of unnecessary austerity and fiscal brinksmanship. That’s why Congress needs to finish its business this year: passing a complete budget that builds on last month’s bipartisan budget agreement, increasing investments in surface transportation infrastructure, and reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank. FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY'S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS (BEA)   1. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose 2.1 percent at an annual rate in the third quarter, according to BEA’s second estimate.  In the third quarter, GDP grew at a faster pace than originally estimated, but at a slower pace than the 3.9 percent rate in the second quarter. Third-quarter GDP growth was boosted by consumer spending (which rose 3.0 percent), business fixed investment (which rose 2.4 percent) and residential investment (which rose 7.3 percent). However, inventory investment—one of the most volatile components of economic output—subtracted 0.6 percentage point from overall growth. Net exports continued to weigh on output, subtracting 0.2 percentage point amid slowing global demand. Export growth remains well below the pace observed earlier in the recovery. Overall, real GDP rose 2.2 percent over the past four quarters. Real Gross Domestic Output (GDO)—the average of product-side and income-side measures of output—rose 2.6 percent in the third quarter, a faster pace than GDP alone. But in the second quarter—including upward revisions to wages and salaries—GDO is now estimated to have grown 3.0 percent at an annual rate, somewhat slower than GDP. CEA research suggests that GDO is potentially more accurate than GDP (though not typically stronger or weaker) over the long term. GDO is estimated to have grown 2.2 percent over the past four quarters, the same pace as GDP. 2. Third-quarter real GDP growth was revised up 0.6 percentage point at an annual rate. The upward revision was more than accounted for by a smaller decline in inventory investment than initially estimated, contributing 0.9 percentage point to the GDP growth revision. A modest downward revision to net exports partially offset that shift, reflecting both lower exports and higher imports than previously estimated. Services consumption growth was also revised down slightly. On balance, these revisions tend to move third-quarter growth more in line with longer-term trends, with net exports weighing on growth and inventories having a smaller impact.   3. Changes in inventory investment, including the third-quarter decline, tell us little about underlying growth trends. The change in inventory investment is an especially volatile component of economic output, frequently adding or subtracting a full percentage point or more from annualized GDP growth in a given quarter. But over longer time periods, quarterly fluctuations in inventory investment tend to cancel one another out and have little impact on long-term growth. For example, although changes in inventory investment subtracted 0.6 percentage point from growth in the third quarter, they have had a negligible impact on average growth over the past year. If the economy grows at its post-crisis trend of 2.1 percent per year, inventories would need to grow by about $50 billion per year to keep pace with overall sales. Inventory investment has been above that level lately, consistent with a rising inventory-sales ratio. Inventory investment did grow less quickly in the third quarter, but the pace of investment remains well above the $50 billion pace consistent with a stable inventory-sales ratio and average GDP growth. Especially when considering the recent high level of inventory investment, there is further scope for declines in inventory investment in the coming quarters.   4.  Residential investment growth has picked up over the past year.  Over the past four quarters, residential investment has grown 9.2 percent—the strongest four-quarter growth rate since the bounce-back from the financial crisis in 2012 and 2013. One encouraging sign for residential investment is household formation, which includes young adults moving into their own residence. Formation has grown sharply during the past year, providing scope for increasing residential investment. Housing demand is expected to continue to strengthen as household formation rises, credit availability improves, and the labor market continues to strengthen. One important structural challenge facing the supply of housing is the rise in excessive or unnecessary land use regulations. While land use regulations sometimes serve reasonable and legitimate purposes, they can also give extra-normal returns to entrenched interests at the expense of others. I recently discussed these trends—and their links to both aggregate growth and rising inequality —at the Urban Institute. 5. Real private domestic final purchases (PDFP)—the sum of consumption and fixed investment—rose 3.1 percent at an annual rate in the third quarter and is growing at a faster four-quarter pace than overall GDP.  Real PDFP—which excludes noisier components like net exports, inventories, and government spending—is generally a  more reliable indicator of next-quarter GDP growth than current GDP . To the extent that systematic patterns emerge in global growth, however, the information contained in exports may contain an important signal about the headwinds we face from abroad. Overall, PDFP rose 3.2 percent over the past four quarters, compared with 2.2 percent GDP growth over the same period. The especially large gap between PDFP growth and GDP growth is largely attributable to net exports, reflecting slowing growth abroad. As the Administration stresses every quarter, GDP figures can be volatile and are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any single report, and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.  

Tonight at midnight, America’s Export-Import Bank will shut its doors because, after 81 years, Congress has failed to reauthorize it for the first time in history.  So what is the Export-Import Bank? It’s an independent federal agency with one simple mission: support American jobs by helping businesses sell their products abroad. The majority of these companies are small businesses – the engine of our economy – and helping them go global plays a critical role in strengthening our country’s economy.  That’s why nearly 60 countries, including China, make significant investments in their own Export-Import Banks. These competitors are fighting for sales and the export-backed jobs that come along with it – and starting tomorrow when our bank has expired, American businesses will be less competitive to keep those jobs at home. When our Export-Import Bank lapses, China and our other rivals will pick up the slack, putting American businesses and American workers at a disadvantage. In fact, a senior official from one of China’s versions of the Export-Import Bank recently said that the expiration of our bank is a “good thing” for China.  Take a look to see just how far behind China we are when it comes to support for our Export-Import Bank: read more

Today, farmers, ranchers, and rural communities are more prosperous thanks to strong trade agreements. Foreign markets contribute to more than half of total sales for many American agricultural products. The last six years have been the strongest in history for agricultural exports, and agricultural exports now support more than 1 million good-paying American jobs. Without the expanded trade that came with past trade agreements, the agricultural economy and the American economy as a whole would not be as strong as it is today. But new trade agreements are only possible if our negotiators can speak with one voice to negotiate free and fair trade deals. Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) — now being considered in Congress — allows them to do just that. Here's what’s at stake. The world is becoming even more competitive — opportunities and power are taken out of the hands of hardworking American farmers and put into the hands of their competitors. That is why the President is negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will further open Asia-Pacific markets for American agricultural products. It’s time for Congress to stand up for American businesses, communities, and families, rural and urban alike, and pass TPA legislation. Here are five reasons why trade is important for the U.S. agricultural industry: read more