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Employment, Workforce & Education

Daily Update – 105

NYS Department of Health Emergency Rule Addresses Social distancing Enforcement Measures.

The rule imposes strict requirements on businesses, employees, and customers regarding the wearing of face coverings:

  • Any person who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or face-covering.
  • Any employee who is present in the workplace shall be provided and shall wear a mask or face-covering when in direct contact with customers or members of the public, or when unable to maintain social distance. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings for their employees.
  • Business operators and building owners, and those authorized on their behalf shall deny admittance to any person who fails to comply with this section and shall require or compel such persons’ removal. Provided, however, that this regulation shall be applied in a manner consistent with the federal American with Disabilities Act, New York State or New York City Human Rights Law, and any other applicable provision of law.
  • The emergency rule requires all businesses and not-for-profit entities to utilize, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work from home procedures that they can safely utilize – except as may otherwise be permitted by any Executive Order.

A violation of any provision of this rule is subject to all civil and criminal penalties as provided for by law. Individuals who violate the rule are subject to a maximum fine of $1,000 for each violation. For purposes of civil penalties, each day that there is a non-essential gathering or that a business operates in a manner inconsistent with the rule shall constitute a separate violation.

The emergency rule is extensive and can be viewed here.

Shifting to Enforcement: Executive Orders 202.47 and 202.48 Reflect a New Tone

Attorneys Caitlin A. Anderson and Hermes Fernandez from Council Associate Member Bond Schoeneck & King write that uver the Fourth of July holiday weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.47. and on July 6, the Governor issued Executive Order 202.48. Both of these orders are lengthy. Both impact businesses, municipalities and individuals. Both modify and change prior executive orders. Importantly, both represent the shift in the governor’s tone. There is an emphasis on enforcement of prior mandates.

Read more at BSK

DiNapoli: Local Governments Face ‘Profound’ Fiscal Challenges

Local governments are facing a “profound” fiscal reckoning from the economic crisis created by the pandemic, with the typical county government losing millions of dollars in revenue, a report released Thursday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found. 

The loss of revenue from sales and property taxes, as well as from state aid, will likely lead to public worker layoffs and service reductions.  A “typical” New York county will lose $34.9 million in sales tax revenue this year, as well as $21.5 million in state aid, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo has indicated could be cut by 20 percent if federal money is not made available.

Read more at New York State of Politics

Trump Administration: Unemployed Shouldn’t Be Paid More Not To Work

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday expressed support for extending unemployment benefits to Americans who are still suffering from the economic consequences of the coronavirus. But he was adamant those benefits will likely be reduced from current levels to encourage people to go back to work. Said Mnuchin: “We’re going to make sure that people are incented to go back to jobs.”

 A working paper from economists at the University of Chicago finds about 68% of unemployed workers who collect unemployment under the current expanded benefits structure get benefits that are more than their original wages. 

Read more at Forbes

Manufacturing in the Presidential Campaign- Biden Unveils “Build Back Better” Agenda

According to CNBC the $700 billion proposal focuses on manufacturing.

 “Biden calls for a $400 billion, four-year increase in government purchasing of U.S.-based goods and services plus $300 billion in new research and development in U.S. technology concerns. Among other policies announced Thursday, he proposes tightening current ‘Buy American’ laws….”

The plan’s target for funding will be the “repeal [of] Republican-backed tax breaks.” It also calls for the “End of  ‘shareholder capitalism.'”

While the details will face serious debate, the campaign’s plan means that manufacturers and the NAM are again front-and-center. “We are glad to see that both candidates understand the importance of manufacturing in America and the role it plays in our economic success as a country.” Said NAM Senior Vice President of Communications and Brand Strategy Erin Streeter.”

Read More at CNBC

OSHA Highlights Which of Its Standards Apply To COVID-19

OSHA has outlined which of its standards are applicable to the COVID 19 pandemic and how to Comply.  The section highlights OSHA standards and directives (instructions for compliance officers) and other related information that may apply to worker exposure to the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

OSHA requirements apply to preventing occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Among the most relevant are:

  • OSHA’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standards (in general industry, 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I), and, in construction, 29 CFR 1926 Subpart E)
  • The General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970, 29 USC 654(a)(1)
  • Other Standards such as Blood Borne Pathogens that offer practices that proceedures that are useful in controlling the spread of the virus.

Visit the site

Senate Proposal Would Streamline Forgiveness Of Loans Under $150,000

U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), of the Senate Banking Committee introduced The Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act. The ACT would forgive PPP loans of $150,000 or less if the borrower submits a one-page attestation form to the lender. It also ensures the lender will be held harmless from any enforcement action if the borrower’s attestation contained falsehoods. 

According to Senator Cramer, there are 3.7 million PPP loans of $150,00 or less, for 85 percent of all PPP approved loans. Yet those loans are only 26 percent of the PPP funds delivered. “The costs of applying for forgiveness of a PPP loan of this size is $2,000 for the small business and $500 for the lender.”

Read more at Forbes

Some Economies are Bouncing Back, But Recoveries Can Easily Go Wrong

Most forecasters reckon that advanced-economy output, after plunging in the first half of 2020, is likely to regain its pre-crisis level some time after 2021. But not all recoveries will be equal. Some rich countries, such as Germany and South Korea, look best placed to bounce back—a “v-shaped recovery”, in the jargon. The path of GDP elsewhere may look more like an l or a w. The Economist’s analysis of real-time mobility data also shows how easily economic recoveries can go wrong, as consumers react to the possibility of fresh outbreaks.

Read more at The Economist

Is COVID-19 Ushering in the Next Generation of Smart Factories?

The concept of a smart factory or even the factory of the future conjures up a number of differing images. This is true whether it’s a highly efficient facility leveraging the best minds in manufacturing to create new offerings. Or the lights out, data driven factories capable of seamlessly creating customized goods on demand. The reality is probably somewhere in between.  A factory with a skilled workforce, perhaps working side-by-side with collaborative robots, making the most of AI/ML, computer vision and an entire array of data-fueled equipment. 

Read the article and see the slide show


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Daily Update – 104

Reopening Schools – A Case For

Why Schools Should Reopen This Fall

The usual reason offered is that children need the psychological, social, and education benefits from in-person learning that virtual learning can’t adequately replicate.  I offer another: By keeping kids out of school, we are hurting their later-life economic outcomes.

A consensus estimate among economists is that an additional year of schooling increases wages by around 9%. If last spring and this fall should be written off, then keeping the schools closed may lead to a significant reduction in future earnings for today’s students. My back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that represents a loss of over $30,000 per decade in earnings for a typical worker who graduated high school but didn’t attend college. The longer schools are closed, the larger the hit future earnings will take.
Furthermore, keeping schools closed again this fall will hurt the future earnings of today’s lower-income kids the most. In addition, the damage this is doing to the careers of parents is likely cumulative.

Read more at National Review

Reopening Schools – A Case Against

Schools Should not Open Until Safety is Assured

Local districts don’t have the necessary resources or capacity to maintain even the most basic prevention measures of six feet physical distancing and limiting contacts.  “We should be clear eyed about this reality,” wrote CTA president Toby Boyd.  “How can we physically reopen schools with lower thresholds of safety than we currently have for restaurants or hair salons?”

They said that teachers want to be back in class with their students, “but we cannot ignore science facts and safety.”  The preferred model, they suggested, would be “to start the new school year under robust distance learning protocols until the virus is contained in local communities and proper safety measures can be put into place.”

Read more at EdSource

PPP Forgiveness Webinar from PKF O’Conner Davies

Council of Industry partner Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation hosted a webinar yesterday (July 9th) on PPP forgiveness.  The webinar was presented by Council of Industry Associate Member PKF O’Conner Davies. 

The presentation slides are here

The webinar can be viewed here

Update on the Impact of New York Travel Restrictions on Employers

Our Friends and Associate Members Bond Schoeneck and King write that on July 2, 2020, the New York Department of Health (DOH) published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the travel restrictions imposed by Executive Order 205 (EO 205) and Guidance issued by DOH on June 24, 2020, both effective on June 25, 2020. 

The FAQs begin by reinforcing several points made by EO 205 and the Original Guidance. Specifically, the FAQs confirm that EO 205 is not applicable to individuals arriving in New York prior to June 25, 2020, or those who spent less than 24 hours in a designated state. They also set forth the same nine restrictions applicable to individuals in quarantine, ranging from restrictions on food delivery to requirements for separate living quarters. It is clear that this 14-day quarantine applies to all non-essential employees, whether they are New York residents or simply visitors to the State.

The FAQs also clarify that an employee who has traveled to a restricted state cannot return to work even if the employee has tested negative for COVID-19 after returning to New York.

Read more at BSK 

Read the FAQs

NAM Global Economic Update: Global Economy Starts to Rebound, but with Lingering Challenges

Economist Chad Moutray reports that the J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI rebounded for the second straight month, rising to its strongest reading since January. Overall, the sector continues to stabilize in most economies, even as activity remains contractionary and challenges persist worldwide due to COVID-19 and the severe worldwide recession. Manufacturers are cautiously optimistic for stronger output over the next six months.

Sentiment among the top 10 markets for U.S.-manufactured goods improved in every economy in June, with four markets expanding, up from just one (China) in May. These major trading partners have continued to steady after plummeting in April to levels that were either the worst since the Great Recession or at record lows.

Global Manufacturing Economic Report 07092020

German Exports Rebounded Less than Expected

German exports jumped by 9% in May, new figures showed. The increase, however, was lower than that expected by a panel of economists polled by Reuters. Germany’s economy is highly dependent on exports, particularly of high-tech manufactured goods. As foreign markets are hit by the pandemic, the German government is trying to do more to stimulate domestic demand.

Read More at Marketwatch

Airline and Aircraft Industry News 

Rolls Royce: A trading statement today by Rolls-Royce gives an insight into how badly it has battered a company that relies on making the engines hanging from the wings of widebodied planes. In good times, Rolls’s services model—selling “power by the hour”, rather than selling engines outright—ensures a steady stream of income. Rolls thinks flight hours will be down by about 55% this year and expects a cash outflow of £4bn. Rolls, in the midst of a restructuring as the virus struck, has already cut 9,000 jobs to save cash and will hope that predictions that long-haul travel could take years to recover are exaggerated. The company will also hope that its defense and power business, which accounted for 40% of revenues and the bulk of profits in 2019, remains more buoyant than aviation.

Read More

United Airlines: The Company told 36,000 pilots, flight attendants and customer-service employees that they may be furloughed. If the cuts are carried out in full, that would represent around 40% of its staff. The American carrier has had to contend with the near total collapse in demand for air travel. It says it could rehire staff once demand returns—currently a distant prospect.

Read More 

How Supply Chain Mapping Can Help Companies

Improved supply chain resilience starts with mapping factors such as materials, finished goods and the countries involved in importing and exporting, as well as considering risk by categories such as labor and global trade rules, writes Anne van de Heetkamp of Descartes. “Reference data as well as supply chain mapping are both dynamic, which means vulnerabilities change accordingly — ideally because appropriate action is taken to address them,” she writes.

Read the full story at Supply Chain Dive

OSHA COVID-19 Guidance Advises Wearing Masks in Workplace

Jackson Lewis, friend and Associate Member of the Council of Industry, write “Consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, OSHA advises employers to encourage workers to wear cloth face coverings while at work. OSHA also recommends maintaining social distancing in the workplace, even when workers wear cloth face coverings.”  

They also discuss other face covering issues including whether a respiratory protection program required.

Read more at Jackson Lewis

Main Street Lending Program

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has published a state-by-state listing of lenders participating in the Main Street Lending Program that are currently accepting applications from potential Main Street borrowers. The Boston Fed plans to update the list on a regular basis as additional lenders are approved.

View the lender listing on the Main Street Lending program website


read more »

Daily Update – 103

School Reopening Guidance Will be Available July 13, District Reopening Plans Due July 31st, Decision First Week in August 

Governor Cuomo today announced that malls will be permitted to reopen on Friday, July 10th.  However, in order to open, malls must be located in a region in Phase IV, have an HVAC filtration system with a MERv-11 rating or higher, and institute ventilation protocols to increase the amount of outdoor air being brought into the mall.

The Governor also announced that New York State will make the decision as to  whether schools will reopen this fall during the first week of August. New York State is now consulting with stakeholders on guidance, which will be finalized on July 13. Plans to reopen schools are due on July 31. As part of the examinations, the State is considering air filtration systems similar to the new requirements on malls. 

“We have been consulting all stakeholders on guidance for how a school would reopen in September. We have 700 school districts in this state, and they range from rural to urban to suburban areas. Localities are very involved in their schools and school decisions, so we have been meeting with them,” Governor Cuomo said.

All County Fairs will be cancelled by Executive Order. 

Read the Press Release

Regional Economic Development Council’s Grant Program (The CFA Process) On Hold For Now

Due to the coronavirus, and all of the economic devastation it has wrought, sources say New York’s 10th annual Regional Economic Development Council competition — where the state invests $750 million in projects from Buffalo to Long island — is unlikely to take place in 2020.

Officials from Empire State Development, which oversees the program, say the competition is under review as the state examines budget shortfalls due to the pandemic. “The REDC’s bottom-up, locally driven process has helped revitalize regional economies across the state,” said Kristin Devoe, a spokeswoman for ESD. “However, the reality is, the State is contending with a 14% drop in revenue due entirely to the pandemic, and in the absence of federal funding to offset this loss, the state will have to reduce spending to balance the budget.” Devoe said the REDC program, like every state-funded program, is under review.

Read more in the Rockland Business Journal

Labor Department Provides Paid Leave Guidance

The Labor Department clarified that companies with fewer than 500 employees need to provide paid leave to employees in the event that a child’s summer camp is closed due to COVID-19. Per the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, eligible employees were entitled to up to 12 weeks of paid leave in the event that a child’s school was forced to close due to COVID-19, and the DOL announced that this would apply to summer camps as well.

Read the announcement here

The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Shows Americans Returning to Work in May

Openings totaled just shy of 5.4 million for the month, up from 5 million in April. Hirings surged to 6.5 million from the 4.05 million in April, and separations plunged nearly 60% to 4.14 million. The layoffs rate tumbled from 5.9% in April down to 1.4%.
These numbers help quantify the extent to which the jobs market repaired itself after an abrupt shutdown saw 11.5 million layoffs and discharges in March and nearly 10 million more in April due to social distancing and stay-at-home requirements brought on by the pandemic. Even with the jump in hiring, however, May ended with 21 million unemployed workers, or nearly four for every job opening.

Read more at CNBC

NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray Notes the Jobs Numbers for Manufacturing

There were 328,000 manufacturing job openings in May, up from 315,000 in April and improving for the second straight month after dropping to 310,000 postings in March, which was the slowest pace since October 2016. For comparison purposes, there were 482,000 postings one year ago.  Manufacturers hired 426,000 workers in May, the most since April 2001 and increasing from 299,000 and 326,000 employees being hired in March and April, respectively.

NAM Reports that the Federal Reserve has Updates on Main Street Lending Program and PMCCF

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has announced that the Main Street Lending Program is now ready to purchase participations in loans that lenders submit to the program. Banks will make a lending decision based on the program’s terms and their own underwriting standards; after a loan is approved, the Fed will purchase a 95% participation from the lender. The Fed will soon publish a state-by-state listing of lenders accepting new business customers under the Main Street program.

Another Fed program, the Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility, is also now operational. The PMCCF will provide larger corporations with access to credit by purchasing corporate bonds. Your business could be eligible if you have an investment-grade credit rating and did not receive specific support via the CARES Act’s financing provisions for air carriers and national security businesses. You can learn more about the PMCCF here. 

Learn about the Main Street Lending Program

Learn about the PMCCF 

OSHA Launches COVID-19 FAQ Webpage

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a new FAQ webpage for pressing COVID-19 issues. The New page features guidance on employer requirements, return to work, testing, face coverings, cleaning and disinfection.

You can view the FAQ page here


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Daily Update – 102

Three More States Added to New York’s Travel Advisory

Governor Cuomo today announced that three additional states meet the metrics to qualify for the travel advisory requiring individuals who have traveled to New York from those states, all of which have significant community spread, to quarantine for 14 days. The newly-added states are Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma. The quarantine applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

Here is the travel advisory page which includes the restricted states

NY Forward Website Improved

The NY Forward website has been much improved to ease navigation.  It shows reopening stages by region; allows easy access the the COVID- Metrics; industry guidelines, essential businesses and testing information.

Visit the site

New York’s Economy Ended the First Quarter Off 8.2 %, the Latest Federal Data Show.

The Empire State’s real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased 8.2 percent in the first three months of 2020 compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, ranking 49th out of 50 states as the new coronavirus began to spread, according to Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) estimates of seasonally adjusted annual data. Only Nevada was ranked lower; that state’s gambling-intensive economy also crashed by 8.2 percent as casino customers vanished, but its decline was marginally worse than New York’s.

Read the story at the Empire Center

See the BEA Report

White House Wants Stimulus by August Recess With $1 Trillion Cap

The White House and lawmakers are set to intensify talks on a new package of virus-related stimulus this month, after they return to Washington from their Independence Day holiday break. Trump administration officials have eyed a $1 trillion spending cap since at least early June, Bloomberg News reported last month.  The administration wants to be sure it’s “striking the right balance between income replacement on the one hand, and ensuring that we don’t have excessively high implicit tax rates on the return to work, on the other hand,” Tyler Goodspeed, acting chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, said in a interview with Bloomberg Radio.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

EPA OKs First Two Surface Disinfectants Tested on Coronavirus

The Environmental Protection Agency said it has approved the first two surface disinfectants, both made by Lysol, specifically to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Since the start of the pandemic, the government has advised cleaning surfaces with disinfectants to prevent the spread of the virus, but it had yet to announce any test results on specific products. Lab tests confirm Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist are effective against the virus, the EPA said Monday.

Read more at Bloomberg Law

5 Ways to Help Employees Overcome Fear

A CEO with a former life as a Royal Marines Commando writes: “To understand human behavior around fear, it is important to recognize that it is not just the risks that create fear but also the unknown: When will this be over? How will I ensure my employees are safe? How can I maintain customer engagement and keep my business afloat?

Employees are in danger of slowing down as fear sets in and leads to inaction. As business leaders, this is a complicated dance of lending support in the face of fear, maintaining momentum, and inspiring employees to create and envision a future. Ultimately though, the C-suite sets the pace, and there is no way to win any race without keeping a steady one.”

Read more at Chief Executive

Schools Face Tough Road to Fall Opening

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), an organization known for its caution, published guidelines last week urging policymakers to get children back in schools. “The AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school,” the association said in a statement laying out safe back-to-school procedures. “The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020.”

But experts say the conditions for reopening will depend on how rapidly the coronavirus is spreading through local areas.

Read more at The Hill

Using Safety Technology to Measure Physical Distance: Siemens Adapt its Tools to COVID

The pandemic made it quite clear that there will soon be a new normal for manufacturers. As such, manufacturers are facing an array of challenges as they begin the process of restarting regular operations. While figuring out and ultimately navigating this new operational reality, manufacturers must consider additional dimensions of employee safety, including the establishment of production environments and workflows that address physical distancing requirements.

Combining proven hardware and software, Siemens has created a new solution that enables companies to quickly and efficiently model how employees interact with each other, the production line, and plant design. The new solution also enables organizations to build an end-to-end digital twin, in order to simulate worker safety, iterate on and optimize workspace layouts and validate safety and efficiency measures to help future-proof production lines.

Read more at EHS Today

Jackson Lewis Webinar Series: Guidance for Manufacturing Industry Litigation Avoidance

Part I – Wednesday, July 22, 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM EST

  • Disability and Leave of Absence Management, including accommodation issues and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
  • Environment, Health and Safety, including claims involving failure to furnish a safe workplace and negligence

Part II – Thursday, July 23, 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM EST:

  • Employment and Tort Claims, including issues resulting from reductions in force and COVID-19-related claims of discrimination, retaliation and harassment
  • Immigration Compliance, including verifying employment eligibility in a newly-virtual environment and preparing for an expected post-COVID upswing in I-9 audits and worksite investigations

Part III – Tuesday, July 28, 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM EST:

  • Labor, including violations of the NLRA’s “abnormally dangerous” rule and union grievances resulting from reductions in force
  • Wage and Hour, including employee misclassification issues resulting from a newly-remote workforce and COVID-19-related “failure to pay” claims 

For more information, contact Thomas McDonough

Click here to register for one or all of the webinars


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Daily Update – 101

Mid-Hudson Enters Phase Four Today (July 7th)

The Mid-Hudson region open to phase four today. Governor Cuomo has said that phase four is fluid in both what industries are included and what timelines those industries will follow. At this time, phase four industries include higher education, low risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment, media production, and professional sports without fans.

Phase four industry guidelines for these industries can be found here.

Governor’s Update on Schools Reopening…. No Decision Yet

At a press conference this morning the Governor sand that, at this time, there has been no determination made regarding whether schools will reopen this fall.  The Governor stressed that the State will not send children back to school until it is safe. He stated that this is a fluid situation, and there is still time to collect data before making a decision. The State has directed all school districts to submit a reopening plan to prepare, but emphasized it does not mean they can reopen just because they have a plan. 

The Department of Health, in conjunction with the Reimagine Education Council, will issue guidance on the reopening of schools later this month.

The Governor also announced that the State Fair in Syracuse has been cancelled.

Read the press release here

Reminder, NYS COVID-19 Dashboard a Useful Tool to Track Local Spread

The state tool can be a bit challenging to navigate, however, it offers up to date statewide, regional and countywide information on cases, hospitalizations, deaths, testing and more. 

See the Dashboard here

Monday Economic Report – Economy Bounces Back Strongly – But a Full Recovery Will Take Time

With the beginning of the second half of 2020, the data last week continued to show a bounce back in economic activity in May and June after sharp declines in the spring months due to COVID-19 and the global recession. These data represent an encouraging sign, and yet, we must also note a couple of caveats.

  • The depth of the downturn was severe—either the worst since the Great Recession or on record, depending on the indicator. These conditions will make it more difficult to get back to pre-recession levels.
  • We have experienced spikes in COVID-19 cases recently, which could impact the pace of reopenings for many businesses and consumers’ willingness to resume “normal” activities and spending. These factors also could dampen growth in forthcoming data.

Monday Economic Report 2020-0706

DOL: Manufacturing Added 365,000 Jobs in June

According to the latest employment situation report released by the Department of Labor, total nonfarm employment in the United States rose by 4.8 million in June and the unemployment rate fell 2.2 points to 11.1%. Manufacturing added 356,000 new jobs, mostly in durable goods. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the reopening of the economy after quarantine orders were allowed to expire in April and May contributed to the influx.

Jobs in durable manufacturing making motor vehicles and parts saw gains of 196,000, constituting almost two-thirds of manufacturing jobs gained in June. Miscellaneous durable good manufacturing and machinery accounted for 26,000 and 18,000 new jobs, respectively. The best-performing division of nondurable manufacturing, plastics and rubber products, saw 22,000 new jobs.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Service Sector in U.S. Shows Signs of Recovery

An index of service activity compiled by data firm IHS Markit registered 47.9 in June, up from 37.5 in May. The reading suggests that while economic activity in the U.S. services sector continues to contract, it is doing so at a slower pace. A separate index compiled by the Institute for Supply Management posted 57.1 in June, the first month-over-month expansion following two straight months of contraction.

Businesses in both surveys reported last month that demand had started to stabilize and that exports were starting to pick up. The pace of job cuts slowed with some companies starting to hire again. Prices rose, another sign of renewed demand. Survey respondents also said they were increasingly optimistic about the outlook, even though overall business confidence remains subdued.

Read more at the WSJ

Global Business Barometer: Survive / Adapt / Recover

Based on an online survey of 2,758 executives from 118 countries, fielded May 2020, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ask questions ranging from their outlook on the global economy and investment plans to operational and risk management strategies.  The Survey reveals that a majority of global executives still believe the firms they manage—and the economies in which they operate—are in the survival phase. Even a marked improvement in sentiment about the three-month outlook for the global economy only brought the barometer reading on that indicator to -27.7, a long way from optimism (the barometer ranges from -50 to + 50).

The executive summary is here

Study: The Impact of the Pandemic on HR Policy

A survey by Human Resources Director found 72% of employers have increased work from home opportunities, with 66% offering remote working options as long as the pandemic lasts. Other policies that have changed include implementing social distancing in the workplace — 38% — and restricting travel, 26%.

Read the full story at HRD America

Trump Signs Extension for Paycheck Protection Program

On July 4, President Trump signed a bill extending the period for an eligible business to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. The new legislation extends the deadline for obtaining approval of a PPP loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) from June 30, 2020, to August 8, 2020.

According to the SBA’s loan report released on July 6, 2020, over $134 billion remained available through June 27, 2020, of the $659 billion earmarked for the program. Borrowers of PPP loans have 24 weeks to expend funds on qualifying costs and may be eligible for forgiveness up to 100% of the loan amount.

Read the SBA press release here


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Daily Update – 100

NYC Phase Three Today (July 6th) 

The New York City region is expected to begin phase three next week; however, the Governor announced this week that indoor dining in New York City will be delayed until factors change and it is deemed safe. In all other regions of the state, limited indoor dining is still allowed.

The only NYC specific phase three guidelines that have been released to date are for personal care.  

They are here

Mid-Hudson Phase Four Tomorrow (July 7th)

The Mid-Hudson region will open to phase four tomorrow. Unlike previous phases, the Governor has said that phase four is fluid in what industries are included and what timelines those industries will follow. At this time, phase four industries include higher education, low risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment, media production, and professional sports without fans.

Phase four industry guidelines for these industries can be found here.

Remain Diligent! – Ulster County Spike in Coronavirus Cases linked to Four Clusters Including A Manufacturer

Three “significant” potential coronavirus clusters, and a fourth of less concern, were discovered in Ulster County on Friday, July 3, when test results indicated 25 new cases of COVID-19 and an infection rate of 3.09 percent, County Executive Pat Ryan said.

Ryan said the resurgence appears to have originated at graduation parties and among migrant workers at an apple orchard in southeastern Ulster, at a manufacturing facility in the “Kingston area” and among inmates at two state prison facilities in southern Ulster.  Before identifying the town, businesses and farms involved, Ryan said “we want to make sure we have all of the details.

Read more at the Daily Freeman

SUNY New Paltz Announced It’s Reopening Plan – Other Colleges Expected to Follow This Week

In related news SUNY New Paltz announced it’s reopening plan.  It will include limited in person classes and no mid-semester break. The college will prioritize face-to-face instruction with reduced density for select laboratory studio, clinical and equipment-essential course, as well as some general education and gateway courses to majors with appropriate social distancing.

A majority of the fall semester courses will be taught remotely. Finals will be online after Thanksgiving and dorm and classroom capacity will by reduced.

A summary of  the New Paltz Forward Plan can be found here.

BSK Videos on PPP and Travel Restrictions Available for Viewing

Council Associate Member and friend Bond Scheneck and King has posted two short videos to provide additional information and answer frequently asked questions:

  • Business attorney Kate Chmielowiec discusses the known ramifications of applying for Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness before the full, 24-week covered period ends: Click here to view.
  • Labor attorneys Jessica Moller and Theresa Rusnak tackle some questions about New York’s new travel advisory: Click here to view.

The full presentation covered these topics:

  • PPP Update
  • Travel Advisory Executive Order
  • Update From Albany

Click here to view the webinar in its entirety or to register for upcoming Tuesday presentations.

CBO Sees Double-Digit Jobless Rate Through 2020, GDP to Shrink 5.9%

The CBO estimates the jobless rate will end the year at 10.5%, lower than its earlier forecast of 11.5%. Nevertheless, it is likely to remain above the pre-coronavirus pandemic level of about 3.5% through the end of the decade. The Labor Department on Thursday reported the rate fell to 11.1% in June from 13.3% in May.

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic output, is expected to grow rapidly in the second half of 2020 as social-distancing measures are lifted and trillions of dollars in stimulus spending takes effect. But that won’t be enough to overcome the impact of widespread business closures earlier in the year. Output in the fourth quarter of 2020 will be 5.9% lower than a year earlier, the agency said, worse than the 5.6% drop it projected in May. Though the economy is likely to grow 4.8% next year, it won’t return to its pre-pandemic size until mid-2022, it said.

Read more at the WSJ

Sanitizing and Disinfecting Your Business During the Pandemic

Opening and operating a business during this pandemic presents problems few have been trained to address. The goal of our businesses is to earn a profit while keeping our employees and customers safe. Local, state and federal public health authorities have issued guidance that covers almost every conceivable situation. All include sanitizing and disinfecting the workplace and providing for frequent hand washing (sometimes called “hand hygiene”).

Few of the guidance documents tell you how to select or use disinfecting chemicals and methods. Few discuss the regulatory framework you must abide by. This article attempts to fill-in that gap.

Read More at EHS Today

Visit our Resources Guide for Member Firms that Provide Cleaning to CDC Guidelines

China’s Economy Regains Strength After Strict Coronavirus Measures

A private gauge of China’s service-sector activity, released Friday, surged in June to its highest level in more than a decade, as the easing of virus-control measures in most parts of the country drove consumer demand. The Caixin China services purchasing managers index jumped to 58.4 in June from 55.0 in May, Caixin Media Co. and research firm IHS Markit said Friday.

June’s reading came in far above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction, signaling rapid month-over-month recovery. While China’s economy is quickly picking up steam, the actual level of activity remains far below pre-virus levels.

Read more at the WSJ

The Economist: Covid-19 is Here to Stay. People Will Have to Adapt

The world is not experiencing a second wave: it never got over the first. 

The worst is to come. Based on research in 84 countries, a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reckons that, for each recorded case, 12 go unrecorded and that for every two covid-19 deaths counted, a third is misattributed to other causes. Without a medical breakthrough, it says, the total number of cases will climb to 200m-600m by spring 2021. At that point, between 1.4m and 3.7m people will have died. Even then, well over 90% of the world’s population will still be vulnerable to infection—more if immunity turns out to be transient.

Read more at the Economist


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Daily Update 99

Cuomo Delays Indoor Dining in New York City, Announces State Will Form Enforcement Department

Governor Cuomo announced yesterday the State is expanding testing eligibility to all New Yorkers and encouraged everyone to go get tested.  Testing is key to keeping the infection rate low. The State’s testing capacity currently outpaces citizen demand. Today, New York will hit 4 million total tests completed since March.

The Governor also announced that the State will create an enforcement department to supplement local enforcement departments, but it is still the primary responsibility of local governments and departments to enforce. 

New York City is on track to enter phase three on Monday, July 6th. New York City specific phase three guidelines have not been released at this time.  Because there has been a lack of compliance with social distancing indoor dining will be delayed for New York City entering phase three until the facts change and it is safe and prudent to do so. The Governor called upon citizens, establishments, and the local authorities to step up and help. The Governor is also concerned with travelers entering New York City from other states with high infection rates.

The Governor also chimed in on air conditioning filtration, police funding, federal funding and the federal response to the virus. 

Read the press release

U.S. Manufacturing Activity Hits 14-Month High

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said on Wednesday its index of national factory activity jumped to a reading of 52.6 last month from 43.1 in May. That was the strongest since April 2019 and ended three straight months of contraction.  A reading above 50 indicates growth in manufacturing, which accounts for 11% of the U.S. economy. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index rising to 49.5 in June.

Read more at Reuters

Global Manufacturing Shows Fresh Signs of Recovery

Factory activity around the world showed further signs of recovery in June as governments eased restrictions designed to contain the coronavirus, but weak demand still weighed on production and employment, according to surveys of purchasing managers.  According to IHS Markit manufacturing sectors returned to growth in a number of countries, including France, the U.K., Germany, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia and Ireland.

“We certainly have a recovery,” said Patrick Artus, chief economist at French bank Natixis. “In June, the recovery seems to be faster than we expected.”

Read more at the WSJ

USMCA Entered Into Force Yesterday

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) came into effect on Wednesday in a political and diplomatic environment radically different from the one that brought the three countries together under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994.  The deal puts in new rules around digital trade, makes changes in point of origin rules that determine what products can be traded across borders without tariffs, and rewrites labor enforcement mechanisms. It is expected to boost the U.S. auto and agricultural industries, among others.

Read more at The Hill

Covid-19 Vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech Shows Positive Results

An experimental Covid-19 vaccine being developed by the drug giant Pfizer and the biotech firm BioNTech spurred immune responses in healthy patients, but also caused fever and other side effects, especially at higher doses.  The vaccine generated antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, and some of these antibodies were neutralizing, meaning that they appear to prevent the virus from functioning. Levels of neutralizing antibodies were 1.8 to 2.8 times the level of that in the recovered patients.

Read more at Statnews

Survey: Recruiters Expect Hiring Boon in July

A survey by Recruiter shows 51.4% of recruiters expect to be busier and to be hiring more during the next 30 days, while 68% of respondents expect to be recruiting more during the next 90 days. The average recruiter worked on 20 open positions in June, compared with 15 in May and 12 in April.

Read the full story at Recruiter

Black Lives Matter Protests Did Not Cause an Uptick in Covid-19 Cases As Stay-At-Home Tendencies Actually Increased

The available evidence suggests that this month’s Black Lives Matter protests have not contributed to a surge in covid-19 cases. In a new working paper, researchers from Bentley University, the University of Colorado and San Diego State University used mobile-phone data from SafeGraph, a geolocation data firm, and covid-19 case data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine whether the protests were associated with less social-distancing behavior and more covid-19 cases. In fact, the opposite was true.  Protests were actually associated with an increase in social-distancing behavior; for example, residents overall spent an additional 0.18 hours, or 11 minutes, per day at home (see chart). In other words, any time that residents spent protesting in the streets was more than offset by time other people spent baking bread and watching Netflix.

Read more and view the graphics at The Economist


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Daily Update – 97

Cuomo on Phase Four, NYC Phase 3, Indoor Dining and Malls

The Western New York region will enter phase four today, June 30th. Phase four industries include higher education, low risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment, media production, and professional sports without fans.

Phase four industry guidelines that have been released at this time can be found here.

New York City is on track to enter phase three on Monday, July 6th. Phase three guidelines for New York City have not yet been released.  Complicating this opening, the Governor said, is a lack of compliance with social distancing in New York City travelers entering New York City from other states with high infection rates. Due to these complications, indoor dining may be delayed for New York City as it enters phase three.  The State is reviewing data and consulting with stakeholders to determine the safety of indoor dining. The Governor said that outdoor dining is working well and can continue. The State will issue a final decision on indoor dining in New York City by Wednesday, July 1st.

The State will mandate that malls install air-conditioning filters with a MERV rating capable of filtering COVID-19 in order to reopen. The Governor recommended all offices and businesses also upgrade their filtration systems.

Read the press release

Monday Economic Report: As COVID-19 Worries Linger, Economy Tries to Charge Forward

As the nation continues to grapple with lingering COVID-19 worries, the data last week reflected bounce backs in activity, suggesting that the economy is trying to charge forward. These “green shoots” provide some encouragement that the U.S. economy will rebound in the second half of this year, even as it is also clear that activity remains well below pre-recessionary levels.

Monday Economic Report 2020-0629

U.S. Lawmakers Unveil Bid to Boost Domestic Chipmaking Industry

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Thursday introduced a measure aimed at strengthening chip manufacturing in the United States, adding to efforts to champion the sector and lure high tech supply chains back into the United States. The measure, backed by top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer and key Republican Tom Cotton, would offer $15 billion in federal grants to states to build, expand or modernize domestic semiconductor manufacturing and R&D facilities.

“The U.S. semiconductor industry drives economic growth through technological breakthroughs and plays a critical role in the nation’s security,” said John E. Kelly III, Executive Vice President, IBM. “IBM strongly supports the American Foundries Act of 2020 because this important legislation would sustain American leadership in semiconductor technology and establish a national strategy to move it forward. We thank Senators Schumer and Cotton for their leadership on this bill and urge the Senate to pass it quickly.”

Read more 

More Details on EEOC Guidance That COVID-19 Antibody Testing Cannot Be Required to Return to Work

Council friend and Associate Member Jackson Lewis, LLP report that the EEOC’s guidance came in response to the CDC’s earlier statement regarding antibody testing.  In adding Question A.7, the EEOC stated:“An antibody test constitutes a medical examination under the ADA. In light of CDC’s Interim Guidelines that antibody test results ‘should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace,’ an antibody test at this time does not meet the ADA’s ‘job related and consistent with business necessity’ standard for medical examinations or inquiries for current employees. Therefore, requiring antibody testing before allowing employees to re-enter the workplace is not allowed under the ADA. ” 

Read more at Jackson Lewis

The full set of EEOC Technical Assistance Questions and Answers can be found here.

US DOL Announces Coronavirus Leave Tool For Employees

The U.S. Department of Labor has launched a new online tool to help workers determine if they qualify for paid sick leave due to the coronavirus. The tool guides workers through a series of questions to help them determine if the paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) apply to their employer. If the provisions do apply, the tool helps them learn whether they qualify for either paid sick leave or extended family and medical leave under that law.

Information and a link to the tool are here 

New Yorkers Who Visit a State With a High COVID-19 Infection Rate Are Ineligible for Paid Sick Leave

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order Saturday that strips the paid sick leave protections for New York employees who voluntarily travel to high-risk states after June 25.

“If we are going to maintain the progress we’ve seen, we need everyone to take personal responsibility,” Cuomo said in a statement. “That’s why I’m issuing an executive order that says any New York employee who voluntarily travels to a high-risk state will not be eligible for the COVID protections we created under paid sick leave.”

Read more at the Democrat and Chronicle

Lockheed Paid Suppliers $1.1 billion, Added 8,300 Jobs Since Pandemic

Lockheed Martin has hired 8,300 workers and spent $1.1 billion supporting its supplier network during the coronavirus pandemic, with thousands of more hires planned for this year. “In this volatile environment, it is more important than ever before to maintain the operations of the defense industrial base and support our men and women in uniform,” said President and CEO Jim Taiclet.

Read more at Defensenews

FAA Begins Test Flights for Boeing 737 Max 

The Federal Aviation Administration will reportedly start test flights for the re-certification of the Boeing 737 MAX airliner this week. The troubled aircraft was grounded by regulators around the world last year after two crashed, killing 346 people. Given the collapse in demand for air travel, some analysts wonder whether airlines will still want them when they are re-certified.
Read more at Market Watch

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Daily Update – 96

New York State Updates

  • The State has updated phase three guidelines for the food services and personal care industries, and all guidelines for phase two industries.  Sectors and Industries include: offices, vehicle sales, retail rental and cleaning, commercial building management. Click here to see the new guidance
  • The Department of Health (DOH) is investigating the potential COVID-19 exposure at a high school graduation in Westchester from a student who returned from Florida and subsequently began showing symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19. Those who attended the graduation ceremony have been directed to quarantine. The Governor stressed that the State is prepared to do aggressive testing and contact tracing to slow and control any potential new clusters.
  • Previous Executive Orders are amended to allow gatherings of 50 or fewer individuals in regions of the State in phase four. If the gathering occurs indoors it may not exceed 50% of the maximum occupancy for the area. All social distancing, face covering, and cleaning and disinfection protocols required by the Department of Health must be adhered to
  • The Mid-Hudson Region is on pace to enter phase four on Tuesday July 7th.

Be Diligent in Your Safety Protocols – 82 of 179 Workers at Oswego Apple Processing Plant Have the Coronavirus

Testing has uncovered that 46% — 82 out of 179 — of the workers at an Oswego County apple processing facility are positive for the coronavirus, the state announced Friday. Oswego County health officials had reported 37 workers at Champlain Valley Specialties tested positive, but they didn’t include workers who live outside the county.

Testing and contact tracing by state and local health departments uncovered a spread of the virus from the apple processing facility to two other locations:  An aluminum production plant in Montgomery County, and a Central New York onion farm where four employees out of 18 tested positive for the virus, state officials said. They did not release the name of the farm.


SBA Further Clarifies PPP Forgiveness Rules and Procedures

Council of Industry Friends and Associate Members Bond Schoeneck and King Report that the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) issued new guidance on June 22, 2020, providing further clarity to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness process.  Borrowers may submit forgiveness application before the end of the covered period. The SBA confirmed that a borrower may apply for forgiveness before the end of the 8-week or 24-week period covered period if the borrower has used all of the loan proceeds for which the borrower is requesting forgiveness. However, if the borrower applies for forgiveness before the end of the covered period and has reduced any employee’s salaries or wages in excess of 25%, the borrower must account for the excess salary reduction for the full 8-week or 24-week covered period.

Visit BSK for key takeaways from this new guidance

Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins Talks New York Manufacturing

The Senate Majority Leader from Westchester County was the guest of the Manufacturers Alliance June 25th.  She spoke via Zoom with manufactures from across the state in a conversation moderated by MACNY CEO Randy Wolken and Council of Industry CEO Harold King.  The Majority leader expressed her commitment to the State’s manufacturing sector calling it “the backbone of our economy.” 

You can watch the webinar here

IRS Expands and Clarifies CARES Act Distribution Rules

Council Associate Member and Friend Jackson Lewis writes that with roughly 3 months under our belts since the issuance of the CARES Act and countless CARES Act distributions and loan suspensions processed, the IRS clarified several eligibility, administrative, and taxation reporting rules by issuing IRS Notice 2020-50.  The Notice provides safe harbors, a model certification, and information reporting codes.  It is a must-read for those responsible for administering employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Read the informative article at Jackson Lewis

Vehicle Production Rebounds Despite Market Uncertainty

US automakers have restored most production for pickup trucks and SUVs, even as widespread unemployment and hard times for rental-car companies could hamper sales the rest of 2020. “The government put a lot of money into the market, and now people are spending money on cars,” says Pete DeLongchamps of the Group 1 Automotive dealership group.

Read the full story at The New York Times (tiered subscription model)

Survey Finds Pros, Cons to Exiting Chinese Supply Chains

The coronavirus pandemic, rising tariffs and Brexit have led 33% of businesses with global supply chains to move or make plans to move sourcing and manufacturing away from China, according to a Gartner survey. Companies say that shifting sourcing to countries such as Vietnam, India and Mexico helps save on tariff costs and enhances agility and resilience, but 58% of respondents say it’s also led to more structural costs.

Read the full story at DC Velocity

Deeper Dive –  The Economist: The US Has Too Few Cases for a Total Lockdown and Too Many to Open Up Safely

America’s death toll and caseload are high, and not only in absolute terms. Per head, it has had twice as many cases as Europe and about 50% more deaths. The number of new cases rose 42% in the two weeks to June 21st, and this national average disguises a more disturbing trend. America’s totals have been dominated by the terrible outbreak in New York City. Greater New York has accounted for about a third of all deaths. If you strip out the area, you find new-case numbers in the rest of the country barely budged in May, rose in June and are now as high as they were at the height of the pandemic (see chart)

Read more at the Economist

Fracking Trailblazer Chesapeake Energy Files for Bankruptcy

Chesapeake Energy filed for bankruptcy protection as an oil- and gas-price rout stoked by the coronavirus pandemic proved to be the final blow for a shale-drilling pioneer long hamstrung by debt. Chesapeake’s breakneck growth left it highly leveraged, and it was far slower than many of its peers to pivot to tapping shale formations for oil, which turned out to be much more lucrative than gas. U.S. natural gas prices are at their lowest levels in years.

Read more at the WSJ


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Daily Update – 95

New York Travel Restrictions: Frequently Asked Questions

“Importantly, the Guidance differentiates how the travel restriction applies to essential workers.”

On June 24, 2020, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced a joint travel advisory. Individuals coming into New York, New Jersey and Connecticut from certain high COVID-19 infection rate states must quarantine for 14 days. Late on June 24, Gov. Cuomo issued Executive Order 205 (the Order) and the Department of Health issued Interim Guidance for Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers Arriving in New York State Following Out of State Travel (the Guidance).

Bond Schoeneck and King examine some frequently asked questions about the Order and the Guidance

Five Regions Enter Phase Four Today

Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed that five regions – Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country and the Southern Tier – will enter Phase IV of reopening on today (June 26). New York State issued guidance for Phase IV, which will allow low-risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment, film and TV production, higher education and professional sports without fans. 

The governor also announced that in Phase IV of reopening, social gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed and indoor religious gatherings will be allowed at up to 33 percent of the indoor site’s capacity.

The Mid-Hudson Region is in phase three and scheduled to enter phase four July 7th.

See the phase four guidelines here


Commerce Department: Durable Goods Rebound in May

The Commerce Department said that orders for manufactured goods meant to last at least three years shot up 15.8% in May after plunging 18.1% in April. Economists expected a rebound, but the May increase was stronger than expected.  A category that tracks business investment — orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft — rose 2.3% after plunging 6.5% in April.

The lockdowns, travel restrictions and social distancing measures meant to contain COVID-19 brought economic activity to a near standstill across the United States in March and April.

Read more at The Associated Press

Vaccine Alliance Finds Manufacturing Capacity for 4 Billion Doses of Coronavirus Vaccines

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) plans to have two or three manufacturing plants for each vaccine, James Robinson, a longtime biopharma executive leading CEPI’S vast manufacturing push, said in an interview. “Right now, we know we can do the two billion doses that we have as our kind of our minimum target” by the end of 2021, he said.  The group is planning for eight to 10 regional distribution sites “so that we don’t have to make everything centrally and try and ship it around the world.”  Even with no existing approved vaccines, CEPI is already getting manufacturing and supply chains lined up in a quest to ensure coronavirus vaccines are distributed equitably around the globe.

The Oslo, Norway-based group is backed by 14 governments, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Britain’s Wellcome Trust.

Read more at Reuters

Unemployment Claims Level Off at Historically High Totals in June

The number of workers seeking jobless benefits has held steady at about 1.5 million each week so far in June, signaling a slow recovery for the job market as states face new infections that could impede getting people back to work.  Applications for unemployment benefits were slightly below 1.5 million last week, at 1.48 million the Labor Department reported Thursday. While weekly totals have gradually eased from a late March peak of nearly 7 million, they also remain well above the prepandemic record of 695,000 in 1982.

Meanwhile, the number of people receiving benefits, an indicator for overall layoffs, was 19.5 million in the week ended June 13, down slightly from previous weeks.

Economists say the sluggish improvements in claims tallies lower prospects for a quick recovery. Further, a recent increase in coronavirus cases could affect efforts to reopen the economy and get people back to work.

Read more at the WSJ

Treasury Department Considers Delaying Tax Day Again

The new date would be Sept. 15, according to CNBC.

Treasury has already pushed the April 15 deadline for federal income tax returns to July 15, giving individuals and professionals some relief as they grappled with coronavirus and stay-at-home orders in the spring. On that day, federal income returns for 2019, as well as taxes owed, are due. The IRS also pushed a series of other deadlines—including taxes for the first and second quarter—to July 15.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Bloomberg. “I would encourage all Americans, if you can file, go ahead and do it, particularly if you think you have a refund.”

Read more at CNBC

A Little Deeper Look at the IMF Forecast Numbers

  • The U.S. economy, the world’s largest, is expected to shrink this year by 8 percent.
  • Countries that use the single European currency are headed for a decline of more than 10 percent.
  • Japanese output will fall by 5.8 percent, 
  • The Chinese economy, suffering the twin ravages of the pandemic and the trade war with the United States, is projected to eke out just a 1 percent gain—its worst performance in several decades.

Current conditions are considerably more dire than the ‘unprecedented decline in global activity’ that the fund projected two months ago. Since mid-April, economic data suggest ‘even deeper downturns than previously projected,’ the fund said. Fund officials blamed the darker forecast on the effects of social distancing; scarring to global production capacity from the lockdown of activity; and the productivity cost of new safety and hygiene rules. Some economies also are still struggling to control the coronavirus, the fund added without naming specific governments.

Read more at the IMF site

Travel Restrictions Went Into Effect Yesterday

There are lots of questions and only a few answers.  One question with an answer is “Where can we track the restricted states?”  That answer is “New York will track all other state’s infection rates and make the restriction list available on the Department of Health’s website.”  The link to that page is below. 

Track the restrictred States here


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Daily Update – 94

Governors of CT, NJ and NY Impose Quarantine for Individuals Traveling From High COVID States

The three Governors will issued a joint travel advisory to impose a mandatory 14-day quarantine for individuals traveling from states with high COVID-19 infection rates. The advisory took effect Thursday, 6/25 at midnight. 

If a state’s infection rate is above 10 per 100,000 or 10% of the total population on a seven-day rolling average, people traveling from that state will be required to quarantine for 14 days. As of today those states are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. New York will track all other state’s infection rates and update the restriction list daily.

In response to a question from a reporter, Governor Cuomo said that each state will enforce the quarantine their own way In New York, individuals found to be violating the mandatory quarantine could be subject to a judicial order and fines. Travelers entering hotels, business meetings, or interacting with police could face questions about their travel. For those found violating the mandate, the first violation could result in a $2,000 fine, the second violation could result in a $5,000 fine.

A violator could face up to a $10,000 fine if they cause harm to others.  The Governor confirmed that New Yorkers who travel to states with high infection rates and then return to New York must quarantine.

Read the press release

Phase Four Process and Guidelines

The Governor’s office has started to release guidelines and business safety templates for industries that will be allowed to begin reopening in phase four. The guidelines that have been released at this time are Higher Education, Media Production and Low Risk Indoor Arts and Entertainment. The Governor and his team have stated that phase four will not necessarily follow the same process as other transitions between phases, so additional industries may be added in the future. We will notify you as further guidelines and information is released. Phase four of reopening will begin when the Governor, in consultation with public health experts, determine regions have met all health safety metrics.

All phase four industry guidelines and business safety plans can be found here.

Hudson Valley Region Unemployment Rate In May Was 11.2 Percent 

The May 2020 unemployment rate for the Hudson Valley Region is 11.2 percent.  That is down from 14.4 percent in April 2020 and up  from 3.4 percent in May 2019.  In May 2020, there were 125,400 unemployed in the region, down from 157,500 in April 2020 and up from 38,400 in May 2019.  Year-over-year in May 2020, labor force decreased by 15,200 or 1.3 percent, to 1,124,300.

There were 37,000 people employed in manufacturing in the region. That is up 2.8 % from the 36,000 employed in April but down 15.3% from the 43,700 employed on our sector in May 2019. These numbers are volatile and likely to be revised, however, they do mirror national trends.

The document linked below includes not only Hudson Valley employment data, but local Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), State and National numbers as well. 

Labor Market Profile (Hudson Valley) Release (2) – MAY 2020

IMF Slashes World Growth Outlook for 2020 and Sees Sluggish Turnaround Next Year

The International Monetary Fund again cut its global economic forecast for 2020 on Wednesday, saying that the coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented decline in global activity. 

The IMF sees a global economic contraction of 4.9%, almost two percentage points lower than three months ago.

If realized, that would be the worst downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, far worse than the financial crisis of 2008-2010. In January, before COVID-19 had spread, the IMF had projected 3.3% global economic growth this year.

Read more at MarketWatch

A Conversation with Senate Majority Leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins

 Thursday, June 25, 2020, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm,  Zoom Discussion

New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins (D- Westchester County) will join with members of the The Council of Industry and the New York State Manufacturing Alliance to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and the State Legislature’s package of COVID-19 related bills, the future state and recovery of manufacturing in New York, and then answer questions from members on various state-related topics. The Senator would like to hear the challenges manufactures are facing as well as the opportunities we see. She also wants to know what the State can do to help the manufacturing sector grow in New York State. 

To register click here

IRS Provides Updated FAQs on Employee Retention Tax Credit

The IRS has issued updated FAQs for the employee retention tax credit, the temporary refundable payroll tax credit for eligible employers affected by COVID-19. The updated FAQs relate to the tax credit’s governmental order test.

The answers can be found here

And here

IHS Markit Manufacturing Index Rises in France and Germany

The release of better-than-expected purchasing-managers’ indices from France and Germany raised hopes that Europe’s economy is on the mend after the pandemic (see main stories). IHS Markit manufacturing PMIs rose in France to 52.1 in June from 40.6 the month before and in Germany from 36.6 to 44.6. Any figure above 50 indicates expansion.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

Boeing Ramps up Hiring as Defense Division Secures More Business

Despite cutting its workforce by 16,100 jobs amid the aviation slowdown, Boeing continues to hire and wants to talk with engineers and other skilled workers who have or can quickly get a security clearance. The jet maker is organizing a virtual online career event for June 30 and wants to talk to skilled workers about filling jobs in Kent, Tukwila and other facilities across the United States.

Boeing said in an email notice about the career fair it’s looking to hire “experienced systems, software, electrical and mechanical engineers, as well as aircraft mechanics with active SSBI (single scope background investigation) security clearances to join the company.”

Read more at the Puget Sound Business Journal


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Daily Update – 93

State Issues Rules for Youth and Adult Sports, Skills Camps, Yoga, Tennis

New York state has issued new guidance for restarting youth sports, adult pickup games and outdoor recreation activities conducted by gyms, fitness centers and training facilities.

Starting July 6 in regions that have reached phase three, sports training and drills can be done both indoors and outdoors. Gyms remain closed to other activities. Group fitness classes, including yoga, can be done outdoors.

Read the guidance

$65 Million in Federal CARES Act Funding is Available for Child Care Providers Statewide 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $65 million in funding funding is available and it includes:

  • $20 million to assist childcare program with reopening and expansion of capacity by providing materials to support a more socially distant model, and for supplies and activities associated with reopening and expansion. This may include partitions, short term rental of space, etc.
  • $45 million in childcare Reopening and Expansion Incentive funds to pay for 50% of the cost of a newly opened classroom (maximum grant amount of $6,000) as an incentivize to open the classroom. The temporary funds will phase out over the second and third months as more parents bring their children back into childcare.

Throughout the pandemic, 65 percent of OCFS-licensed and -registered child care programs remained open, many serving families of essential workers. The funding being made available today will help to bring closed programs back to operation to serve families returning to the workplace.

Read the press release

Global Economy Shows Signs of Pulling Out of Its Slump

The global economy is gradually pulling out of its stall as businesses reopen after pandemic-induced lockdowns, with output contracting at a slower pace in the U.S., Europe and Asia this month, according to surveys of purchasing managers.

A composite index produced by data firm IHS Markit pointed to a more gradual decline in business activity in the U.S., suggesting a possible rebound in the coming months.  The firm’s U.S. purchasing managers index for manufacturing was 49.6 and its services index was 46.7 in June, in both cases the highest reading in four months. The composite index on the month was 46.8, also the highest in four months.

Read more at the WSJ

Phase Four is Not the End: It’s Just the Next Beginning

Our friends and Associate Members Bond Schoeneck and King write that “with five regions of New York State expecting to begin Phase Four this Friday, June 26, there is one question at the top of many people’s minds: what’s next? The answer to that question is clear. The core restrictions will remain in place. They are not tied to the phases of reopening. Face coverings must continue to be worn. Social distancing will continue. Sanitizing must occur frequently. Screening must continue. Phase Four does not mean the end of following industry-specific guidance documents. And, as Executive Order 202.43 indicates, the state is entering a new era of enforcement. Read on to find out more about recent executive orders and what lays beyond Phase Four.”
Read more at BSK

NAM Ad Encourages Wearing Face Coverings to “Get Our Economy Roaring Again”

We need to get America back to work now and get our economy roaring again. The virus is spreading in a significant way, and if it continues, that will lead to economic devastation the likes of which we have never seen before. If everyone wears a mask outside the home, maintains social distancing with anyone other than the family unit and practices appropriate hygiene procedures, we will get the tens of millions of unemployed Americans back to work.  

Unfortunately, many Americans either don’t realize the importance of covering their faces, or they choose to ignore it. The NAM has made it a priority to speak out about the need for everyone to wear a facial covering when they’re out in public, and they have launched a new ad across the country that powerfully illustrates why Americans should take this seriously. 

Watch the ad and share it

How Well Do You Understand the PPE Donning & Doffing Wage Laws?

State and federal guidelines mandate the use of additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to guard against the spread of the Coronavirus in places of employment as they reopen in stages across the country. This raises the question: Will employers need to pay employees for the time it takes to don their protective gear before a shift, and to doff it after the shift ends?

The short answer is: It depends.

Read more at EHS Online

Initiative Expedites Vial Manufacturing Capacity – Corning to Expand Production

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense (DOD) officials said the agencies have partnered to expedite vial manufacturing capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “The COVID-19 pandemic clearly demonstrates the need to bring manufacturing back to America, a priority President Trump has emphasized since his first day in office,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said. “With an estimated 90 percent of medical vials made overseas, foreign dependence could delay efforts to protect Americans with essential treatments and vaccines.” The partnership provided funding to two companies – Corning Incorporated, headquartered in Corning, N.Y., and SiO2 Materials Science, located in Auburn, Ala.

Read more at Homeland Preparedness News

Millions of Job Losses Are at Risk of Becoming Permanent

New research by Bloomberg Economics reckons 30% of U.S. job losses from February to May are the result of a reallocation shock. The analysis — based on the relationship between hiring, firing, openings and unemployment — suggests the labor market will initially recover swiftly, but then level off with millions still unemployed. Jobs in the hospitality industry are among the most at risk, alongside retail, leisure, education and health. In many cases, the pandemic will increase the challenge for bricks and mortar companies facing off against e-commerce platforms such as Inc, accelerating the pre-crisis trend.

Read more at Bloomberg


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Daily Update – 92

Mid-Hudson Enters Phase Three Today!

Governor Cuomo has announced that the Mid-Hudson region has been cleared to enter phase 3 of reopening Today, June 23rd, 2020.  Also note that gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed in Phase 3.

You can find guidelines for businesses reopening in phase 3 here

Trump Announces New Visa Restrictions on Immigrant Workers but Exempts Agriculture, Food Service, Health

President Trump on Monday expanded a measure restricting visas to the United States to target many more temporary foreign workers, limiting immigrants from coming to the country for employment in industries including technology, academia, hotels and construction.

The order primarily affects H-1B visas, broadly set out for high-skilled workers; H-2B visas, for seasonal employees; L-1 visas, for corporate executives; and J-1 visas, for scholars and exchange programs, restricting new authorizations through Dec. 31. The new measure takes effect Wednesday.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times

SBA Provides Guidance on Using PPP Loan Proceeds to Refi EIDLs

The Small Business Administration issued a procedural notice on Friday night providing guidance on using Paycheck Protection Program loan proceeds to refinance an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan, as well as providing instructions for PPP lenders on the procedure for remitting to SBA any PPP loan funds designated for an EIDL refinance.

Specifically, SBA said, a PPP loan may not be used to refinance an EIDL if the borrower received the EIDL before Jan. 31, 2020, or after April 3, 2020. EIDLs may be refinanced but are not required to be refinanced with PPP loans when the EIDL was received between Jan. 31 and April 3 and the PPP borrower used EIDL proceeds for purposes other than payroll.

Read more at American Banking Journal

SBA Issues Guidance and Updated Documents for Extended 24-Week Covered Period, Releases Simplified PPP Forgiveness Application, and Announces All PPP Loans Over $150,000 Will Be Publicly Disclosed

Our friends and Associate Members at Bond Schoeneck and King provide more explanation about the Small Business Association’s (SBA) guidance on June 17, 2020 pertaining to changes made to the PPP. While some questions remain, the SBA provided key guidance regarding the extended 24-week covered period, as well as issued a new Form EZ Forgiveness Application.

Furthermore, on June 19, 2020, the SBA and the Department of Treasury announced that in the interest of transparency to the public, the SBA will disclose the business names, addresses, NAICS codes, zip codes, business type, demographic data, non-profit information, jobs supported and loan amount ranges for all PPP loans over $150,000. For loans below $150,000, totals will be released, aggregated by zip code, by industry, by business type and by various demographic categories.

Read more at BSK

Pandemic Leads to Accommodation Claims Under Federal and State Laws

The New York District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently commented that it had received an increasing number of charges relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of which alleged violations of the reasonable accommodation mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  While the number of filings was not disclosed, the New York State Division of Human Rights and the City Commission also indicated a growing number of such complaints, many alleging refusal to recall workers with disabilities due to health and exposure.

Read more at Jackson Lewis

CDC and OSHA Continue to Release Manufacturing Related Guidance

The CDC and OSHA continue to provide updated safety guidance so manufacturers have the information needed to keep workers and communities safe. The NAM together with other major trade associations have requested CDC expand its current Frequently Asked Questions page to allow businesses and employers to submit specific questions to which they need detailed answers.

One of the most recent guidance and recommendations is on Testing Strategies.  The document outlines potential testing strategies in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case in the workplace, including organizing employees by risk categories, contact tracing to help identify possible spread, taking action in the event of multiple positive cases and recommendations on when exposed employees can return to work.

Read the FAQs

Looking Ahead to Phase Four – Guidelines for Reopening Higher Education

On Monday, the Governor’s Office released higher education guidelines. The guidelines are meant to help higher education institutions reopen and operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The five-page document, which includes 20 mandatory and 29 recommended best practices, is meant to be a guide for institutions who will be required to develop and submit their own plan.  According to the Governor’s Office, the guidelines are intended for all types of in-person higher education, including, but not limited to, community and junior colleges, universities, graduate and professional schools, medical schools, and technical schools.

Read the guidelines

The Fight for Liability Protections

The NAM continues to advocate, both at the state and federal level, for time-limited and reasonable liability safe harbors to protect good actors from a flood of marginal COVID-19-related lawsuits. On the federal level, we remain in close contact with Senate leadership for the inclusion of liability protections in the upcoming “Phase Five” Coronavirus relief package. State activity has ramped up significantly, with Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee recently passing or enacting comprehensive liability protections. We are collaborating with our state partners to provide whatever assistance we can to help move the debate forward in additional key states.

U.S. Department of Labor to Host Compliance Assistance Webinars

The U.S. Department of Labor will host four webinars in June and July – including one for Manufacturing and Construction – to discuss how the Department is helping workers and employers by reducing regulatory burdens and making it easier to understand and comply with the law. The webinars will also provide an opportunity for workers, employers, and state and local governments to ask questions and discuss how the Department can expand and improve access to its compliance assistance materials.

Manufacturing and Construction

Guest Speaker: Occupational Safety and Health Administration Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt

Thursday, June 25, 2020, 1:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. EDT

Register at Link Compliance Assistance Webinar 2

CI Podcast: Jason Bram, Economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

In this episode Harold King speaks with Jason Bram, Economist and Research Officer at The Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks which, together with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., make up the Federal Reserve System. The Fed, as the system is commonly called, is an independent governmental entity created by Congress in 1913 to serve as the central bank of the United States.

Harold and Jason talk about the research the New York Fed has been conducting related to the pandemic and manufacturing. Jason’s past research has focused on both the recent trends toward urbanization, and the effects of natural disasters on regional economies – both highly relevant today. Jason and Harold also talk about remote work, lessons from the 1918 flu and possible recovery scenarios.

Listen here


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Daily Update 91

Cuomo Delivers Final Daily Briefing – Future Briefings Will Be Conducted As Needed

Friday Governor Cuomo delivered a brief address from his Executive Office in the State Capitol. It was the 111th straight day the Governor gave a daily briefing. He recognized  Juneteenth, a day he declared a holiday for state workers.

This was the Governor’s final daily coronavirus briefing. Going forward briefings will be held on an as-needed basis. The Governor said he will still provide New Yorkers the information they need, but because of the progress the State has made it is no longer necessary to do a daily briefing. The Governor delivered the address without his usual PowerPoint slides. 

The Governor thanked his team, his daughters, and the many people who have reached out in support of New York during the crisis. He said he is proud of the people of the state for coming together to overcome the crisis. He said New York handled the crisis better than any State or Country on the globe.

The full address can be viewed here.

NYC Enters Phase Two Today

New York City is on track to enter phase two today (6/22). The global health experts the State uses to determine reopening eligibility reviewed New York City data and the Governor said businesses move ahead with phase two. 

New York City specific guidelines for these industries can be found here.

NYC Real-Estate Brokers and Landlords Expect Only 10% to 20% of Manhattan’s Office Workers Will Return Today

Most companies are taking a cautious approach. Some are keeping offices closed, while others are opening them at reduced occupancy and allowing employees to decide if they prefer to keep working from home. Mary Ann Tighe, chief executive for the tri-state region at real-estate services firm CBRE Group Inc., said many New York City clients don’t plan on being fully back in the office before Labor Day. And maybe only then if schools have reopened.

Companies are worried about another wave of infections, Ms. Tighe said. Some are also concerned about commuting bottlenecks, if more drivers lead to traffic jams or public transit limits the number of riders. Lower maximum occupancy in elevators could also lead to lines.

Read more in the WSJ

Webinar: “Back to Work” A Complementary Legal Seminar Provided by Greenwald Doherty LLC

Monday, June 22, 2020, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

No Cost for Members

Hear experienced labor attorney, Joel Greenwald, discuss the legal issues related to your employees returning to work including:

  • How do you avoid discrimination and wrongful death claims?
  • What legal issues and safety concerns are confronting you now as you bring employees back?
  • Can, or should, you be taking employees’ temperatures and/or requiring COVID-19 testing?
  • What staffing levels do you need to be at for potential PPP loan forgiveness?
  • How should you handle continued staff reductions?
  • What will businesses need to do to accommodate disabled employees?

To register click here

DiNapoli: State Tax Revenues Down $767 Million in May

State tax receipts in May were down $766.9 million or 19.7% from the previous year, according to the monthly state cash report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

Other items of note in the report:

  • Personal income tax withholding revenues were $291.8 million below May 2019, a decline of more than 9 percent reflecting both depressed economic activity and timing factors.
  • Local assistance spending through May totaled $17.9 billion, $1.4 billion less than the state Division of Budget (DOB) projected in the Enacted Budget Financial Plan. In addition, spending for capital projects totaled $915.8 million through May, $412.2 million lower than projected.

Read more

A Conversation with Senate Majority Leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins

 Thursday, June 25, 2020, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm,  Zoom Discussion

New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins (D- Westchester County) will join with members of the The Council of Industry and the New York State Manufacturing Alliance to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and the State Legislature’s package of COVID-19 related bills, the future state and recovery of manufacturing in New York, and then answer questions from members on various state-related topics. The Senator would like to hear the challenges manufactures are facing as well as the opportunities we see. She also wants to know what the State can do to help the manufacturing sector grow in New York State. 

To register click here

Federal Infrastructure Investment for an American Renewal

Infrastructure investment will be key to the nation’s recovery, and the NAM’s “American Renewal Action Plan” calls for historic investments in our nation’s infrastructure. To help ensure these investments are made in an effective way, the NAM conveyed manufacturers’ priorities to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee ahead of a markup on surface transportation legislation.

You can read the NAM letter here

Learn more about the NAM’s infrastructure priorities here

Reskilling Workers for a Post-COVID Factory Floor

The world has transformed more in the last three months than it has for decades – and with it, so has the skillset required. Worker skills will need to be updated for the post-pandemic factory floor, especially with greater adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies, writes Jasmeet Singh, global head of manufacturing at Infosys. This will require an “open and curious” approach that prioritizes creativity and problem-solving.

Read more at IndustryWeek

The Not-So-Silent Fallout from COVID-19—Stress

To understand the state of mental health, many are seeking resources. One especially helpful resource is a free, online, real-time screening offered by Mental Health America, a nonprofit organization.

“We are seeing a significant increase, around 20%, in the number of people who are taking our real-time assessment since mid-February,” explains Paul Gionfriddo, CEO of Mental Health America. 

Since the organization was founded six years ago, 5 million people have taken the screening. Typically, 2,000 to 3,000 people a week complete a screening where they receive immediate results, education and other resources. The stress from dealing with COVID-19 is driving that 20% increase.

Read more at EHS

Tracking Covid-19 Excess Deaths Across Countries – Updated Data at The Economist

A better way to measure the damage caused by such a medical crisis is to look at “excess mortality”: the gap between the total number of people who died from any cause, and the historical average for the same place and time of year. 

Compared to the baseline average of deaths from 2009-19, the flu seasons of 2017, 2018 and 2019 were all unusually lethal. But the covid-19 pandemic, which arrived much later in the year, has already reached a higher peak—and would have been far more damaging without social-distancing measures. EuroMOMO’s figures suggest that there were about 170,000 excess deaths between March 16th and May 31st.

The charts below use data fromEuroMOMO, a network of epidemiologists who collect weekly reports on deaths from all causes in 24 European countries, covering 350m people.

See the charts and read the article at The Economist


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Daily Update – 90

Executive Order Gives Ramps Up Enforcement of Social Distancing, Other Safety Protocols

In an effort to encourage compliance with State guidelines, the Governor announced that he will be issuing an Executive Order today to strengthen State enforcement of reopening rules and guideline violations. The Executive Order will empower the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to immediately suspend or revoke the liquor licenses from bars and restaurants that do not enforce social distancing protocols. Businesses could also face an immediate shutdown order for not following guidelines. Restaurants and bars will also be responsible for managing social distancing guidelines on the sidewalks immediately in front of their business.

New York City is on track to enter phase two on Monday (6/22). The global health experts the State uses to determine reopening eligibility are reviewing New York City data, but the Governor said businesses should plan on entering phase two on Monday. A definitive answer will be given during tomorrow’s briefing. 

New York City specific guidelines for these industries can be found here.

Read the press release

Hudson Valley Region Private Sector Job Count Down 20.1 Percent in May

For the 12-month period ending May 2020, the private sector job count in the Hudson Valley fell by 165,400, or 20.1 percent, to 656,400.  Losses occurred in leisure and hospitality (-58,700), trade, transportation and utilities (-34,200), educational and health services (-18,400), professional and business services (-16,900), other services (-16,400), natural resources, mining and construction (-12,300), manufacturing (-6,700), financial activities (-1,100), and information (-700).

The May 2020 over-the-year job losses continues to reflect the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. At 656,400, private sector job count has reached its lowest May level since 1995.

Within the region, the Orange-Rockland-Westchester labor market area’s private employment sector declined the fastest year-over-year, down 21.1 percent.  They were followed by the Dutchess-Putnam MSA (-18.4 percent), the Kingston MSA (-16.1 percent), and Sullivan County (-12.1 percent).

See the Labor Market Profile Hudson Valley – MAY 2020

PPP Interim Final Rule (IFR)

In addition to the new loan forgiveness applications, late Tuesday afternoon, June 16, 2020, the SBA issued its nineteenth Interim Final Rule relating to the Paycheck Protection Program which is set to be officially published on June 19, 2020. This IFR serves to amend previously-issued IFRs and clarifies the effect of the changes in PPP loan forgiveness eligibility created by the Flexibility Act, which was passed on June 5, 2020, and has been a source of many questions in the days that followed.

Tuesday’s IFR also clarified the amount of owner compensation that would be forgivable under the Flexibility Act. Previously ‒ despite being able to borrow 2.5 months (10 weeks) of 2019 net income ‒ the amount of owner’s compensation that would be forgivable was limited to 8 weeks’ worth of 2019 net profit (up to $15,385) for an 8-week covered period.

Read more from Associate Member PKF O’Connor Davies

Back to Work” A Complementary Legal Seminar Provided by Greenwald Doherty LLC

  • Monday, June 22, 2020, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
  • Where: Zoom Network Webinar
  • Cost: No Fee for Members

Joel Greenwald, a labor attorney and partner in the Firm Greenwald Doherty, LLC joins The Council of Industry to discuss the legal issues related to your employees returning to work including:

  • How do you avoid discrimination and wrongful death claims?
  • What legal issues and safety concerns are confronting you now as you bring employees back?
  • Can, or should, you be taking employees’ temperatures and/or requiring COVID-19 testing?
  • What staffing levels do you need to be at for potential PPP loan forgiveness?
  • How should you handle continued staff reductions?
  • What will businesses need to do to accommodate disabled employees?

Register Here

Guidelines for Colleges And Universities to Open in the Fall

Yesterday the State issued guidelines for colleges and universities to allow some residential and face-to-face programming for the fall semester. The Governor stressed that more data is needed between now and September to make a definitive determination, however, they want to make sure colleges and universities start to prepare their plans. The State is asking institutions to develop reopening plans that attest to meeting the guidelines, which must be filed with the State. These plans should consider strategies for reopening, monitoring, containment, and shutdowns.

New York State Insurance Fund Has Useful COVID-19 Safety Guide & Video

The phased-in reopening of the New York economy is well underway and NYSIF has provided a COVID-19 Safety Guide for New York Businesses that provides the guidance you need to reopen and remain open. It includes comprehensive industry-specific guidelines for construction, manufacturing, home healthcare, retail, clerical/office, restaurant/bar and personal care. 

Read the Guide

They also invite you to check view “Before You Reopen: A COVID-19 Safety Guide for New York Businesses video.”

Webinar Recording Now Available: Dealing with Supply Chain Disruption – Strategies to Help Your Firm Manage Risk and Maintain Operational Flexibility in Your Supply Chain.

The Council of Industry hosted a webinar on Wednesday, June 10th Featuring Clarkson University’s Dr. Dennis Yu, Associate Professor of Operations & Information Systems and Associate Dean of Graduate Programs & Research, And John Mead, VP at Totalogistix.

They discussed strategies to help your firm manage risk and maintain operational flexibility in your supply chain.

Watch it here

National Safety Council: Employers Must Prioritize Mental Health as Traditional Operations Resume

The National Safety Council is urging employers to protect employee mental health as workplaces reopen and be mindful that they may see a spike in substance abuse. The council encourages employers to create a culture of safety around mental health and offers recommendations for worker resources and supervisor training.

The pandemic has heightened the risk of mental health distress by destabilizing workers’ finances, jobs and child care arrangements, NSC said. Furthermore, the social isolation necessitated by COVID-19 can lead to substance use disorders, with those who previously experienced such disorders “even more vulnerable due to decreased accessibility to treatment, recovery supports and harm reduction services.”

Read more at HR Dive

Workforce Development Institute (WDI) Providing Grants to Mid-Hudson Manufacturers

Our good freinds and partners at WDI continue to offer funding to our members.  Through a unique grants program, WDI makes investments that lead to workforce development and economic growth. This program is an “interactive” one, where WDI Regional Directors work directly with a business, union, or other entity to understand the issue at hand, and then help develop a response.

In 2019, WDI funded a total of 316 projects that are projected to impact 12,622 workers across New York State. 

Want to know more? Contact Mary Jane Bertram, Regional Director 


read more »

Daily Update 89

Cuomo: 60,000 Tests in the Past 24 Hours With Fewer Than 1% Positive – New York Has Moved from the Worst COVID State to One of the Best.

The State performed 59,341 tests on June 16th, of which just 567 tests returned positive, which is less than 1% of all results. New York has gone from the highest infection rate to the lowest infection rate in the Nation. New York City COVID-19 positive tests have fallen during phase one of reopening. Positive tests dropped from 57% per day on April 1st, to 2% on June 8th, to 1.4% today. Hospitalizations have fallen for weeks from a peak of 12,000 to 1,280 on June 8th, to 761 today. The daily percent positive of all cases remains low in all boroughs in the City.

New York City is on track to enter phase two on Monday (6/22).

The Capital Region began phase three yesterday. Our Mid-Hudson region is on track to enter phase three on Tuesday (6/23). The Long Island region is on track to enter phase three on Wednesday (6/24). 

New York City specific guidelines for these industries can be found here.

Phase three guidelines are here

The regional dashboard is here

PPP – New EZ and Revised Full Forgiveness Applications Released

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, posted a revised, borrower-friendly Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness application implementing the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020.  In addition to revising the full forgiveness application, SBA also published a new EZ version of the forgiveness application that applies to borrowers that:

  • Are self-employed and have no employees; OR
  • Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%, and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees; OR
  • Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19, and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.

The EZ application requires fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers.  Details regarding the applicability of these provisions are available in the instructions to the new EZ application form.  

View the EZ Forgiveness Application.

View the Full Forgiveness Application.

Main Street Lending Program – More Details 

Council Associate Member and friend PKF O’Connor Davies Provides some further details on the Fed’s Main Street Lending Program.

The Federal Reserve announced on June 15, 2020 that lenders may begin registering to be an approved lender under the Main Street Lending Program (the Program). Once registered, the lenders will be allowed to offer loans under the Program. Previously, on June 8, 2020, the Federal Reserved announced changes to loan terms under the Program. The Federal Reserve’s purpose is to promote maximum employment, maintain steady prices, and support the stability of the financial system. The Program is being conducted under authority granted by the CARES Act. Businesses seeking loans under the Program would obtain them from approved lenders. The loans are generally available to commercial companies employing up to 15,000 workers or with 2019 annual revenues up to $5 billion.

Read more at PKF O’Connor Davies

Data: 37.7M workers at high risk for COVID-19

A Kaiser Family Foundation study found more than 90 million adults are at higher risk for serious health outcomes from COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions or age. Almost 38 million of that cohort is employed — most of them full time — and likely face financial hardship preventing them from remaining absent from their job, if their employer wants them back.

“These data suggest employers should take into account the higher risk some workers will face, allowing them to work at home where possible, to be tested and to minimize their risks if they return to work,” KFF President and CEO Drew Altman said in a statement.

Read more at HealthCareDive

Pharma Groups to Ramp Up Output of Virus Drug Dexamethasone

Pharmaceutical companies are preparing to ramp up the mass production of a cheap generic drug that UK scientists say is the first treatment to significantly cut mortality in severe coronavirus patients.

Dexamethasone cut the death rates for patients receiving oxygen by one-fifth and it reduced the total 28-day virus mortality rate by 17 per cent, according to the UK trial.

Read more at the Financial Times

GM CEO Mary Barra ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ on Coronavirus Recovery, Consumer Demand

General Motors CEO and Chairman Mary Barra told CNBC on Wednesday she is “cautiously optimistic” about consumer demand returning as well as a global economic recovery as businesses continue to reopen following shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We’ve been pleasantly surprised how demand has come back,” she said in a “Squawk Box” interview. Barra said the company is “hopeful that we’ll have a strong recovery” overall but is planning for multiple scenarios “to make sure the company is strong from a business perspective and can weather any outcome.”

Read/watch at CNBC

Retail Sales Increase by a Record 18% – A Little Closer Look

U.S. retail sales posted their most impressive jump in May, suggesting that the recession caused by the pandemic might be ending. Retail sales jumped 17.7% last month, the biggest advance since the government started tracking the series in 1992 and data for April was revised to show a record 14.7% drop in sales instead of the previously reported 16.2%.  Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales would rise 8% in May.

Bloomberg dives in on more specifics on May’s strong numbers:

  • Sales in the automotive sector—led by car truck dealerships—rose more than $30 billion from April, accounting for more than 40% of the overall retail sales increase.
  • Clothing retailers noticed the largest percentage increase in May—a stunning 188%….[But] sales are just a third of February’s level.

Read the Bloomberg Story

All Good Things…. Cuomo Will Hold Last COVID Briefing Friday

Governor Cuomo also announced he would stop his daily press briefings after this Friday (6/19) and move back to a similar schedule of briefings that was in place before COVID-19. We will continue to monitor his briefings and update you with any relevant information.


read more »

Daily Update – 88

Testing and Accelerated Reopening

New York State has now performed over 3,000,000 COVID-19 tests, including both diagnostic and antibody tests. According to the State’s “Results By Region Dashboard” all regions are continuing to show a low number of positive cases. Yesterday, all regions were at or below a 1.4% positive rate. A six-week, 12,000 random sample antibody test study has been completed.  It found that 13.4% of the general population tested positive for antibodies. Most regions of the State increased slightly in percent positive from a previous antibody study. A few regions showed a slight decrease in percent positives.

The State is again accelerating certain activities as the public health metrics being tracked are continuing to trend in a positive direction while reopening. Starting today, the State will now allow hospitals to accept visitors at their discretion. Starting Friday, group homes certified by the NYS Office for People with Disabilities may begin visitations at their discretion. 

See the Results by Region Dashboard

Tennis Anyone?

The U.S. Open will take place in Queens, New York without fans from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13. The State is working with the U.S. Tennis Association to take extraordinary precautions to protect players and staff, including robust testing, additional cleaning, extra locker room space, and dedicated housing & transportation.

The Capital region is cleared to enter phase three today (6/17). The Capital region includes Albany, Columbia, Greene, Saratoga, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Warren, and Washington counties.  Our Mid-Hudson Region is slated for phase three next Tuesday (6/23) Phase three industries include restricted indoor and outdoor dining at food service establishments and personal care services.

Phase three guidelines for these industries can be found here. 

Read the Governor’s press release

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Advance Program Is Reopened to All Eligible Small Businesses and Non-Profits Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic

To further meet the needs of U.S. small businesses and non-profits, the U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19 today.

SBA’s EIDL program offers long-term, low interest assistance for a small business or non-profit.  These loans can provide vital economic support to help alleviate temporary loss of revenue.  EIDL assistance can be used to cover payroll and inventory, pay debt or fund other expenses.  Additionally, the EIDL Advance will provide up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee) of emergency economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties, and these emergency grants do not have to be repaid.

Learn more and apply

Liberty Street Economics: Finally, Some Signs of Improvement in the Regional Economy

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s June business surveys show some signs of improvement in the regional economy. Following two months of unprecedented decline due to the coronavirus pandemic, indicators of business activity point to a slower pace of contraction in the service sector and signs of a rebound in the manufacturing sector. Even more encouraging, as the regional economy has begun to reopen, many businesses have started to recall workers who were laid off or put on furlough since the start of the pandemic. Some have even hired new workers. Moreover, businesses expect to recall even more workers over the next month. Looking ahead, firms have become increasingly optimistic that conditions will improve in the coming months.

Read more at the NY Fed

IRS Provides Guidance On Employer Leave-Based Donation Programs That Aid Victims Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

Bruce H. Schwartz of Council Associate Member and Friend Jackson Lewis writes on IRS Notice 2020-46 that addresses the tax treatment of employees who elect to have their employers donate sick, vacation or personal leave as cash payments to charitable organizations that provide relief to victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Notice provides that the donated leave should be not be treated as W-2 wages to the donating employees.  The donated leave should not be included in Box 1 [wages subject to income tax], Box 3 [wages subject to Social Security tax] or Box 5 [wages subject to Medicare tax] of the Form W-2.  But employees may not claim a charitable contribution deduction for the value of the donated leave.

Read more at Jackson Lewis

CDC Issues Guidelines to Manage An Outbreak in the Workplace

With COVID-19 cases spiking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released recommendations for companies that test employees for COVID-19 as part of their disease control measures. The document outlines potential testing strategies in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case in the workplace, including organizing employees by risk categories, contact tracing to help identify possible spread, taking action in the event of multiple positive cases and recommendations on when exposed employees can return to work. The CDC also indicates that testing strategies should only be used if the testing results will lead to specific actions.

You can read the recommendations here.

DHS Extends Form I-9 Requirement Flexibility

In May, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced an extension of the flexibility in complying with requirements related to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, due to COVID-19. This temporary guidance was set to expire June 18. Because of ongoing precautions related to COVID-19, DHS has extended this policy for an additional 30 days.

This provision only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. See the original news release for more information on how to obtain, remotely inspect, and retain copies of the identity and employment eligibility documents to complete Section 2 of Form I-9.

See the original news release

Main Street Lending Program Registration Now Open

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has now opened lender registration for the Main Street Lending Program, which will provide loans to businesses with up to 15,000 employees or $5 billion in annual revenues. After registering with the Fed, lenders will be able to make loans ranging in size from $250,000 to $300 million to businesses impacted by COVID-19. The Fed is encouraging lenders to begin lending to eligible borrowers “immediately.”

You can find more information here


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Daily Update 87

Cuomo: Gatherings of Up to 25 Permitted in Phase Three Regions

The Governor held his press briefing on the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge in our Mid-Hudson Region to tout the opening of the 3.6 mile bicycle and pedestrian path.  He announced the, since the public health metrics being tracked are trending in a positive direction while reopening, the State is accelerating certain activities. The State will increase the limit on public gatherings from ten to twenty-five people in phase three eligible regions.

The Western New York region is cleared to enter phase three today (6/16). The Capital region is expected to enter phase three tomorrow (6/17), but has not yet officially been cleared to do so.

Read the press release

Phase three industries and guidelines

Monday Economic Report

There were 311,000 manufacturing job openings in April, edging up slightly from the 310,000 postings in March, which was the slowest pace since October 2016. The COVID-19 outbreak has altered the manufacturing labor market dramatically. After experiencing more job openings than the number of people looking for work for 24 straight months, the abrupt stoppage of economic activity amid the COVID-19 outbreak sharply reversed that trend, starting in March. There were 23,078,000 unemployed Americans in April–the figure declined to 20,985,000 in May but remained historically elevated, according to the latest jobs data. 

Monday Economic Report 2020-0615

Empire State Manufacturing Survey

Business activity steadied in New York State, according to firms responding to the June 2020 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. After breaching record lows in April and May, the headline general business conditions index climbed forty-eight points to -0.2. New orders were unchanged from last month and shipments inched higher. Delivery times and inventories were little changed. Employment levels edged slightly lower and the average workweek continued to decline. Input price increases picked up, and selling prices stabilized. Firms were notably more optimistic that conditions would be better in six months, with the index for future business conditions rising to its highest level in more than a decade.

Read more at the NY Fed

Report: Pandemic Multiplies Cybervulnerabilities

Attackers are taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to exploit pre-existing and newly introduced vulnerabilities across a wide range of attack points.

Security firm RiskIQ, which specializes in digital asset discovery and protection, has used data collected recently by its technology through internet scans to assess the current global attack surface. Over two weeks, the company saw the addition of 2,959,498 new domain names and 772,786,941 new unique hosts to the web.

Read more at CSO

China is a Bright Spot for U.S. in Gloomy Global Trade Picture

China has retaken its mantle as America’s largest trading partner, emerging as a rare bright spot for U.S. farmers and other exporters as the coronavirus pandemic constrains global commerce.

Trade between the two nations rose to $39.7 billion in April, up nearly 43% from the month before, and enough to once again surpass Mexico and Canada. The jump followed the signing of a trade pact in January in which China agreed to sharply step up purchases of U.S. farm products and other goods. U.S.-China trade remains well below the record $61.4 billion set in October 2018, and economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic has cast doubt on China’s ability to meet ambitious purchase targets set in the trade accord. China is nonetheless the only major world economy likely to post positive growth this year, according to a recent World Bank forecast.

Read more at the WSJ

Beijing Imposes Curbs as Coronavirus Returns to Chinese capital

After nearly two months with no new infections, Beijing officials have reported 79 cases over the past four days, the city’s biggest cluster of infections since February. The return of the coronavirus has shrouded Beijing, home to the headquarters of many big corporations, in uncertainty at a time when China is trying to shake off the economic torpor caused by the disease. 

“The containment efforts have rapidly entered into a war-time mode,” senior city government official Xu Ying told a news conference. Xu said 7,200 neighborhoods and nearly 100,000 epidemic-control workers had entered the “battlefield”. The outbreak has been traced to the sprawling Xinfadi market where thousands of tonnes of vegetables, fruits and meat change hands each day.

Read more at Reuters

FAST Forward: Advancing Small Business in these Unprecedented Times

GSA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization and the Federal Acquisition Service are partnering to host a FAST Forward virtual event on June 22 to assist and answer questions on how small businesses can sell products and services to the federal government. 

The training sessions will give you an overview of what you need to know to pursue a federal or GSA contract; from market research, registering your business in (System for Award Management), supply chain resilience and contract compliance, to adapting to some of the emerging needs we are experiencing in response to the global pandemic. Links to additional small business resources will also be provided after the event.

Register today

Metro-North Expands Schedule

The schedule change will further increase overall service to 61 percent of the railroad’s normal weekday schedule.

The previous schedule of 54 trains during morning peak hours will be increased to 116 trains and additional 11 trains operating during reverse peak time. This reflects 49 trains arriving at Grand Central Terminal during the morning peak and 67 during the afternoon peak.

With ridership down more than 90 percent and more customers expected to slowly make their return to the system, the new schedule provides approximately 41 percent of the normal Metro-North peak capacity, railroad officials said.

Read more at Mid Hudson News



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Daily Update 86

Cuomo: Phased Reopening is Working

The governor announced that 3 more regions should enter phase 3 this coming week. He added that New York is progressing through the phased reopening without spiking infection rates unlike other states that have seen their infections rates increase since reopening. Nearly half of the states have reported an increasing number of COVID-19 cases and fourteen states have seen an increase of over 25% in the last week. New York has experienced a continued steady downward trend in new infections. The Governor said the State will continue a smart and disciplined re-opening to avoid a spike in new COVID-19 cases that other states who have re-opened too quickly are experiencing.

Read Saturday’s press release

Stock Futures Tumble on Virus Fears, Chinese Economic Data

Market participants continued to eye coronavirus cases across the country for signs of resurgences. New cases in the densely populated state of Florida grew faster than the past week’s average as of Sunday’s tally, according to Bloomberg data, and Washington State Department of Health issued a report warning of state-wide increases in the virus.

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow during CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday downplayed economic concerns posed by potential new waves of the coronavirus, saying, “There’s a very good chance you are going to get the V-shaped recovery,” and asserting growth would pick back up in the second half of the year. The remarks contrasted with some of the more cautionary outlooks from officials including Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who last week underscored the ongoing uncertainty created by the pandemic.

Kudlow also said the current $600-per-week unemployment payment paid out to some Americans who had lost their jobs during the pandemic as part of Washington’s sweeping coronavirus relief plan would end on schedule at the end of July, calling the program “a disincentive” for people to return to work.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

DiNapoli: A Look at New York’s Economy

“The current public health and economic crisis we are facing as a state, nation and world is something we have never dealt with before and it will continue to impact our state and local finances for the foreseeable future. Now more than ever we need partnership and communication between all levels of government. I renew my call for the federal government to provide financial assistance to the states and communities hit hard by COVID-19.

Despite the grim outlook, I remain optimistic for our future. We are New York Tough and I believe our resilience, as a state and nation, will pull us through these challenging times.”

A Look at New ‘s Economy from the Comptroller 0613 2020

PPP Flexibility Act – Interim Final Rules Provide Some Clarification, but Leave Important Questions Unanswered

Joshua Steele, attorney with our friends and Associate Members Harris Beach, writes that “the most significant element of the June 11 Interim Final Rules is the clarification it provides on the PPPFA’s requirement that borrowers must spend 60 percent of the PPP loan on covered payroll costs.  Originally, the April 2, 2020 Interim Final Rules indicated that 75 percent of the forgiveness amount of a PPP loan must be attributable to covered payroll costs.  In application, this meant that a borrower that failed to spend at least 75 percent of the loan amount on covered payroll cost would receive a reduced amount of forgiveness.  While the PPPFA lowered that percentage to 60 percent, it also included language indicating that: (1) the 60 percent requirement is based on the total loan amount, not the eligible forgiveness amount; and (2) failing to meet this 60 percent threshold would preclude a borrower from receiving any forgiveness, as opposed to simply resulting in a decrease in forgiveness.”

Read more at Harris Beach

Auto Makers’ Reopening Complicated by Worker Absences Amid Covid Cases

Auto makers are grappling with absent U.S. factory workers and Covid-19 cases at their reopened plants, complicating the companies’ efforts to recoup production lost to the pandemic.

The impact on output has been minimal as many plants aren’t yet operating at full capacity, the companies said. Still, the challenges have required auto makers to adjust shifts and add temporary workers. Such moves highlight the complexities businesses face upon reopening as they look to insulate their workplaces from potential outbreaks while restoring moneymaking operations after weeks of lockdown.

Read more at the WSJ

Best Practices from Ford’s Return to Work Handbook

Having a playbook is always the best strategy, so when Ford Motor Co. had to tackle reopening manufacturing plants they developed a very detailed playbook. The 64-page book, “Manufacturing Return to Work Playbook,” covers an expansive list of topics providing very specific instructions and documentation on how to keep workers safe.

 The workbook is also being given to Fords’ suppliers, business partners and third parties to ensure they are aware of the company’s health and safety practices when onsite at Ford facilities or interacting with Ford personnel. The company considers the playbook a working document that will change to reflect both regulatory guidance and industry practices as they evolve. 

Read the article at IndustryWeek

Read the playbook

A To-Do List for Restarting—and Rethinking—Plants Post COVID-19

While some global strategic consulting experts have already begun offering high-level suggestions on how industrials can operate in a post COVID-19 world, more hands-on advice is available, offering a realistic to-do list to run plants to their fullest potential under the conditions of less-available manpower.

However, being realistic does not mean avoiding the unique opportunity to challenge presuppositions on how plants are operated into the future. In the long run, 2020 presents a golden opportunity to come out of our cocoons and try an approach that is dramatically different in order to adequately navigate uncertain times.

Read more at IndustryWeek

CDC Guidance: Considerations for Events and Gatherings

The CDC has released guidance on large community gatherings and events. As some communities in the United States begin to plan and hold events and gatherings, the CDC offers considerations for enhancing protection of individuals and communities and preventing spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The advice is practical for anyone who is even planning a graduation or family birthday.

Event planners and officials can determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials, whether and how to implement these considerations, making adjustments to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community. Because COVID-19 virus circulation varies in communities, these considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which gatherings must comply. Organizers should continue to assess, based on current conditions, whether to postpone, cancel, or significantly reduce the number of attendees for gatherings.

The guidance can be found here

Deeper Dive: the Economist on The Future of Cities Focusing On NYC and How the Virus Wears Down the Body (Podcast)

Workers and firms have continued to pile into cities like New York, even as travel and telecommuting have become easier, because there is so much to be gained by proximity to other human beings, especially when it comes to the “knowledge economy” reliant on highly skilled, highly educated and highly productive workers.

Read more at The Economist

Slavea Chankova and Kenneth Cukier investigate the ways in which SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes covid-19, wears the body down. Apart from pneumonia, there are other facets to the disease that are less understood such as damage to the kidneys, blood vessels and heart. And, how does covid-19 continue to harm the body—and patients’ mental health— in the long term? Runtime: 26 min.

Listen at the Economist


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Daily Update 85

Cuomo: Phase Three for Five Regions – Percent Testing Positive is Key Metric

In his press briefing today the Governor confirmed that five regions will enter phase three of reopening today, June 12th. Phase three industries include indoor dining in food service establishments and personal care.  These regions include: Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mahawk Valley, North Country and the Southern Tier. The Mid Hudson is likely to enter phase three June 23rd assuming we all remain diligent wearing face coverings, practicing good hygiene and social distancing. 

The most important metric to watch as the State reopens is the daily positive testing rate. To track that metric the State has launched a dashboard showing how many tests have been administered and how many tests were positive as a raw number and a percentage. Currently, all regions are showing low positive rates. The State will monitor the daily test results in all regions to ensure each region can continue through the reopening phases.

Phase three guidelines for these industries can be found here.

The dashboard can be viewed here.

The press release is here

Weekly Unemployment Claims Better Than Expected

Initial claims totaled 1.54 million, compared with the 1.6 million expected from economists surveyed by Dow Jones and a plunge of 355,000 from the previous week’s total just shy of 1.9 million. The four-week moving average, which smooths volatility in the numbers fell by 286,250 to 2 million. Though the total decelerated for the 10th straight week, it still represents a stunningly sharp exodus of workers to the unemployment line over the past three months. There were 705,676 claims filed under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

Those collecting benefits declined by 339,000 to 20.9 million, compared with the crisis peak of 24.9 million during the week of May 9. The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell to 21.9 million, a decrease of 404,750 from a week earlier.

Read more at CNBC

Stock Futures Jump After Thursday’s Sell Off on Wall Street

Stock futures jumped Friday morning, recovering some declines after the three major indices closed out their worst day since mid-March during the regular session Thursday on Wall Street. The rout came as investors nervously eyed rising coronavirus cases in some parts of the country, and considered officials’ warnings of sustained economic damage due to the outbreak’s after-effects. 

By Thursday’s close, the Dow dropped by around 7%, or 1,861 points, for the index’s worst day since March 16 and its fourth largest point-drop on record. Each of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq dropped more than 5% for their worst sessions since mid-March.

Increases in new coronavirus cases in some parts of the country contributed to investors’ worries during Thursday’s session, triggering the steep sell-off in risk assets and among travel and leisure stocks especially. Officials in Houston, Texas suggested they were considering reestablishing stay-at-home orders amid the latest rise in local cases, with Texas having just reported its biggest one-day jump in cases since the pandemic began on Wednesday.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

Regeneron Begins First Human Clinical Trials of COVID-19 Antibody ‘Cocktail’

“REGN-COV2 could have a major impact on public health by slowing spread of the virus and providing a needed treatment for those already sick – and could be available much sooner than a vaccine,” said George D. Yancopoulos, co-founder, president and chief scientific officer of Regeneron. “The antibody cocktail approach may also have long-term utility for elderly and immuno-compromised patients, who often do not respond well to vaccines. Ultimately, the world needs multiple solutions for COVID-19, and the innovative biopharma industry is collectively working hard to help as many people as possible with a variety of complementary approaches.”

The cocktail consists of two antibodies that are produced in mice that have been genetically modified to have a human immune system. The antibodies being tested to fight COVID-19 are the same as if they had been produced in a human. The two antibodies bind to a protein that the virus uses to attack human cells and block it.

Read more in the Westchester County Business Journal

Meanwhile Another Hudson Valley Pharmaceutical Firm Predicts an October Launch for Its Vaccine

Head of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, said that his company believes they will have a COVID-19 vaccine ready by the end of October, according to the Associated French Press (AFP). 

The company is currently in the clinical trial stage of development, developing their vaccine alongside Germany’s BioNtech. The companies, whose project relies on messenger RNA technology never before used in an approved vaccine, dosed the first humans in Germany earlier in May, and hope to begin a US trial soon, pending regulators’ blessing.

Read more in the Jerusalem Post

Moderna’s Vaccine Starts Human Trial In July 

Moderna told Bloomberg on Thursday that it’s on pace to begin the final-stage clinical trial of its vaccine for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 by July. Moderna was the first company to begin human clinical trials of its vaccine candidate in the U.S., and the last stage of its study will include 30,000 people and be conducted in partnership with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The aim of the study will be to show definitive clinical proof that Moderna’s vaccine actually does prevent people from developing COVID-19, and, secondarily, that it prevents at least severe symptoms and cases that require hospitalization from materializing.

Read more at Tech Crunch

Global Economic Report: World Bank Says Global GDP Will Fall 5.2% in 2020, but Rebound by 4.2% in 2021

The World Bank forecasts a decline of 5.2% in real global GDP in 2020, following 2.4% growth in 2019. It would be the worst decrease in worldwide growth since the aftermath of World War II, with global economies sharply pulling back on activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. With that said, the global economy should rebound in 2021, with worldwide growth jumping 4.2%. 

Global Manfuactuirng Economic Report 06112020

Chinese Manufacturing Activity Expanded at the Fastest Pace Since January

The expansion is a sign that its economy continues to stabilize. In April, industrial production grew 3.9% year-over-year, the first positive reading so far this year and a definite improvement from the 13.5% and 1.1% declines seen in January/February and March, respectively. At the same time, fixed-asset investment and retail sales declined at slower rates in April, but continued to be negative.

China was the only one of the top 10 markets for U.S.-manufactured goods to expand in May, returning to positive territory after pulling lower in April. In the previous month, most of the top 10 markets had contracted at paces that were either the worst since the Great Recession or at record lows. In May, seven of these economies saw improvements, albeit at rates of decline that remained quite severe.

Read more 


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COVID 19 Update 83

State Launching New Dashboard to Display Daily Test Results for Each Region and County

The dashboard will show on a daily basis how many tests have been administered and how many tests were positive as a raw number and a percentage. Currently, all regions are showing low positive rates.

In the Mid-Hudson region, there were 73 new positive cases and 0 hospital deaths yesterday. There are currently 274 hospitalizations in the region.

The Governor said that if rates spike in a region, that will be cause for concern. Currently, the State is providing coronavirus tracking information via the Regional UnPause Dashboard, the Early Warning Dashboard, and the Department of Health’s COVID-19 Tracker.

Read the press release 

Congress Acts to Bring More Flexibility to Paycheck Protection Program -More Detail from Harris Beach

SBA and the Department of the Treasury are expected to issue Frequently Asked Questions and interim final rules to implement and clarify the provisions of the PPPFA and its impact on the inconsistent portions of prior interim final rules and guidance, as well as to address numerous outstanding issues and questions pertaining to the PPP and loan forgiveness that were not addressed by the PPPFA. 

Here is what we know 

Pandemic Blamed for Decline in Machine Tool Orders

US orders for metal-cutting, metal-forming and metal-fabricating equipment fell 26.3% month-to-month in April and were down 37.8% from a year earlier, according to a report by the Association for Manufacturing Technology. The coronavirus pandemic was cited for the decline, which was the largest month-over-month drop in a decade.

 Read more at American Machinist

The French Government Unveiled a €15bn ($17bn) Rescue Plan for its Aerospace Industry

The Industry employs some 300,000 people and has been severely affected by the pandemic. The package includes loan guarantees and measures to protect jobs, as well as loans already promised to Air France. Meanwhile Hong Kong’s government will take a 6% stake in Cathay Pacific as part of a $5bn rescue package.

Read more at the Financial Times

Childcare Available for Parents Returning to Work in Putnam

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said Monday that several daycare centers and family day care providers are open and that slots are available.

Parents seeking childcare for their kids as they go back to work should contact the Dutchess/Putnam Care Council. The phone number of the Carmel office is 845-808-1659 while the Poughkeepsie office number is 845-473-4141.

Learn more at at 

Defense Production Act Loan Application Process Now Open

Back in mid-May, President Trump issued an executive order that provides the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation with the authority to issue loans under the Defense Production Act in order to re-shore domestic production of strategic resources needed to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and to strengthen any relevant domestic supply chains. This week, the DFC announced it is now accepting applications for these loans.

You can learn more about your potential eligibility for these loans and apply here

NAM Liability Reform Campaign Expands

As the Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action continues to expand our growing campaign for COVID-19 liability protections, I joined Mike Ralston, president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, in calling on the Iowa legislature and federal leaders to enact the type of targeted protections that manufacturers need.

You can read more here

Moving from Just in Time to Just in Case

In pursuit of ever-greater efficiency, many businesses de-emphasized supply chain flexibility and resilience. Today’s situation calls for rebalancing priorities. Consider for a moment the farms growing food for commercial users here or in China. Pre Covid-19, these farms were highly efficient and offered products at the lowest possible cost. Today the commercial market has been decimated, and farmers are forced to dump strawberries or cull herds, financial victims of unanticipated change. To withstand a crisis, or better yet to come out of it stronger, balance the low cost and efficiency of the JIT model with the need to be nimble and agile in reacting to market changes.

IndustryWeek offers some components of a “Just in Case” supply chain

Attend today’s Council of Industry supply chain strategies webinar


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COVID 19 Update 82

Mid-Hudson Enters Phase Two Day Today, Statewide Testing Will Increase

Today is the day for Phase two!  Phase two industries include offices, real estate, essential and phase two in-store retail, vehicle sales and rentals, retail rental, repair and cleaning, hair salons and barbershops, and commercial building management.  It is important that all phase two businesses to read and affirm the detailed guidelines for your sector.

Guidance for these industries can be found here.

Reminder – even if you have been open as “essential” all through the pandemic you still must have a reopening plan and certify with the the state.


The State performed 58,054 tests yesterday which resulted in 702 positives cases (1.2%). The State is consistently performing 58,000 or more tests per day and the positive results per day have been below 1.6% for the last four days. Just a few weeks ago New York City was finding 59% of tests returning positive results. The Governor said that with this progress he is confident in reopening New York City. In order to track the spread of the virus, the State is launching an initiative to increase testing and build more test sites. The State will conduct 35,000 tests per day in New York City alone. Anyone who has attended a protest recently should get tested. The State is also focusing on the most impacted zip codes in the City where infection rates are unusually high.

Read the press release

Trump Signs Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act

In a rare display of bipartisanship, on June 5, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA) in an attempt to address many concerns expressed by the small business community around the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) aimed at providing COVID-19 relief.

On May 27, 2020, the House passed the PPPFA by 417-1 and the Senate approved it by unanimous consent on June 3. The new law addresses flaws in the original PPP program created under the CARES Act.

Read what you need to know in Forbes

Monday Economic Report

Manufacturers added 250k jobs in May.  Other data point to recovery but how fast and how far remains uncertain.

Monday Economic Report 2020-0608

Recession in U.S. Began in February

The U.S. economy entered a recession in February, the group that dates business cycles said Monday, ending the longest American economic expansion on record. Monthly economic activity “reached a clear peak” in February, marking the end of the 128-month expansion that began in June 2009, said the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research. It was the longest expansion in records back to 1854.

Read more at the WSJ

World Bank Forecasts World Economy will Shrink by 5.2%

The World Bank predicted that the global economy will shrink by 5.2% this year because of the covid-19 pandemic. Output will fall most in rich countries, by 7%, whereas that of poor countries will decline by around 2.5%. The bank warned that the figures could be even worse if lockdown measures are not lifted by the second half of the year.

Over the longer horizon, the deep recessions triggered by the pandemic are expected to leave lasting scars through lower investment, an erosion of human capital through lost work and schooling, and fragmentation of global trade and supply linkages.

Read the press release and report

How Is COVID-19 Impacting Your Community? The Federal Reserve Wants to Hear From You

In April, the Federal Reserve System conducted a survey to better understand the range of challenges facing under-resourced and low-income communities as an effect of COVID-19. The findings are available in Perspectives from Main Street: The Impact of COVID-19 on Communities and the Entities Serving Them and helped us understand how the pandemic is impacting organizations, like yours, supporting community needs. 

The Fed is committed to fielding this survey every eight weeks to report on how the effects of COVID-19 are changing within communities over time. Please take this survey today. The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete.

Take the Survey

Sourcing Delays Hamper Electronics Manufacturers

The electronics industry is grappling with coronavirus-related component shortages and delays, which are keeping leading manufacturers from launching products, according to a study by Dimensional Research and Supplyframe. The findings emphasize the need for supply chain resilience and “enabling effective collaboration across sourcing, engineering, and manufacturing,” Supplyframe CEO Steve Flagg said.

Read the full story at Supply Chain Quarterly

Learn more and/or attend the Council of Industry’s Strategic Supply Chain Seminar

Review of OSHA Guidance

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continues to provide guidance to assist employees and employers with maintaining safe and healthy working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.  This guidance will be particularly useful as states continue to re-open.  We have collected below a list of existing documents, both general and industry-specific, for your use.

Both OSHA and CDC regularly update their webpages with reopening guidance relevant to the business community.  We encourage you to regularly check for updated guidance at:

In addition to the general guidance above, OSHA frequently issues specific guidance tailored to specific industries.  To date, OSHA has released specific guidance for the following industries relevant to Council Members:

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COVID 19 Update 80

Regional Monitoring Groups Looking for “Hot Spots”  to “Tamp Down”

Each region of the state has a panel of community members and state officials tasked with monitoring the spread of the coronavirus in their region. They follow key metrics and are looking for “hot spots” or places where mini-outbreaks are occuring.  The hope is to catch and “tamp down” these hot spots before they become widespread. should your business become connected to a “hot spot” either directly or through and employee, customer, supplier or the like, it will be important for you to have your reopening plan up to date and fully implemented. If you have not yet certified your reopening plan with the state you should do so ASAP

Remember, even if you have been open as “essential” all through the pandemic you still must have a reopening plan and certify with the the state.


A New, More Detailed (if difficult to navigate) Health Metrics Website Shows the Trends in Each Region

The trends look great – let’s hope they stay that way. 

Visit the site

U.S. Labor Market Unexpectedly Improves

The U.S. economy unexpectedly added jobs in May after suffering record losses in the prior month, offering the clearest signal yet that the downturn triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic was probably over, though the road to recovery could be long.

The Labor Department’s closely watched employment report on Friday also showed the jobless rate falling to 13.3% last month from 14.7% in April, a post World War Two high. But the improvement was unequal, with the unemployment rate for whites posting a record decline, but rising for blacks and Asians.

Read more at Reuters

New York City Reopening: Phase One & Two Guidelines

The Governor’s office has released guidelines and business safety templates for NYC industries that will be allowed to begin reopening in phase one and phase two.  The New York City region is on track to begin phase one of reopening on June 8th. Phase two is projected to begin two weeks after the start of phase one. The New York City region includes the Bronx, Kings, New York, Richmond, and Queens counties.

Phase one industries include Construction, Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting, Retail (Limited to curbside or in-store pickup or drop off), Manufacturing, and Wholesale Trade. Guidance for these industries can be found here.

Phase two industries include offices, real estate, essential and in-store retail, vehicle sales and rentals, retail rental, repair and cleaning, hair salons and barbershops, commercial building management, and outdoor and take-out/delivery food services.

NYC Guidance for these industries can be found here.

EPA, White House Speed Up Permitting Processes

Infrastructure projects will play a big role in getting Americans back to work and accelerating our recovery. The administration took two actions this week that will speed up the permitting process and help get these projects underway, consistent with the NAM’s advocacy. First, the EPA issued a rule that will protect the nation’s waterways while also ensuring that vital energy infrastructure projects aren’t blocked for political reasons. Then, yesterday, President Trump issued an infrastructure executive order that will prioritize infrastructure projects and help manufacturers invest in our communities while protecting the environment.

Read more at the WSJ

COVID-19 & Workers’ Compensation Q&A Now Available from State Workers Comp Board 

The Board has published a COVID-19 & Workers’ Compensation Q&A document to answer questions about workers’ compensation benefits to employees who get COVID-19 while on the job. This Q&A is available on the Board’s website and its content is outlined below.

FOR EMPLOYEES:  If you believe you became ill with COVID-19 due to your  work, you should tell your employer as soon as possible, file an Employee Claim (Form C-3) with the Board, and see a doctor to obtain a diagnosis. For more details, please see the How Do I File a Claim? section below.

FOR EMPLOYERS:  If a worker reports that they are sick due to a workplace exposure, you must contact your workers’ compensation insurance carrier immediately. The insurance carrier then has 18 days to act on the claim and must begin paying benefits within this time frame if the claim is accepted. Please share this information with your employees.

Visit Board’s COVID Response site

What Will Manufacturing’s New Normal Be After COVID-19?

History teaches us that short-term measures taken in response to global crises lead to changes that last for decades. What most of us consider normal has already fundamentally shifted. Manufacturers who understand and act on this new normal will have ample opportunities for growth.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Webinar: Dealing with Supply Chain Disruption – Strategies to help your firm manage risk and maintain operational flexibility in your supply chain.

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

The Council of Industry will host a webinar on Wednesday, June 10th Featuring Clarkson University’s Dr. Dennis Yu, Associate Professor of Operations & Information Systems and Associate Dean of Graduate Programs & Research, And John Mead, VP at Totalogistix.

We will discuss strategies to help your firm manage risk and maintain operational flexibility in your supply chain.
Dr. Yu will provide an overview including:
      – Definition of supply chain risks
      – How to assess supply chain vulnerability
      – Key strategies such as mitigation strategies and contingency planning to build a resilient supply chain.
John Mead will provide some real world examples of how his clients have dealt with critical these challenges and implemented these strategies. He will discuss Risk Mitigation by illustrating the qualities of a low risk model and a high risk model as it relates to:
       – Sourcing
       – Warehousing
       – Transportation
 Providing case studies and examples for each.

To register click here

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COVID Update 79

Cuomo Confirms the Hudson Valley Region Will Enter Phase 2 on Tuesday, June 9th

At his daily press briefing yesterday Governor Cuomo said that The Mid-Hudson region is on track to enter phase two next Tuesday (6/9) and Long Island is on track to enter phase two next Wednesday (6/10). New York City will begin phase one on Monday (6/8). He added that since the public health data has been good the State is allowing restaurants and taverns in the seven regions currently in phase two to serve customers in outdoor areas. 

The State is administrating around 50,000 tests per day. Daily test results are showing that all regions of the State have a 2% or lower positive rate, which is much lower than the results from the last six weeks. The Governor said this accomplishment was thanks to social distancing and mask orders.  The State will expand testing criteria to include anyone who has attended a protest recently. 

Read the press release

Read the phase two reopening guidelines

Senate Passes the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020

Bruce Blasnik, CPA, at Council Associate Member and friend PKF O’Connor Davies writes that “the Senate Passed H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, with a unanimous vote Wednesday. This is the same bill that passed the House of Representatives on May 28, 2020. All that is required for the bill to become law is for the President to sign it.

This is a simple bill that amends the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program as follows:

  • It extends the date through which PPP loans can be made, subject to the availability of funds, from June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
  • It extends the period during which a Borrower may incur forgivable expenses from 8 weeks to 24 weeks, but not later than December 31, 2020, and it raises the non-payroll portion of forgivable expenses from a maximum of 25% to 40%.

Read the rest of the amendments and provisions at PKF O’Conner Davies

EU Plans a Record-Breaking $826 Billion Stimulus Package to Soothe Europe’s Economic Pain from the Coronavirus

The European Commission on Wednesday said it planned to deploy €750 billion, or about $826 billion, as part of a new long-term budget and recovery plan.

The European Union’s executive arm said its push to aid Europe’s economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis would include raising funds through the financial markets.

In the package, called “Next Generation EU,” about €500 billion would be offered as free grants to the bloc’s member states, while €250 billion would be made available as loans to help repair the single market from the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more at Market Insider

Supply Chains, Safety Protocols Hobble U.S. Factories

Manufacturers emerging from weeks in hibernation during the coronavirus pandemic are accelerating production with jumbled supply chains and less efficient plants, making it harder to rebuild the weakened U.S. industrial sector.

Some U.S. factories are looking for alternative suppliers to compensate for plants that remain closed or are overwhelmed by orders for items in high demand. Other companies say new protective equipment and procedures to add space between workers will weigh on their profits and productivity.

Read More at the WSJ

Plan to Attend the Council’s Supply Chain Webinar 

More information is here

Jobless Claims, Total Unemployment Levels Higher than Hoped

Filings for unemployment insurance claims totaled 1.877 million last week in a sign that the worst is over for the coronavirus-related jobs crisis but that the level of unemployment remains stubbornly high.  This was the first time the government’s weekly jobless claims report came under 2 million since the week ended March 14.

“Even as states reopen, claims in the millions are an indicator that the economic pain of the COVID-19 crisis is still acute,” said Daniel Zhao, senior economist at job placement site Glassdoor.

Continuing claims, which provide a clearer picture of how many Americans remain unemployed, totaled 21.5 million, a gain of 649,000 over the past week, worse than Wall Street expected.

Read more at CNBC

Factory Orders Fell in April

New orders for U.S.-made goods fell further than anticipated amid the COVID-19 crisis 

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday factory orders dropped 13.0% after falling 11.0% in March. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast factory orders diving 14% in April.  Factory orders fell 8.0% year-on-year in April. But the slump in manufacturing, which accounts for 11% of U.S. economic activity, probably is close to bottoming.

The sector remains hobbled by supply chain disruptions following business closures around the globe to slow the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing measures at factories as they reopen are also hurting production. Cheaper crude oil, which has eroded profits in the energy sector, is also weighing on manufacturers of drilling equipment.

Read more at Reuters

How IoT Can and Can’t Help Us Go Back to Work

While connected tech in buildings will help us as we go back to work, it’s not the panacea that companies — and the media — are making it out to be. For example, what happens when employees are in an office and one manager keeps getting within 3 feet of everyone else? Even if that’s caught on camera, it’s unlikely that a siren would sound (although that would be both hilarious and blatantly dystopian), or that the manager would get an immediate summons from HR. For repeat offenders, there may be some sort of a conversation that takes place, but there may not be, either. Think about how often HR fails workers when it comes to sexual harassment or other anti-social behavior.

So it’s possible that, thanks to COVID-19, we’re going to see a more defined safety officer role form, one with actual influence — including the ability to compel our recalcitrant manager to back away from his employees. But that isn’t a tech solution; it’s a process solution. Which is why I have struggled to write about how IoT will help us with COVID-19 when we return to the office.

Read more

How to Mitigate ‘Reboarding’ Risks as Workplaces Reopen

Experts say there are three main considerations when selecting the employees to hire back into the organization: current talent needs, employee sentiment and liability for discrimination in the process. Or, as Land puts it, “balancing empathy and economics”

Read more at HR Dive


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COVID 19 Update 78

Governor Cuomo Announces Outdoor Dining at Restaurants Will Be Permitted in Phase Two Of Reopening

At Wednesday’s briefing the Governor made the protests and social unrest across the State and Nation in response to the death of George Floyd the focus of his remarks.  Also at the briefing he announced outdoor dining at restaurants will be permitted in phase two of reopening. Restaurants in the seven regions that have already entered phase two – the Capital Region, Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country, the Southern Tier and Western New York – can reopen for outdoor dining beginning tomorrow, June 4th. Outdoor tables must be spaced six feet apart, all staff must wear face coverings and customers must also wear face coverings when not seated.

The Mid-Hudson is still on target for June 8th. 

Read the press release

Empire State Development has published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on New York Forward and Business Reopening

The FAQ’s cover everything from securing PPE to Essential Businesses and enforcement. 

The FAQ’s are here

Senate Passes Bill to Give Businesses Flexibility in Spending PPP funds, Sends it to Trump for Signature

The Senate passed a bill Wednesday to give small businesses more flexibility in how they spend federal loans given as part of a coronavirus aid program. 

Under the proposal, small businesses would have to spend 60% of the loan money on payroll instead of the previous 75%. They could use the funds for six months, a change from two months. The proposal would extend a June 30 deadline to rehire workers. It would also push back the timeline for repaying loans, and allow companies that get loan forgiveness to defer payroll taxes. 

Read more at CNBC

CBO and ISM Forecasts: COVID-19 to Require Long Economic Recovery

The Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan legislative agency, said the sharp contraction triggered by the coronavirus caused it to mark down its 2020-30 forecast for U.S. economic output by a cumulative $7.9 trillion, or 3% of gross domestic product, relative to its January projections. GDP isn’t expected to catch up to the previously forecast level until the fourth quarter of 2029, the CBO added.

Meanwhile the U.S. Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index for May rose to 43.1 from an 11-year low of 41.5 in April. The index’s core components all remained well below the 50 level that marks the threshold between contraction and expansion. A majority of survey respondents said both production and new orders worsened in May from April, and two-fifths reported lower employment levels.

Read more in the WSJ

Business Immigration in the Era of COVID-19 – Presidential Proclamations, Travel Restrictions, Resumption of Premium Processing and the Reopening of USCIS

Joanna Silver of Council friend and Associate Member Bond Schoeneck & King writes “As we reported in our recent information memo, COVID-19 has created an evolving immigration environment. The related federal agencies and the White House have responded with a number of temporary policy and procedural changes to help minimize the spread of the virus in the U.S. and to help employers comply with various laws during this extremely challenging time. It remains essential for employers to maintain immigration compliance during the COVID-19 emergency and to take the steps necessary to maintain the nonimmigrant status and work authorization of their foreign national employees. In addition, now that businesses and organizations are beginning to reopen pursuant to government guidelines, employers are advised to keep abreast of the latest legal developments and various obligations they may have over the next few months as we slowly return to our workplaces.”

Read the full article at BSK

OSHA’s Publication Page Has Many Useful Compliance and Policy Documents – Newest Item is Guidance on Stockroom and Warehouse Workers Safe

By way of a reminder… OSHA has a single location on their website for publication and guidance.  The page is searchable and easy to navigate. The latest document focuses on keeping loading dock workers safe during the pandemic.

Visit the page

Fewer SKUs Can Improve CPG Supply Chain Efficiency

Several major consumer packaged goods producers, including Mondelez, Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola, decided to reduce SKU counts to focus on high-demand items, which may have long-term implications, according to P&G chief operating officer and chief financial officer Jon Moeller. “There’s potential for this to result in a cutting of the long tail of inefficient SKUs and brands in our categories,” Moeller said.

Read the full story at Supply Chain Dive 

NYS DOL Shared Work Program Offers Some Workforce Flexibility 

With child care and other issues creating challenges to employees and employers alike now is a good time to revisit the New York State Department of Labor’s Shared Work program.  This program is designed to help employers manage business cycles and seasonal adjustments while helping to spare their workers the hardships of full unemployment. The program allows employers to keep trained employees and avoid layoffs by allowing staff members to receive partial Unemployment Insurance benefits while working reduced hours. The Shared Work Program helps keep trained, productive employees on the job during temporary business downturns, meaning New York businesses can gear up quickly when conditions improve, and New York workers get to stay on the job. Full-time, part-time and seasonal employees are eligible. 

Learn more 


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