Category: Energy & Sustainability

Daily Briefing – 258

Post: Mar. 8, 2021

COVID Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Sunday March 7th.  

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,830
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 490

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,070
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 396

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.19%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.27%

Useful Websites:

Cuomo Signs Bill “Limiting” Emergency Powers

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed off on a bill that limits his emergency pandemic powers Monday morning.

This process means Governor Cuomo can no longer sign new mandates on his own, like when he reduced capacity in restaurants, without approval from the state legislature. But there is a caveat. The governor is able to extend already existing directives like the mask mandate. Those powers will expire automatically once the state of emergency expires in April, or sooner if the legislature chooses to do so.


NYS Vaccine Update – 10  Additional Mass Sites to Open

Governor Cuomo announced yesterday that 10 Additional State-Run Mass Vaccination Sites are to open in the coming weeks including 2 in the Hudson Valley at SUNY Orange in Middletown and the Ulster County Fairgrounds in New Paltz. 

As of 11 am Monday, New York’s health care distribution sites have received 4,227,090 first doses and administered 89 percent or 3,746,905 first dose vaccinations. In total the state has administered and 86 percent of first and second doses (5,640,706) of the 6,541,110 received. In the Mid-Hudson Region a cumulative total of 626,065 first and second doses have been distributed, 519,605 administered (83 percent). 

US Vaccination Rollout – NPR Tracker Shows How Efficiently States are Using their Vaccine Allocation

Since vaccine distribution began in the U.S. on Dec. 14, more than 90 million doses have been administered, reaching 17.7% of the total U.S. population, according to federal data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S. is currently administering over 2.2 million shots a day.

Getting millions of people vaccinated, in order of priority, is a big logistical challenge for states. As a result, there’s often a delay between when states receive their federal shipments of vaccines and when they get all the shots into people’s arms.  The CDC says its data may reflect a reporting lag of up to five days.

Visit the NPR Vaccine Tracker

WMC Health Interactive Directory Helps Hudson Valley Residents Find COVID-19 Vaccination.

The directory allows the user to search an interactive map by location type, such as pharmacy or health clinic, location name and county. Clicking on a location serves up detailed information about that location, who might be eligible to receive a vaccine at that location, and how to register for an appointment. The directory does not represent the actual inventory of vaccine at each location, only that a location has received a recent distribution, or a distribution sometime in the past.  Each location controls its own schedule and makes its own appointments. This directory covers the geography of the Hudson Valley HUB.  

Visit the directory

House Poised To Pass $1.9 Trillion Relief Bill On Today

House Democrats are expected to pass the final version of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package on Tuesday.  The Senate voted 50-49 to approve the plan on Saturday, with all Democrats voting in support of the measure — and all Republicans opposed — following a marathon debate of more than 24 hours. In a statement on Saturday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he expects the president to be able to sign the legislation early this week.

The colossal package would bring a new round of payments to Americans still battling against the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and it includes an increase to the child tax credit and an extension of supplemental unemployment benefits through Sept. 6. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said “Democrats decided their top priority wasn’t pandemic relief, it was their Washington wish list. It was jamming through unrelated policy changes they couldn’t pass honestly. A colossal missed opportunity for our nation.”

Read more at NPR

CDC Says Fully Vaccinated People Can Gather in Small Groups Without Masks

The CDC said Monday that fully vaccinated people should continue to take precautions in most circumstances to prevent the spread of the virus that causes Covid-19. People who are fully immunized should continue to wear masks and keep their distance from others in public or while visiting unvaccinated people at higher risk for severe cases of Covid-19, the CDC said.

It is possible that vaccinated people could still get infected by the virus and transmit it to others who are at risk for severe disease, public-health experts say. But early research suggests that in addition to protecting against severe cases of Covid-19 that could lead to hospitalization or death, authorized vaccines likely also make people less vulnerable to infection and potentially less likely to spread the virus, the CDC said.

Read more at the WSJ

Brent Crude Hovers Just Under $70 After Saudi Oil Facilities Attacked

The price of Brent crude rose above $70 a barrel for the first time in 14 months after Saudi Arabia said its oil facilities had been attacked. On Sunday Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who also bombed military targets, fired 14 drones and eight missiles. Saudi’s energy ministry, which reported no casualties or loss of property, lambasted the attacks on global energy security.

“Possible damage at Ras Tanura in particular is generating concern on the oil market, as this is home to Saudi Arabia’s biggest oil storage facility and oil export terminal,” said Eugen Weinberg, head of commodity research at Commerzbank, in a note to clients.

Read more at MarketWatch

Yellen Expects U.S. Economy to Return to Full Employment in 2022

In an interview on MSNBC U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday that President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package will provide enough resources to fuel a “very strong” U.S. economic recovery, but will not address longstanding inequality problems.  Ms. Yellen reiterated that she doesn’t expect the spending to cause the economy to overheat, resulting in high inflation and interest rates.

“I’m anticipating, if all goes well, that our economy will be back to full employment, where we were before the pandemic, next year.” The Secretary said.

Read more at Reuters

NAM Manufacturing Economy Report- Jobs, Productivity, Output All Improving

Manufacturing employment increased by 21,000 in February, rising for the ninth time in the past 10 months. Overall, the manufacturing sector remains a bright spot in the U.S. economy, with expanding demand and production and hiring moving in the right direction. With that said, manufacturing employment has fallen by 561,000 workers over the past 12 months. 

Manufacturing labor productivity rose 5.0% at the annual rate in the fourth quarter with strong rebounds in output, both for durable and nondurable goods, according to revised data.

Monday Economic Report 0308 2021

Scream, Not Swab: Dutch Inventor Hopes He Discovered a New Test For COVID

A Dutch entrepreneur named Peter van Wees has come up with a novel idea for COVID testing. In lieu of nasal (or the other end, if you’re visiting China) swabs, van Wees has created an airlocked cabin in which you’re supposed to stand and scream. An industrial air purifier then collects your screamed particles, which are checked for the coronavirus. Getting tested and getting to vent after a year of this pandemic? Genius

Read more at Reuters

How to Fix the COVID-Damaged Pipeline for Women in Leadership

In the United States alone, a National Women’s Law Center analysis found that at least 5 million women have lost their jobs since the onset of COVID-19, putting female participation at its lowest rate since 1988. Already enormous in scale, the losses continue to add up. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported some 275,000 women left the country’s labor market in January, compared to just 71,000 men. 

Broadly speaking, it’s the men and women in leadership ranks who can initiate the most significant organizational changes. But even women at that level have been hit hard by the pandemic. New research from the IBM Institute for Business Value shows that fewer women today hold high-level executive and managerial roles than at the end of 2019. During that same period, the pipeline of women in senior manager and senior vice president roles both shrank by five percentage points, from 25% and 18% respectively in 2019, to 20% and 13% today

Read more at Fortune


Daily Briefing – 245

Post: Feb. 17, 2021

COVID Update – More UK Variant Detected

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Tuesday February 16th. Twelve additional cases of the UK variant were identified in New York State. Eleven were in New York City and one is in Broome County. To date, there are 82 known cases of the UK variant in New York State.

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 6,574
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 691

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,254
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 416

Other Data

  • Statewide Transmission Rate (R0):  .82
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.66%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.43

Useful Websites:

NYS Vaccine Update – 75% of Hospital Workers Vaccinated Statewide

As of 11AM Tuesday, New York’s health care distribution sites have received 2,192,675 first doses and already administered 92  percent or 2,024,22, first dose vaccinations. In total the state has administered  and 87 percent of first and second doses (2,924,528) of the 3,371,025 received. In the Mid-Hudson Region a cumulative total of 316,155 FIRST and SECOND doses have been distributed, 256,032 have been administered (81%).

According to statistics on the state vaccine tracker 75% of hospital workers have been

US Vaccination Rollout – US Ups Supply

The White House on Tuesday said that states collectively would begin receiving 13.5 million doses each week — a jump of more than two million doses due in part to a shift in the way the government is allocating doses of Pfizer’s vaccine.

On Tuesday evening, President Biden said that every American who wanted a Covid-19 vaccination would be able to get one by the end of July, offering a more encouraging forecast than he delivered a week earlier when he warned that logistical and distribution hurdles would delay vaccinations beyond the end of the summer. He then qualified the remark slightly, saying that the doses would “be available” by then. But he also said he did not expect it to take months to get the shots into people’s arms.

Read more at the New York Times

Impeachment Trial Over, Democrats Focus on Passing Covid Relief Bill

Democrats are moving to pass another coronavirus relief package within weeks.  Both Democratic-held chambers of Congress and President Joe Biden will now turn their full attention to pushing a $1.9 trillion aid bill through before key unemployment programs expire on March 14.

House panels have advanced major parts of the bill, which the Budget Committee is set to combine into one mammoth proposal in the coming days. Congress has to go through a more drawn-out process than usual to approve the plan under budget reconciliation, a tool that will enable Democrats to pass it with no Republican votes in the Senate.  

Read more at CNBC

American-Made PPE for All Is Within Reach

Since the onset of the pandemic, many manufacturers have stepped up and pivoted to increase face mask production domestically. But increasing mask production is only one component of domesticating the supply chain for PPE. What is much more complicated, yet just as crucial, is locally sourcing the filtration material that goes inside a mask to trap harmful particles. In both N95 respirators and surgical masks, this filtration material is called “meltblown,” because it is made by melting polypropylene and blowing it onto a conveyer belt to create a nonwoven fabric. There are only a few companies in the U.S. and the world capable of manufacturing meltblown.

The U.S. Department of Defense, to its immense credit, recognizes the essential role meltblown plays in the domestic production of face masks, and last year, it granted $16 million to U.S. manufacturers. This funding went a long way toward investing in the equipment and supplies needed to ramp up production – but more can and must be done.

Read more at IndustryWeek

NY Fed Survey: Area Manufacturers Report More Unfilled Jobs, Little Impact From Minimum Wage Increases 

In the supplemental questions for the New York Federal Reserve’s Empire Manufacturing Report, businesses were asked how many employees they had and how many job openings they had at the time of the survey: the median figure for job openings as a share of the workforce was 2.9 percent among manufacturers—almost double the proportion from last February’s survey.

Respondents in those parts of our region seeing a minimum hike were asked how much of an effect, if any, the recent increase in the state’s minimum wage had on their decisions about compensation and employment. (A parallel question was asked in our February surveys in both 2020 and 2019, following earlier phases of the minimum wage hike.) Among manufacturers, 44 percent indicated no effect (up from 41 percent), while 10 percent noted a significant effect (down from 18 percent).

Read the survey report

… Also Widespread Supply Disruptions

In the same NY Fed survey participants were also asked a series of questions about supply disruptions and delays and how these might be affecting their business. Three-quarters of manufacturers indicated that they have encountered at least some disruptions so far this year. A little less than a third of those businesses with supply issues, in turn, characterized them as substantial. Of those businesses experiencing supply disruptions, the most commonly cited source was domestic suppliers either  having limited supplies or being shut down, followed by trucking delays. Issues with foreign suppliers and shipping delays at the ports were also fairly widely cited by manufacturing firms. When asked about the extent to which recent supply disruptions were affecting their bottom line, 40 percent of manufacturers indicated moderate to substantial effects. 

Read about supply disruptions at the NY Fed

U.S. Oil Output Slumps by Record One-Third as Texas Freezes

Total U.S. oil production has plunged by one-third — the most ever — as an unprecedented cold blast freezes well operations across the central U.S., according to traders and industry executives with direct knowledge of the operations.

Crude output has now fallen by about 3.5 million barrels a day or more nationwide, they said, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Before the cold snap, the U.S. was pumping about 11 million barrels a day, according to last government data. Production in the Texas’s Permian Basin alone — America’s biggest oil field — has plummeted by as much as 65%.

Read more at Bloomberg

 Meanwhile – Oil Prices Settle Near Their 13-Month Highs

Oil prices settled near 13-month highs on Tuesday, supported by a deep freeze in the U.S. South that shut wells and oil refineries in Texas. Prices have been buoyant for months, with major oil producing countries restricting supply and vaccines rolling out to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled up 1% to $60.05, after touching their highest since early January 2020. Brent settled up 5 cents, or 0.1%, to $63.35 a barrel, near the 13-month peak reached the previous session.

Read more at Reuters

U.S. Retail Sales Rose Strongly on Stimulus in January

Retail sales, a measure of purchases at stores, at restaurants and online, rose by a seasonally adjusted 5.3% in January from a month earlier, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The increase followed three months of decline during the holiday season. It was the strongest gain since last June, when the economy was in the process of reopening from pandemic-related closures.

Consumer spending is the main driver of the U.S. economy, accounting for more than two-thirds of economic output. Spending rose across the board, including in categories hit hard by social distancing and pandemic-related restrictions, such as bars and restaurants.

Read more at the WSJ

Fed Minutes Highlight Willingness to Steer Past Coming Inflation

Federal Reserve officials last month debated how to lay the groundwork for the public to accept coming higher inflation, and also the need to “stay vigilant” for signs of stress in buoyant asset markets, according to minutes of the U.S. central bank’s Jan. 26-27 policy meeting. With a jump in some prices expected this spring, “many participants stressed the importance of distinguishing between such one-time changes in relative prices and changes in the underlying trend for inflation,” according to the minutes, which were released on Wednesday.

In the drive to explain the difference to the public, “participants emphasized that it was important to abstract from temporary factors affecting inflation – such as low past levels of prices dropping out of measures” and more persistent price trends, the minutes showed. Others were concerned about the potential for stress to bubble up in the financial system.

Read more at Reuters

Bond Prices Rally in the US and Around the World

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose above 1.33% in overnight trading, hitting the highest level since February 2020. While that move has eased somewhat in European trading, volatility markets are signaling that U.S. bonds could be in for more wild gyrations in the coming months. There are plenty of reasons for the move, as investors try to price in the impact of a still-to-be-completed stimulus bill, and the reopening of the U.S. economy. Rising yields are not a uniquely American phenomenon, with the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index having its worst start to a year since 2013

Italy attracted more than €110bn ($133bn) in orders for the sale of a ten-year government bond. The offering is the first since Mario Draghi became prime minister, raising investors’ hopes that the former boss of the European Central Bank can fix Italy’s COVID-stricken economy.


New York State Sues Amazon Over Worker Treatment During Covid-19 Pandemic

New York’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against Inc. that accuses the online retailer of not doing enough to protect workers in the state from the coronavirus. Last week, Amazon sued New York’s attorney general to prevent the state from taking legal action against the company over its handling of worker safety during the pandemic and the firing of one of its warehouse workers last year.

In its complaint last week, Amazon argued that New York lacked the legal authority to regulate the company’s warehouse activities, saying that those operations are governed by federal law and regulators such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a federal agency that oversees workplace safety. Amazon said Ms. James had threatened to sue the company if it didn’t agree to demands that included reducing its production and performance requirements and paying “large sums” to Mr. Smalls.

Read more at the WSJ


Daily Briefing – 169

Post: Oct. 13, 2020

Three States Added to Restricted List

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Ohio, Michigan and Virginia have been added to New York State’s COVID-19 travel advisory. No areas have been removed. The advisory requires individuals who have traveled to New York from areas with significant community spread to quarantine for 14 days. The quarantine applies to any person arriving from an area with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or an area with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

New York State Cluster Update and Other COVID-19 Numbers

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Sunday, October 12th.  Within the “Red Zone” focus areas, 4,138 test results were reported yesterday, yielding 171 positives or a 4.13 percent positivity rate. In the remainder of the state, not counting these “Red Zone” focus areas, 94,932 test results were reported, yielding 1,222 positives or a 1.2 percent positivity rate.Tracking data for the hotspots as compared to the rest of the State is below.
Summary of positivity rates:
  • 20 hotspot zip codes: 4.13%
  • Orange 10950: 14.38%
  • Statewide: 1.4%
  • Statewide excluding hotspots: 1.2%
Here are some useful links

Manufacturing Economy Report: Manufacturing Job Openings Labor Force and More

Manufacturing job openings in August reached 460,000, up from 430,000 in July and the best reading since July 2019 (477,000). With that said, nonfarm business job openings declined from 6,697,000 in July to 6,493,000 in August, with fewer postings in construction, financial activities, health care, information and retail trade.

Overall, 13,550,000 Americans were unemployed in August, down significantly from 23,078,000 in April but up sharply from 5,787,000 in February. That translates into 2.1 unemployed workers for every one job opening in August, down from 4.6 in April but up from 0.8 in February.

Monday Economic Report 2020-1013

McConnell: Senate to Vote on New Funding for Small Businesses Next Week

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said the Senate would vote on a narrow coronavirus relief bill next week, setting up a potential showdown with Democrats who have pushed for an agreement on a broader aid package.

Mr. McConnell said in a statement that the legislation would include new funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, a $670 billion federal initiative that provides forgivable government-backed loans to small businesses grappling with the economic fallout of the pandemic. Authorization for PPP expired in August with roughly $130 billion of the funds left over.

Read more at the WSJ

US Machine Tool Orders Fell Again in August

U.S. machine shops and other manufactures booked new orders worth $297.7 million during August, -11.5% less than during July and -21.7% less than during August 2019. These orders bring the 2020 year-to-date (January to August) to $2.3 billion, which is -24.3% less than the eight-month total for 2019.

The data is provided by AMT – the Assn. of Manufacturing Technology in its latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report. The monthly report is a forward-looking index to manufacturing activity, tracking manufacturers capital investments in anticipation of future work orders.

Read more at American Machinist

Chinese Imports from U.S. Soar 24.8 Percent in September While Medical Equipment and Work-From-Home Gear Fuel Export Growth

China’s exports topped market expectations for a sixth straight month, rising 9.9% from a year earlier in September—the quickest pace in more than a year—as China continued to benefit from coronavirus-fueled demand for medical equipment and work-from-home electronic products. The strong trade figures point to a robust recovery that most economists expect will show China regaining its pre-coronavirus growth trajectory of between 5% and 6% when it reports third-quarter gross domestic product figures on Monday.

China’s purchases from its top three trading partners accelerated rapidly last month, with imports from the U.S. rebounding by the largest margin. China’s imports from the U.S. soared 24.8% in September from a year earlier, accelerating from a 1.8% increase in August.

Read more in the WSJ

NY Fed Report: How Have Households Used Their Stimulus Payments and How Would They Spend the Next?

The authors of the report from NY Fed economists finds that as of the end of June 2020, a relatively small share of stimulus payments—29 percent—was used for consumption, with 36 percent saved and 35 percent used to pay down debt. Reported expected uses for a potential second stimulus payment suggest an even smaller MPC, with households expecting to use more of the funds to pay down their debts. We find similarly small estimated average consumption out of unemployment insurance (UI) payments, but with somewhat larger shares of these funds used to pay down debt.

Read the report at the NY Fed

Inhaled Vaccines Aim to Fight Coronavirus at Its Point of Attack

The Covid-19 vaccines closest to the finish line are designed to be injected into the arm. Researchers are looking at whether they can get better protection from inoculations that fight the virus at its point of attack — the nose and mouth.

Most vaccines in human testing require two shots for effectiveness, and developers still aren’t even sure if they’ll prevent infections. Scientists are hoping to generate superior immune responses with inhaled vaccines that directly target the airway cells the virus invades.

Read more in Bloomberg

Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine Study Paused Due to Unexplained Illness in Participant

The study of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine has been paused due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.

J&J emphasized that so-called adverse events — illnesses, accidents, and other bad medical outcomes — are an expected part of a clinical study, and also emphasized the difference between a study pause and a clinical hold, which is a formal regulatory action that can last much longer. The vaccine study is not currently under a clinical hold. J&J said that while it normally communicates clinical holds to the public, it does not usually inform the public of study pauses.

Read more at STAT

Delta Posts Massive Loss, Warns Recovery Could Take 2 Years or More

Kicking off third-quarter reporting for the beleaguered airline sector, Delta said its net loss was $5.4 billion in the third quarter, compared with a profit of $1.5 billion in the year-earlier period. Including its second-quarter results, Delta has lost more than $11 billion during the pandemic so far. CEO Ed Bastian told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that the airline has seen “real encouraging signs of improvement,” including interest in Thanksgiving and Christmas travel.

Here’s how Delta performed compared with what Wall Street expected, based on average estimates compiled by Refinitiv:

  • Adjusted EPS: a loss of $3.30 versus an expected loss of $3
  • Revenue: $3.06 billion versus $3.11 billion, expected
  • More airlines are competing for price-sensitive leisure travelers

Read more at CNBC


Daily Briefing – 160

Post: Sep. 30, 2020

State Continues to Track “Hot Spots” 

The Governor issued a press release yesterday providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Tuesday, September 29th. New York State continues to track clusters with a particular focus on the top 20 ZIP codes in which there have been hotspots. Within the 20 hotspot ZIP codes, the average rate of positive tests is 5.5 percent. The rate of positive tests for the remainder of New York State, not counting the top 20 ZIP codes, is 0.82 percent. The rate of positive tests for all of New York State, including the top 20 ZIP codes, is 1.02 percent. These 20 ZIP codes contained 23 percent of all positive cases in New York State yesterday, but represent only 6 percent of the state’s population.

DiNapoli: Job Losses Are Concentrated in Lower-Paid Sectors

Six months into the COVID-19 recession, New Yorkers working in lower-paid sectors continue to suffer a disproportionate share of job losses statewide and especially in New York City.

Among the nearly 1.3 million net jobs the State lost from March through August, more than 320,000 were in accommodation and food services. These losses represented 41 percent of jobs in the industry before the recession hit, and one in every four jobs lost in all sectors statewide. Workers in this industry are disproportionately likely to be Black or Hispanic, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. As shown in the chart below, the average annual wage in 2019 for these hotel, restaurant and other jobs was $30,689, less than half the overall average for the State of $75,367. Retail trade, another sector with comparatively low wages, lost 93,000 jobs, one in every 10 of its previous total.

Read more 

Democrats Will Vote on $2.2 Trillion Stimulus, Talks with Mnuchin Will Continue

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that House Democrats will press ahead with a vote Wednesday night on their own $2.2 trillion stimulus proposal, a sign that a bipartisan deal still has yet to be struck to deliver further pandemic relief.

Pelosi made the announcement after a 90-minute meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. She said in a statement that talks between the two negotiators will continue. “Today, Secretary Mnuchin and I had an extensive conversation and we found areas where we are seeking further clarification. Our conversations will continue,” the California Democrat said.

Read more at CNN

Consumer Confidence in U.S. Posts Biggest Gain in 17 Years

Consumer confidence rebounded in September by the most in more than 17 years as Americans grew more upbeat about the outlook for the economy and job market, though sentiment remained below pre-pandemic levels. The Conference Board’s index increased 15.5 points, the most since April 2003, to 101.8 from August’s upwardly revised 86.3, according to a report issued Tuesday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a reading of 90 in September, and the figure exceeded all estimates.

The group’s gauge of current conditions rose 12.7 points to 98.5, while a measure of the short-term outlook jumped 17.4 points to a three-month high. The gain in the expectations index was the largest since 2009. The S&P 500 turned positive after the report.

Read more at Bloomberg (subscription) 

Shuttles and Carpooling for Manufacturing Employees During a Pandemic

Jackson Lewis Attorneys write that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided resources with tips and recommendations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 when carpooling or ridesharing to and from work. These can be especially useful to manufacturing employees, who often cannot work from home or remotely and use shuttles or carpool, to better minimize the inherent risks of close-contact travel during or to and from work.

The safest option is to avoid carpooling to and from work. However, when that is not possible, the CDC tips provide useful guidelines. Additionally, they can be useful when manufacturers and employers require a shuttle to transport employees.

Read the Recommendations from the CDC at Jackson Lewis

FAA Certifies New GE Engine for Service

The GE9X, the fuel-efficient jet engine developed to power the forthcoming Boeing 777X twin-engine wide-body jet, has gained Federal Aviation Administration’s clearance for commercial flights.

The high-bypass turbofan engine was developed by GE Aviation from the earlier GE90 engine, with a larger fan and a higher percentage of lightweight materials (including ceramic-matrix composites), to achieve an estimated 10% greater fuel efficiency than the previous model.

Read more at American Machinist

More Grim News on the Impact of the Coronavirus Crisis on Women’s Careers

Seven months into a pandemic that has turned work and home life upside down, working women are confronting painful choices that threaten to unravel recent advances in gender equity—in pay, the professional ranks and in attaining leadership positions.

Women have already lost a disproportionate number of jobs. That is partly because of a segregated workforce in many fields in which women make up more of the lower-income service and retail jobs that vanished as Covid-19 gripped the economy. While women are 47% of the U.S. labor force, they accounted for 54% of initial coronavirus-related job losses and still make up 49% of them, according to McKinsey & Co.

Read more in the WSJ

COVID-19 Age Distribution

Researchers from the CDC COVID-19 Response Team published analysis of shifts in the age distribution of US COVID-19 cases. The study, published in the CDC’s MMWR, evaluated age data from COVID-19 cases reported in the US between May and August. The analysis included patients who visited the emergency department with COVID-like illness, patients with positive SARS-CoV-2 tests, and confirmed COVID-19 patients as well as test positivity data among the defined age groups. From May to July, COVID-19 incidence increased among all age groups, but the largest increases were observed in individuals under 30 years old.

Read more at the CDC


Daily Briefing – 146

Post: Sep. 10, 2020

Cuomo: Over 9 Million COVID-19 Tests Conducted to Date In New York State

Governor Cuomo yesterday announced over 9 million diagnostic tests for COVID-19 have been conducted to date in New York State, and that the number of positive cases yesterday — 0.98 percent — was below one percent for the 34th day in a row. The Governor also confirmed 757 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 441,911 confirmed cases in New York State.

Read the press release

NAM/ Industry Week Q3 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey

Manufacturers reported a boost in optimism—up from 33.9% in Q2, the lowest reading since the first quarter of 2009. The survey also found significant use of many of the federal liquidity programs the NAM advanced early in this pandemic to support manufacturers. The data shows:

  • 72 percent of manufacturers that faced negative cash flow impacts due to COVID-19 used the Paycheck Protection Program, Main Street Lending Program or other liquidity program.
  • Nearly 92 percent of manufacturers that used federal liquidity programs said those funds were helpful in keeping their business afloat, retaining workforce or meeting other necessary expenses.
  • 66 percent of manufacturers are positive about their company’s outlook, a great improvement from the Q2 results. Still, the outlook remains below the historical average of 74.4%, and,
  • 62% of manufacturers expect their firm’s revenues will not get back to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2021 or later.

See the full survey results

JOLTS Report -US Job Openings Beat Forecasts, Over 400k Mfg Job Openings

US job openings increased by 617,000 to 6.6 million through the month, according to Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, data published Wednesday. The reading beat all estimates from economists surveyed by Bloomberg and marked a third-straight month of improvement. According to the survey, the manufacturing industry saw 408,000 manufacturing job openings in July—an increase of more than 60,000 jobs since the prior month and the best result since February, before widespread COVID-19 restrictions came into effect.

Some of the survey’s data revealed weak points in the labor market’s recovery. The pace of hires sank to 4.1% in July from 5.1%, bringing it barely above pre-pandemic levels as millions of Americans remained jobless. The overall number of hires fell by roughly 1.2 million to 5.8 million.

Read more at Business Insider

Unemployment Claims Held Steady Last Week

The number of people seeking and collecting unemployment benefits has remained at historically high levels in recent weeks, a sign the labor-market recovery is losing steam six months after the pandemic struck the U.S.  Unemployment claims were unchanged at 884,000 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. Claims fell steadily for weeks after hitting a peak of about 7 million in March, but the pace of descent has slowed and claims remain above the prepandemic record of 695,000.

Continuing claims increased to about 13.4 million at the end of August.

Read more at the WSJ

Global Economic Report: Manufacturing Activity Gains Steam Worldwide Even as Challenges Persist

The J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI expanded in August at the fastest pace since November 2018, and the sector continues to bounce back even as challenges persist worldwide due to COVID-19 and the severe worldwide recession. In August, sentiment among the top 10 markets for U.S.-manufactured goods improved in every economy except France. Six markets expanded — the same pace as in July and up from one (China) in May.

Global Manfuactuirng Economic Report 0910 2020

More EEOC COVID-19 Guidance: Testing, Screening, Managers, Confidentiality, and Telework

Jackson Lewis reports that since March of this year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released guidance on a near-monthly basis addressing various FAQs concerning COVID-19 issues. The guidance has focused on disability-related inquiries, confidentiality, hiring, and reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as issues under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). In its latest FAQ update posted yesterday, the EEOC covers some more practical questions employers have on several COVID-19 issues, such as testing, telecommuting, and sharing employee medical information.

Don’t Let New York’s Sick Leave Law Catch You Off Guard

New York State’s recently enacted paid sick leave law requires all private New York employers to provide their employees with paid (or unpaid) sick leave in varying amounts. The law takes effect on September 30, 2020, and employees begin accruing leave on this date, but employers are not obligated to allow employees to use accrued leave until January 1, 2021. Employers must ensure that their paid time off policies incorporate the requirements of this new law and allow employees to take all the sick leave to which they are entitled.  

NYSPHSAA Moves Football, Volleyball, Competitive Cheer Seasons to March

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced on Wednesday that “high-risk” football, volleyball, and competitive cheer fall seasons will be postponed until March 1, 2021. “We’ve spent two days speaking with nearly 500 athletic directors across the state and it’s clear that administering high-risk fall sports during the COVID-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge for our member schools,” said NYSPHSAA executive director Dr. Robert Zayas. 

The football, volleyball, and fall competitive cheer seasons will be referred to as “Fall Sports Season II” in March.

Read more at Spectrum News

Dutchess County Ranked Among Top Ten in Nation for Innovative Technology Use During COVID-19 Response

Dutchess County Government is the number two ranked mid-size county government in the nation for its use of technology in the 2020 Digital Counties Survey conducted by the Center for Digital Government (CDG) and the National Association of Counties (NACo). Dutchess County’s ongoing commitment to use technology to best serve residents was amplified in the efficient and effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring residents had up-to-date information and the County’s workforce could continue serving residents despite the challenges of stay-at-home directives.

The Council of Industry has been proud to work with Dutchess and the other county governments in the region in their COVID response. 

Read the press release here


Daily Briefing – 142

Post: Sep. 3, 2020

Cuomo:  Casinos Can Open at 25% Capacity 

Governor Cuomo announced yesterday that casinos and video lottery facilities across the State, as well as malls in New York City will be allowed to reopen on Wednesday, September 9th. Casinos must have enhanced air filtration systems in place, will be limited to 25% of maximum occupancy, masks will be required, and six feet of social distancing for all machines must be in place. Table games will not be allowed unless physical barriers are installed and approved by the Gaming Commission. No food or beverage service will be permitted on the casino floor. Additional staff will also be required to ensure social distancing and cleaning requirements are maintained. 

Read the casinos press release

27 Straight Days Under 1% Positive Tests

The Governor also issued a press release detailing New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from September 2nd. New York’s rate of positive tests was below one percent for the 27th straight day. Of the 88,981 test results reported to the State, 0.99% (889) were positive.

In response to a spike in cases in Western New York, the State sent a Department of Health testing SWAT team to the region and established eight new testing sites. The SWAT team has performed 6,385 tests and identified 266 positive cases. The State, in partnership with local health departments, is utilizing contact tracing for positive cases.

Read the press release

Factory Orders Climb 6.4% in July in Third Straight Increase

U.S. factory orders rose 6.4% in July for a third straight increase, reflecting a rebound in manufacturing after the economy reopened. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 6.2% gain. New evidence from a closely followed ISM survey of manufacturing executives, what’s more, points to another increase in August. Orders for durable goods made to last at least three years climbed a revised 11.4% last month, up slightly from an initial 11.2% reading. Orders for non-durable goods such as clothing and food products rose a slower 1.8%. Manufacturers have rebounded faster than the much larger service side of the U.S. economy, though sales, production and employment still haven’t returned to pre-crisis levels.

Read more at MarketWatch

U.S. Jobless Claims Fell Last Week

New applications for unemployment benefits fell last week, a possible sign of a slowly improving labor market and the impact of a new measurement method. Weekly initial claims for jobless benefits fell by 130,000 to a seasonally adjusted 881,000 in the week ended Aug. 29, the Labor Department said Thursday. The number of people collecting unemployment benefits through regular state programs, which cover most workers, decreased by 1.24 million to about 13.3 million for the week ended Aug. 22.

The latest data is in line with a general trend of improvement since spring, but also reflects a new methodology to adjust for seasonal factors. Under the new method, updated seasonally adjusted data should be more in line with the unadjusted data, J.P. Morgan economist Daniel Silver said. Unadjusted claims have most weeks been lower than the more widely reported adjusted figure since early March.

Read more in the WSJ

Giroir: $5 rapid Covid-19 Tests Will be Sent to States Starting in Mid-September

This antigen test, called the BinaxNOW Covid-19 Ag Card, uses a nasal swab and requires no instrument to read it. The test costs $5 a piece and Giroir said 48 million a month will be available in the United States. 

The administration, which purchased 150 million of the tests in a $760 million contract, will push the tests out in mid-September. The tests will go to assisted living senior centers and home health staff, but the “overwhelming majority” will be sent to governors to support the opening of schools and daycare centers and to support first responders and people who work in critical jobs. They will also encourage the tests be sent to first responders and people who have been displaced by natural disasters like the wildfires out West and the hurricanes in Louisiana. 

Read more at CNN

DOL Issues Guidance on Teleworking

The US DOL Wage and Hour Division – following the NAM’s recommendations – issued a Field Assistance Bulletin to help clarify manufacturers’ requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act to compensate employees for the hours in which work is performed while teleworking. DOL notes that telework arrangements have increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in many new questions for employers. In the bulletin, DOL reminds employers that they must pay employees for all hours in which work was performed or if they have reason to believe that work was performed, even if the work was not requested.

You can read the bulletin here

DOL Issues Final Rule on Guidance and Establishes Search Portal

In accordance with President Trump’s October 2019 Executive Order 13891, the Department of Labor issued a final rule establishing new requirements for, “issuing, modifying, withdrawing, and using guidance,” as well as a new, searchable portal for all of the Department’s guidance material. The rule represents an effort to prevent guidance from becoming enforceable policy without notice and comment. DOL notes, “unless law permits, guidance documents should not establish new requirements that the agency treats as binding; any such requirements should be issued pursuant to applicable notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act…”

National Academies Offer Plan for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on Sept. 1 released a discussion draft of a preliminary framework to assist policymakers in planning for an equitable allocation of a vaccine against COVID-19. The committee that developed the draft framework was formed in July in response to a request to the National Academy of Medicine from the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The discussion draft includes a summary of lessons learned from past allocation frameworks for mass vaccination campaigns, including for H1N1 influenza in 2009 and during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2013-2016, as well as from recent guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic for the allocation of scarce resources, such as medical resources and supplies.  Drawing from these lessons learned, the committee then defined the foundational principles, primary goal, and criteria for determining an equitable allocation framework. 

Read more and the recommendations at EHS Today


Daily Briefing – 136

Post: Aug. 25, 2020

Restricted Travel List: Five States Removed One Territory Added

Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Maryland and Montana—have been removed from New York State’s COVID-19 travel advisory. Guam has been added. The advisory requires individuals who have traveled to New York from areas with significant community spread to quarantine for 14 days. 

The Governor added that the State has had a rate of positive tests below 1 percent for 18 straight days. Yesterday, 2 deaths were reported from COVID-19, matching the state’s previous low. No deaths were reported in New York City. The governor also updated New Yorkers on the state’s progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are always available at 

State Labor Department Releases Preliminary July 2020 Area Unemployment Rates

The New York State Department of Labor today released preliminary local area unemployment rates for July 2020. From July 2019 to July 2020, the State’s private sector employment count decreased by 1,184,500. The State’s seasonally adjusted private sector job count increased over the month by 244,200, or 3.6%, to 7,116,200 in July 2020.The State’s private sector job count is based on a payroll survey of 18,000 New York employers, which is conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, the State’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 15.6% to 15.9% in July 2020.   

In the Hudson Valley employment count decreased by 94,200 people year on year and the unemployment was 13.6% compared with 3.9 percent in July 2019.

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

SBA Releases Additional PPP Forgiveness Guidance

Council Associate member and friend PKF O’Connor Davies writes that Monday night, August 24, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) released an interim final rule (IFR) entitled Treatment of Owners and Forgiveness of Certain Non-payroll Costs. This IFR contains important guidance on pending questions related to certain Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan expenses eligible for forgiveness.

Read more from PKF O’Connor Davies

$56.14 = The Economic Value of a Face Mask Worn in the United States 

Calculations from Goldman Sachs, a bank, suggest that a 15 percentage-point rise in the share of the population that wears masks would reduce the daily growth of cases by about one percentage point. That obviates the need for lockdown measures that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from gdp. The Economist took those calculations a step further. According to our reckoning, an American wearing a mask for a day is helping prevent a fall in gdp of $56.14. Not bad for something that you can buy for about 50 cents apiece.

Read more in The Economist

German Economy Contracts at Record Pace

The German economy contracted by a record 9.7% in the second quarter as consumer spending, company investments and exports all collapsed at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the statistics office said on Tuesday. The economic slump was much stronger than during the financial crisis more than a decade ago, and it represented the sharpest decline since Germany began to record quarterly GDP calculations in 1970, the office said.

Still, the reading marked a minor upward revision from an earlier estimate for the April-June period of -10.1% that the office had published last month.

Read more at Reuters

Senior U.S., Chinese Officials Say They Are Committed to Phase-One Trade Deal

The United States and China held talks over the implementation of the phase one trade agreement between the two countries. Originally scheduled for August 15th, they had been postponed by President Trump amid rising tension over several issues. The US trade representative said the two sides had discussed greater protection for intellectual property rights and removing Chinese barriers to American agriculture products and financial services.

Read more at the WSJ

5 Ways to Build a Culture of Safety for the Long Term

“Workplace safety” has become a buzz-phrase in 2020, as the pandemic has made safety concerns related to the spread of COVID-19 a top priority for most business leaders. An organizational climate that empowers employees is one key to achieving a culture of safety, writes Chuck Pettinger of Predictive Solutions. “People are often driven by what is quickest, most comfortable, and most convenient,” he writes.

Read the full story at EHS Today

COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool

Here’s a fun site:  This map shows the risk level of attending an event, given the event size and location. The risk level is the estimated chance (0-100%) that at least 1 COVID-19 positive individual will be present at an event in a county, given the size of the event.

The COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool is a collaborative project led by Prof. Joshua Weitz and Prof. Clio Andris at the Georgia Institute of Technology, along with researchers at the Applied Bioinformatics Laboratory and Stanford University.  It is and powered by RStudio.

Visit the map


Daily Briefing – 127

Post: Aug. 12, 2020

New York Conducts Nearly 88,000 Tests Tuesday, an All Time High

Governor Cuomo today announced that 87,776 COVID-19 tests were reported to New York State Tuesday—a new record high for tests in a single day. “We’re continuing to move forward protecting New Yorkers.” Governor Cuomo said. “New York is reaching new heights in its ability to track and trace the virus, and that’s evidenced by the record number of tests—nearly 88,000—that were reported yesterday. As we prepare for the fall, I urge everyone to wear masks, socially distance and wash their hands, and I urge local governments to enforce state guidance on reopening.”

Pelosi, Schumer: “White House Isn’t Budging” No Deal On the Horizon.

The joint statement comes nearly a week after talks between congressional Democrats, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows derailed amid sizable policy and political differences.  Democrats had offered to reduce their $3.4 trillion price tag by $1 trillion if GOP negotiators agreed to increase their roughly $1 trillion package by the same amount, but the offer was rejected.

The two sides are also far apart on issues like unemployment insurance, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) red line of liability protections, and more money for state and local governments, a top priority for Democrats.  It’s unclear what, if anything, could break the stalemate. Most lawmakers have left Washington and aren’t expected to return until September, absent an agreement. 

Read more at The Hill

Half of U.S. Elementary and High School Students Will Study Virtually Only this Fall, Study Shows

The study by Burbio, which aggregates school and community calendars nationwide, found that 52% of students will go to school virtually only and just 25% will attend every day. The remaining 19% will have some form of hybrid schooling, combining online and in-person learning. Four percent of districts remain undecided.

The situation is fluid, with new decisions announced daily and school districts often changing their minds as the virus spreads or comes under control, and as parents, teachers and politicians debate what is safest for kids, teachers and the broader community. But Burbio found a decided trend toward more virtual learning.

Read more at CNBC

Wholesale Prices Rise

Producer prices in the United States surged 0.6% in July, the largest jump in almost two years. Meanwhile, core prices—what you get when you take out food, energy and trade margins—rose 0.3%. That was the third month of an upward trajectory. 

“Even with sharp increases in raw material costs in July, overall costs remain in check for now, especially on a year-over-year basis,” said NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray. “Given the deflationary pressures seen in the economy in the spring months, it should not be a surprise that prices would bounce back strongly at some point.

Read more at Marketwatch

IEA Lowers 2020 Oil Consumption Forecast

The International Energy Agency revised down its forecasts for oil consumption in 2020 and 2021, expecting that global demand will fall due to the pandemic. Much of the reduction is due to the contraction of the aviation industry. The inter-governmental agency predicted demand of 91.9m barrels a day this year, down 8.1m barrels from actual consumption in 2019.

Read more at Reuters

Coronavirus-Hit State Budgets Create a Drag on U.S. Recovery

Spending cuts by state and local governments grappling with the coronavirus pandemic pose a headwind to the U.S. economic recovery as lawmakers consider how much federal aid to provide. State and local governments reduced spending at a 5.6% annual rate in the second quarter as they laid off workers and pulled back on services to offset plunging tax revenues. More cuts are on the way.

Moody’s Analytics estimates that without additional federal aid, state and local budget shortfalls will total roughly $500 billion over the next two fiscal years. That would shave more than 3 percentage points off U.S. gross domestic product and cost more than 4 million jobs.

Read more at the WSJ

The Possible Tax Consequences of PPP Loans

The IRS has stated that expenses paid with proceeds of PPP loans can’t be deducted, because the loans are forgiven without you having taxable COD income. Therefore, the proceeds are, in effect, tax-exempt income. Expenses allocable to tax-exempt income are nondeductible, because deducting the expenses would result in a double tax benefit.  However, the IRS’s position on this issue has been criticized and some members of Congress have argued that the denial of the deduction for these expenses is inconsistent with legislative intent. Congress may pass new legislation directing IRS to allow deductions for expenses paid with PPP loan proceeds.

PPP – Potential Tax Consequences from RBTCPAs

Manufacturing Tech Orders Spike in June

Orders of manufacturing technology rose 56% from May to June, although June orders were down 6% year over year, according to AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology. “Manufacturers of HVAC and commercial refrigeration equipment more than tripled orders for manufacturing technology,” AMT says.

Read the full story in Design World


Daily Briefing – 109

Post: Jul. 17, 2020

NY State Ed Department Releases Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools Reopening Guidance

The New York State Education Department (SED) has released the guidance for reopening Pre-K to Grade 12 schools. The guidelines are intended to provide guidance to local educational agencies (LEAs) as they plan to reopen their schools – whether instruction occurs in person, remotely, or in some combination of the two. Specifically, the document outlines the essential elements that must be included in an LEA’s school reopening plan, as well as recommended best practices.

If any health and safety-related guidance in the SED guidance conflicts with guidance issued by the New York State Department of Health (DOH), the DOH guidance shall apply.

Schools will only reopen if their region is in phase four and if the daily infection rate remains at 5% or lower using a 14-day average. Should a region’s infection rate exceed 9% using 7-day average after August 1st, schools will remain closed.  The State will make a decision regarding the reopening of schools based on these metrics during the week of August 1-7. If the virus spikes between August 1st and school opening date, the State will stop the reopening of schools.

Earlier this week the New York State Department of Health released guidelines for reopening Pre-K to Grade 12 School

The State Ed guidance can be found here

The DOH Guidance is here

More Enforcement: Governor Announces ‘Three Strikes and You’re Closed’ Initiative and New Rules for Restaurants Statewide

Governor Cuomo announced new regulations for bars and restaurants in New York City to ensure they are complying with social distancing and face covering orders. The new regulations for bars and restaurants in New York City are to ensure they are complying with state social distancing and face covering orders. As part of the ‘Three Strikes and You’re Closed’ initiative, any establishment that receives three violations will be closed for business.

The Governor also announced that all restaurants and bars statewide will be subject to new requirements that they may only serve alcohol to people who are ordering and eating food and that all service at bar tops must only be for seated patrons who are socially distanced by six feet or separated by physical barriers. Under current law, only establishments that serve food are permitted to serve alcoholic beverages.

Read the press release

Decision on Phase Four for NYC Today

The Governor also announced that a decision will be made on New York City entering phase four by today, July 17th. If New York City is approved to enter phase four on Monday, the state will not allow any additional indoor activity, such as malls and cultural institutions.

The NYC phase four guidelines have not been released.

Read the statewide phase four guidelines 

Johnson & Johnson Hopes to Begin Late-Stage Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Ahead of Schedule in September

The company is in talks with the National Institutes of Health to move up the timeline for the trial, J&J’s Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Paul Stoffels said during an earnings call with investors Thursday. The company announced earlier in the day that it plans to enter a phase one human trial next week, which will include  more than 1,000 participants.

The company is also planning a phase two study in the Netherlands, Spain and Germany, he said.

Read more at CNBC

DOD’s Commercial Solution Opening Can Help Manufacturers Expand Capacity to Produce Critical Supplies

The Defense Department’s Joint Acquisition Task Force recently released information about the Commercial Solution Opening, a new way for manufacturers to submit proposals to address government needs in the fight against COVID-19. This can help interested companies quickly secure a cost-sharing agreement to expand domestic production capacity for critical medical supplies.

The CSO’s focus areas include masks, fiber and materials, screening and diagnostics, gloves and gowns and pharmaceuticals. $150 million is available for domestic industrial expansion cost-sharing support through the CSO. Proposals will be evaluated on a rolling basis, but if you are interested, you must submit your proposal before Aug. 3, 2020.

Read more about the CSO at the Defense Department website

Liability Update

Meanwhile, Congress is preparing to debate a nationwide approach as soon as next week. During a recent public appearance, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) previewed his effort to craft legislation focused on “liability protection for everyone related to the coronavirus,” that would be retroactive from December 2019 and extend to 2024. Additionally, Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Garret Graves (R-LA) introduced a bipartisan bill to provide liability protections.

The NAM will continue to advocate for liability protections because of its critical importance to manufacturers. If you have questions or concerns please reach out to Patrick Hedren and Erica Klenicki

Read a copy of the bill here

Federal Paid Leave Guidance and FAQs

The Wage and Hour Division issued a Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) for paid leave offered under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act if the summer camp of an employee’s child is closed due to COVID-19. Under the bulletin, WHD stated that summer camp closures shall be treated as if they were school closures and therefore, employees will be entitled to paid leave to care for a child. The NAM has called on DOL to continue updating compliance assistance materials to assist manufacturers in implementation of the law’s requirements.

The IRS also released updated guidance on the tax provisions relating to paid leave wages earned under the FFCRA.

Read the DOL FAB

Visit the DOL FAQs Page 

Visit the IRS updated guidance

NY Fed Survey: Businesses Report Ongoing Worker Recalls despite Pandemic Adjustment Costs

Supplemental questions in the July 2020 Empire State Manufacturing Survey and Business Leaders Survey focused on labor market conditions during the coronavirus pandemic, including employment dynamics through the downturn and recovery, the extent of worker recalls and business shutdowns, and the costs associated with reopening.

Between February (pre-pandemic) and the lowest point of the current downturn employment declined 28 percent in the service sector and 22 percent in the manufacturing sector, when measured across all firms. Among only firms that reduced their workforce, employment fell much more steeply during this period: by 45 percent and 32 percent, respectively. On both measures, the declines were substantially steeper among leisure & hospitality firms.

However, with the reopening of nonessential businesses throughout the region, business conditions have continued to improve, and employment has rebounded somewhat across all industries. While service firms reported that 30 percent of their business operations were shut down one month ago, they now report that only 22 percent are shut down. Likewise, manufacturing firms now report that only 9 percent of their operations are shut down, down from 18 percent one month ago.

Read the supplemental report

U.S. Retail Sales Rose 7.5% in June as Stores Reopened – Unemployment Claims Held Steady

The Commerce Department on Thursday said June retail sales—a measure of purchases at stores, at restaurants and online—increased a seasonally adjusted 7.5% on the month. Retail sales totaled $524.3 billion in June, up from $487.7 billion in May and nearly back to pre-pandemic levels.

A separate reading on the jobs market—new worker claims for unemployment insurance—held nearly steady at a seasonally adjusted 1.3 million for the week ended July 11, the Labor Department said, a sign the rise in Covid-19 infections and related restrictions on businesses is causing the labor market’s healing to stall. Weekly claims have declined from a late March peak of 6.9 million weekly claims, but remain historically high.

New York’s initial jobless claims for the same week were 91,583. That’s down just over two thousand from the week before.

Read more in the WSJ


Daily Briefing – 107

Post: Jul. 14, 2020

Four States Added to the Restricted List

In a press release Governor Cuomo announced that four additional states have met the metrics to qualify for quarantine requirements for travelers entering New York. The newly-added states are Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Yesterday a travel enforcement operation commenced at airports across the state to help ensure travelers are following the state’s quarantine restrictions. As part of the enforcement operation, enforcement teams are stationed at airports statewide to meet arriving aircrafts at gates and greet disembarking passengers to request proof of completion of the State Department of Health traveler form, which is being distributed to passengers by airlines prior to, and upon boarding or disembarking flights to New York State. 

All out-of-state travelers from designated states must complete the form upon entering New York. Travelers who leave the airport without completing the form will be subject to a $2,000 fine and may be brought to a hearing and ordered to complete mandatory quarantine. Travelers coming to New York from designated states through other means of transport, including trains and cars, must fill out the form online. 

Read the press release

Here is a list of restricted states

Here is the online form

NY’s School Fall Reopening Rules: Masks, Temperature Checks, 6-foot Distance, Sports in Doubt

In a set of guidelines, the state answered some of the questions parents and school districts have been asking for weeks. The 23 pages go into detail on cleaning, communication, cubbies and lockers, one-way hallways, lunch, physical education and hand-washing.  The state rules don’t order districts to follow one kind of schedule. It’ll be up to each district to choose from all in-person classes, all-remote classes or a hybrid. But those choices depend, in large part, on what the guidelines allow.

Separate State Education Department guidelines are expected today.

Here is a summary article at

Here are the guidelines

A Growing Consensus: More Skills Wanted

Economists, business leaders and labor experts have warned for years that a coming wave of automation and digital technology would upend the work force, destroying some jobs while altering how and where work is done for nearly everyone. In the past four months, the coronavirus pandemic has transformed some of those predictions into reality.

In the coronavirus economy, companies are adopting more automation, as they seek to cut costs and increase efficiency. There is debate about which jobs are most at risk and how soon. But climbing up the skills ladder is the best way to stay ahead of the automation wave. The rapid change is leading to mounting demands — including from typically opposing groups, like Republicans and Democrats, and business executives and labor leaders — for training programs for millions of workers. On their own, some of the proposals are modest. But combined they could cost tens of billions of dollars, in what would be one of the most ambitious retraining efforts in generations.

Read more at the New York Times (subscription)

IBM, Apple, and Others Along With the White House Launch Campaign to Help Jobless ‘Find Something New’

A new White House-backed ad campaign aims to encourage people who are unemployed or unhappy in their jobs or careers to “find something new.” The Trump administration has long emphasized skills-based job and vocational training as an alternative to two- or four-year college degree programs, arguing that college isn’t for everyone and that many jobs don’t require a degree.
But the long-in-the-works effort has taken on a new sense of urgency after the coronavirus outbreak cost millions of people their jobs, many of which may be lost forever.

The companion website offers links to education and training options, including online and virtual learning.

Read the article at AP

Visit the companion site

Watch the 30 second ad

Visit the Council of Industry job board 

Collaborative Recruiting Info Session Part 1: Learn about our Collaborative Recruiting Initiative – Who, What, When, Where?

Thursday, July 16, 2020,  8:30 – 9:15

  • Features & Benefits
  • Job Aggregator – How jobs get pushed out to top job boards including google jobs, zip recruiter, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Searchable Resumes
  • Applicant Tracking Dashboard and Communication
  • CI Admin and HR Support
  • Costs and Available Discounts
  • Q&A

To register click here

Collaborative Recruiting Info Session Part 2: iCims Demo – How: Best Practices, Resources, Support 

Thursday, July 16, 2020,  9:15 – 10:30

  • Create job requisition
  • Upload candidate resume
  • Advance, reject and email candidates
  • Search talent pools
  • Resources library: templates, forms, applications, tracking, reports
  • QR code and kiosk resume upload
  • Additional features and options: College board postings, online job fair features
  • Cost, discounts and free trial
  • Q&A

To register click here

The NAM Calls For COVID-19 Tax Relief for Manufacturers

The NAM is calling on Congress to allow manufacturers to immediately access general business tax credits as part of the next COVID-19 relief package. They are building grassroots pressure on policymakers to ensure that manufacturing businesses can benefit from this provision.  NAM is encouraging manufacturers to contact their elected officials now and ask them to include GBTCs in the next relief package.

Use this too to contact your Representatives

New TSA Protocols Seek to Ensure Health and Safety

Jackson Lewis Reports that under the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) new “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” Campaign, screening procedures are being changed to allow for more social distancing and to limit physical contact while still maintaining needed security procedures during the summer travel season.

Changes to expect at airports nationwide include the following:

  • Social distancing (six feet) among travelers in lines and among TSA officers
  • ID verification without physical contact between the traveler and the TSA officer (g., asked to hold up ID or place it on the screening device)
  • Plastic shielding in various locations
  • Increased cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces including bins and screening equipment
  • TSA officers will be wearing masks and gloves and, perhaps, face shields
  • At the traveler’s request, TSA officers will use a new pair of gloves for a pat-down
  • Travelers can bring up to 12 ounces per passenger of hand sanitizer in carry-on bags, but the sanitizer must be removed from the carry-on for screening
  • TSA recommends that travelers allow additional time to get through screening.

Read more at Jackson Lewis


Daily Update – 98

Post: Jun. 30, 2020

Cuomo: Eight States Added to Incoming Travel Advisory

California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee have been added to New York’s travel advisory requiring a 14-day quarantine for incoming travelers.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that eight 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 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% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

“As an increasing number of states around the country fight significant community spread, New York is taking action to maintain the precarious safety of its phased, data-driven reopening,” Governor Cuomo said. “We’ve set metrics for community spread just as we’ve set metrics for everything the state does to fight COVID-19.”

Read the press release

See the list of restricted states

Reopening Status and Updated Guidelines for Phase One Industries

The Capital Region is cleared to enter phase four today, July 1st. Phase four industries include higher education, low risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment, media production, and professional sports without fans.  The Mid Hudson should enter phase four July 7th.

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

The State has updated all guidelines for phase one industries and the phase four higher education guidelines. Full phase one guidelines can be found here and higher education guidelines can be found here.

Details of the changes made to manufacturing guidelines can found below. 

Manufacturing Guidance Changes Updated June 30 2020

EU to Remain Closed to U.S. Travelers as Borders Open Up

The EU in mid-March imposed a travel ban on nonessential travel from outside the bloc as the region emerged as a center of the pandemic and many member states closed their borders. Most internal borders were lifted on June 15 and the bloc said it would start opening up to non-EU countries from Wednesday. Americans will remain barred from entering the European Union for nonessential travel even as the bloc starts to open up to as many as 15 countries from Wednesday, the EU said. Tuesday’s decision comes after days of wrangling between the bloc’s member states, which were divided over the economic benefits of opening up ahead of the summer tourist season amid concerns about a second wave of the coronavirus.

Read more at the WSJ

Airbus Will Cut 15,000 Jobs From Its Commercial Airliner Division

Airbus is slashing 15,000 jobs, marking the biggest single reduction in its passenger jet business since the creation of Europe’s flagship aircraft maker 20 years ago. The cuts, forced by the collapse in air travel as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, come as Guillaume Faury, chief executive, warned that he did not expect air traffic to recover to 2019 levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025. The job cuts account for roughly 17 per cent of the group’s 90,000-strong commercial aerospace workforce and have been carefully calibrated to avoid rivalry between unions in France and Germany.

Read more at CNBC

The Next Industrial Evolution – A Shift in US Manufacturing

Dhaval Jadav, Chief Executive Officer at Council of Industry friend and partner alliantgroup, writes that “The ongoing global pandemic has wreaked havoc on our country from both a health and economic perspective. Mixed with undeniable political tension in the U.S. and we are left with a population crying out for answers to help us move toward progress. The good news is that America’s history of success is due in large part to our ability to innovate. We have prospered as a nation due to our willingness to embrace new ideas and adapt to tumultuous times with valid solutions. With COVID-19’s impact still taking a toll, and our reliance on outside parties fully exposed by the pandemic, now is the time to solve for how American ingenuity can offer us a path to progress.

The answer? A dynamic shift in our approach to manufacturing in order to relaunch our economy and create sustainable job growth while lessening our independence on third parties.”

Read more at Industry Today

Will Remote Work be Forever? No, Say These Companies

Companies have tried remote work for over a decade, but many end up bringing employees back into the office, including Best Buy, Aetna, Bank of America, AT&T and Yahoo. “It’s good P.R., and very romantic, and very unrealistic. We’ll be back in the office as soon as there’s a vaccine,” said Richard Laermer, who in the past let employees work remotely at his RLM Public Relations.

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

Sensor Technology Offers Guidance for Social Distancing and Cleaning

As companies contemplate how to safely return workers to manufacturing and office environments, Banner Engineering has developed a series of wireless sensor-based technologies designed to measure everything from when surfaces need cleaning to how many people are in a given space. Company officials said its Safe Work Solutions provide “reliable detection of individuals and clear visual assurance of a safe environment for employees and patrons of businesses and retailers.” Existing solutions include occupancy monitoring, workstation/common area cleaning and sanitization schedule alerts.

Read more at EHS Today

Business Groups Move for COVID-19 Lawsuit Protections 

Ryan Tarinelli of the New York Law Journal writes, “Businesses groups are pressing New York officials to stymie potential coronavirus infection lawsuits from workers and customers, even as reports pile up that companies are not following the reopening plan. Companies statewide are navigating under new coronavirus rules as New York works through a gradual reopening plan, which on last week included New York City opening up a large swath of its economy. The city, once the epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus crisis, estimates the move could bring up to 300,000 people back to the five boroughs for work.”

Read more at the New York Law Journal (Subscription) 

Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York Urging Governor Cuomo to Extend COVID 19 Liability Protections

The group is asking businesses to send a message to the Governor, urging him to extend COVID-19 liability protections to businesses and non-profits. “New Yorkers are eager to return to normalcy and re-open the state. However, businesses and non-profits are fearful of potential COVID-19 related lawsuits.  The business community is asking Governor Cuomo to instate liability protections for the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis to protect businesses who act in good faith as long as they are not grossly negligent.”

Click here to learn more and/or send a message to the Governor

Webinar: Collaborative Recruiting Info Session – Learn More About the Council’s Manufacturing Job Board and Applicant Tracker

Thursday, July 16, 2020, 8:30 am – 10:30 am, No Cost for Members

In 2018, The Council of Industry launched our collaborative recruiting initiative allowing member firms to post jobs and manage candidates at a fraction of the cost of a separate applicant tracking system. We have helped members fill hundreds of jobs and have thousands of resumes on file. We provide HR and administrative support with reports, job descriptions and best practices. Join us to learn more.

This webinar will be broken into two segments the first half will cover the details about the program and why you might consider joining the initiative and the second half is a demo going into further detail about job postings, reports, and candidate communication options.  

To register click here


Daily Update – 93

Post: Jun. 23, 2020

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


Daily Update 84

Post: Jun. 11, 2020

Cuomo On Reopening Dashboard, Roles of Businesses and Employees, Importance of Remaining Diligent 

At his press briefing today  Governor Cuomo demonstrated the new dashboard which displays daily test results for each county. The dashboard shows 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. The State will monitor the daily test results of all regions to ensure each region can continue through the reopening phases.  As each region moves through the reopening phases business owners have a responsibility to provide personal protective equipment and ensure social distancing. Employees have a responsibility to follow the rules and protocols.

Every region of the State is now reopening. The Long Island region is entering phase two today. 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.

The dashboard can be viewed here

Phase two guidance can be found here

Cuomo on Economy and Infrastructure Projects

Speaking at LaGuardia International Airport in Queens, the Governor was joined by Rick Cotton, Executive Director of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the two discussed the opening of the new Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport.

The Governor is fast-tracking the rebuilding of LaGuardia airport. It will be the first major new airport built in the United States since Denver International opened 25 years ago. The project is logistically difficult because the airport needs to remain operational while under construction, not to mention the tiny slip on land upon which it sits. Rick Cotton announced today the rebuild has reached a milestone – opening LaGuardia’s Terminal B Arrivals and Departures Hall. The new Terminal B is 50% bigger than the terminal it replaced. The Governor wants to energize the economy by starting other large scale development projects. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the Port Authority used the time during the crisis to complete capital projects while usage was low. The MTA is accelerating $2 billion in capital projects. 

Read the press release

Fed Makes Revisions to Main Street Loan Program

The Federal Reserve Board has announced revisions to the Main Street Lending Program which complements the SBA’s PPP program. This will make it possible for more small and midsize businesses to receive financial support when the program opens, including lowering the minimum loan from $500,000 to $250,000.

Learn more here

Fed Officials Project No Rate Increases Through 2022

Federal Reserve officials projected no plans to raise interest rates through 2022 and said they were committed to providing more support to the economy following shutdowns to contain the coronavirus. Officials also said they would maintain their recent pace of purchases of Treasury and mortgage securities, effectively ending gradual, weekly reductions.

“Over coming months, the Federal Reserve will increase its holdings” of Treasury and mortgage bonds “at least at the current pace to sustain smooth market functioning,” officials said in their policy statement released after the meeting.

The statement also attributed improved conditions in stock and other financial markets to policy measures officials have taken in recent months to keep credit flowing through the economy.

Read more at the WSJ

OECD Warns of “Long-Lasting Scars” From Virus

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a group of rich countries, warned that the pandemic will leave “long-lasting scars” on the world economy, even if a second wave of infections is avoided. The tourism, hospitality and entertainment industries will be hit particularly hard, affecting low-skilled, young and informal workers. The OECD’s chief economist called for “extraordinary policies” to ensure a sustainable recovery.

Read more at MarketWatch

OSHA Face Coverings Q&A

The U.S. Department of Labor has released a question and answer web page specifically on face coverings and masks in the workplace.

That Q&A can be found here

Phase Three Guidelines Released for Food Services and Personal Care

As regions prepare for Phase 3 of Reopening, New York State has begun sharing guidelines. These guidelines will apply to non-essential businesses in regions that are permitted to reopen, essential businesses throughout the state that were previously permitted to remain open, and commercial and recreational activities that have been permitted to operate statewide with restrictions.

Read the guidelines here

GlobalFoundries Learned from Early Pandemic Experience

Semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries was able to tap into its early pandemic experience with facilities in Europe and Asia to prepare its US plants beginning in January and February. At the factory in Essex Junction, Vt., the daily workforce has been reduced, and employees wear full protective gear after undergoing temperature checks.

Read the full story at Burlington Vermont’s Seven Days

Signs Point to Years Long Employment Recovery

Last week’s jobs report from the Labor Department showed the rate of layoffs falling in April and hiring at an all-time low, and economists warn it might take a decade for the labor market to recover. The quits rate dropped to a nine-year low of 1.4%, a measure of low job market confidence. The labor market was slammed by the closure of nonessential businesses in mid-March to slow the spread of COVID-19. Many establishments reopened in May, with the economy adding a stunning 2.509 million jobs last month after a record 20.7 million plunge in April, government data showed on Friday.

Economists warn it could take even a decade for the labor market to recoup the jobs lost during the COVID-19 recession. 

Read the full story at Reuters




COVID 19 Update 73

Post: May. 28, 2020

The Governor Has Released Executive Order 202.34 Allowing Businesses to Deny Entry or Service to Individuals Not Wearing Face Coverings

Through June 27, 2020, the Order allows any business operator or owner the discretion to enforce a previous directive which requires any individual over age two, and able to medically tolerate a face-covering, be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public place, including the right to deny entry to those not wearing a mask. It also does not prohibit or limit the right of State and local enforcement authorities from imposing fines or other penalties for any violation of the directive.

 The Governor did not make any comments on the question which is on many minds, namely will any region move into Phase 2 Friday? the 29th will mark two weeks from when the first regions entered Phase 1. This does not mean they will not still qualify and begin entering Phase 2 tomorrow, but that has not been confirmed by the Governor. 

Empire State Development (ESD) has released guidelines for the Commercial Building Management industry. ESD is continuing to release guidelines for phase two businesses and we will update you as new information becomes available.

Read the press release

See Phase 2 Guidelines to date

The CDC Releases New Resource with Tools and Strategies for Offices to Reopen

The resource is intended to supplement the regularly updated CDC guidance for businesses and employers. For manufacturing settings, it is vital to continue following the CDC and OSHA’s interim guidance for manufacturing workers and employers

You can find information for cleaning and disinfecting workplaces here, along with printable resources. You can also refer to the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s “New Operational Practices to Consider in the Time of COVID-19” for ways manufacturers are meeting and exceeding NYS, CDC and OSHA guidelines.

We urge Hudson Valley manufacturers to take all CDC-issued guidance seriously and to implement the strategies presented. These strategies represent the best science and thinking around protecting the workforce and the public from COVID-19. It is important for the strength of the manufacturing sector, the renewal of the economy and the return to school for our future workforce that we all maintain workplace and community protective measures. Manufactures have set the example nationwide.  We need to continue to do so – especially as some restrictions are lifted around the country. 

Survey: Manufacturers Face Challenge but Continued Operations

Despite a historic drop in optimism—to 33.9% from last quarter’s 75.6%—and challenging business conditions, the vast majority (98.7%) of manufacturers have continued or only temporarily halted operations according to the Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the second quarter of 2020.

The survey also shows that manufacturers are finding innovative solutions to keep businesses running and to protect workers and communities:

  • Almost 22% are retooling to produce personal protective equipment
  • 67% are reengineering processes to reflect COVID-19 safety protocols
  • 12% are completely reevaluating the mission of the firm

See the survey results

Durable-Goods Orders Plunge Again

The Commerce Department said Thursday that orders for durable goods dropped 17.2% last month after falling 16.6% in March. Excluding orders for transportation equipment, which can be volatile from month to month, durable goods orders fell 7.4%.

New orders for cars, trucks and auto parts shrank 52.8%. 

A category that tracks business investment — orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft — decreased 5.8% after falling 1.1% in March.

Read more from The Associated Press

Employment Discrimination Laws and COVID-19: A Webinar with the EEOC

CI Members are invited to join the NAM Wednesday, June 3rd at 11:00 am EST for a presentation from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on what manufacturers need to know about discrimination laws during the COVID-19 pandemic. Andrew Maunz, Legal Counsel of the EEOC, will discuss what employment policies businesses need to consider as they are navigating the pandemic.

Mr. Maunz will provide an overview of the information the Commission has issued since the COVID-19 pandemic began. There will be a Q and A session at the end of the program.

Register here

Fed: Workers Reluctant to Return to Jobs

Mass unemployment that has accompanied the coronavirus pandemic has been compounded by people who don’t want to come back to work, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in its periodic summary of the national economy. With the unemployment rate through April at a post-World War II record 14.7% and 20.5 million layoffs during the month, workers are reluctant to head back to their jobs for a number of reasons, the central bank noted in its “Beige Book” report.

Business leaders “cited challenges in bringing employees back to work, including workers’ health concerns, limited access to childcare, and generous unemployment insurance benefits,” the report said

Read more at CNBC 

8 Views: Pandemic Gives HR leaders a Different Perspective

HR leaders say the pandemic has sharpened their focus on compassion, collaboration, company values and personal connections.

“This experience is bringing your whole self to work on steroids,” said Christy Lake. “Suddenly, our work, family, school, and social lives are all happening in a single space, and employees are juggling those often conflicting responsibilities. Before, the focus for managers and leaders was on how to create a work environment that felt safe for everyone to be themselves. Now, we’re literally seeing into employees’ homes and lives in a direct, intimate way. This means managers are truly responsible for the whole human, not just the employee.” 

Read more at Forbes 

Webinar: Your Place, Your People, Your Plan

Our Friend and Associate Member HRP Associates are presenting a webinar to share insight from their leading EHS Consultant and a Risk Management and Insurance Broker. As businesses bring back their employees – this webinar will address health and safety best practices and resources, as well as Compliance, Human Resources and Culture issues to consider.

June 4, 2020, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM (EST)

Register Here


COVID 19 Update 65

Post: May. 20, 2020

Seventh Region Ready for Phase One Reopening

The Capital Region has now met the seven public health metrics needed to begin phase one of reopening. The Capital region will able to reopen starting tomorrow, May, 19. The Long Island region has met five of the seven metrics, the Mid-Hudson region has met four of seven, and the New York City region has met three of seven. All other regions are authorized to begin phase one of reopening. 

While the Mid Hudson Region has slipped back – progress has been made in the metrics and there are hopeful signs. 

Read the Press Release

The state’s regional monitoring dashboard is available here.

Powell, Mnuchin Outline Contrasting Perils Facing Economy

The nation’s top two economic policy leaders offered contrasting visions about the economic outlook, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin favoring a wait-and-see approach to more federal aid and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell suggesting more would be needed.

Mr. Mnuchin reflected the Trump administration’s belief that the biggest danger to the economy is waiting too long to restart activity after two months in which millions of Americans have sheltered in their homes to slow the spread of infections. Mr. Powell, meanwhile, challenged the premise that there is a trade-off between economic growth and protecting the public’s health. Fear of coronavirus infection is the economy’s biggest hurdle, he said, and the recovery will be held back until Americans believe it’s safe to resume commercial activities involving person-to-person contact.

Read More at the WSJ (subscription) 

NAM  Webinar: Understanding Product Development, Product Donations and the Responsibilities of the FDA and other Federal Agencies—

Thursday, May 21, at 11 a.m. ET


  • David Rosen, FDA Practice Group Leader, Foley & Lardner
  • Greg Higgins, Senior Counsel, Volvo Group North America
  • Dave Rousse, President, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry
  • Moderator: Robyn Boerstling, Vice President for Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy, NAM
  • Special Guest: Jay Timmons, President & CEO, NAM

Understanding Product Development, Product Donations and the Responsibilities of the FDA and other Federal Agencies—Perspectives from a Manufacturer, a Lawyer and a Trade Association will be the first webinar event in a multipart series.

This webinar will help shed light on the workings of the FDA, a highly specialized agency and other federal agencies such as the EPA and what you need to know if you have supported or are considering support of the COVID-19 response.

Please RSVP now to receive registration details.

Skilled Workers Remain a Critical Issue for Manufacturers 

The American Workforce Policy Advisory Board met for the first time since the previously scheduled meeting in March was canceled. They discussed the ever-increasing importance of access to skills training, especially in the wake of the pandemic. Manufacturers emphasized that to ensure a strong economic recovery, incentives for workforce development and skills training are more important than ever. Programs that focus on earn-and-learn models, or apprenticeships, should be prioritized, as well as partnerships between companies and local educational institutions so that we have the skilled workers ready to operate in new environments and to fill new jobs created by shifts in supply chains. NAM CEO Jay Timmons shared specific policy recommendations from the “American Renewal Action Plan,” which you can find here.

Timmons also appeared on CNBC, where he spoke about the importance of skilled workers, and the continued skills gap, as well as how we spur additional manufacturing growth.

You can watch the segment here.

Testing: Phase One Industry Sector Employees in Manufacturing and Construction are Eligible to Be Tested

As we noted in Monday’s post the Governor over the weekend encouraged all eligible New Yorkers to get tested, saying this is one of the keys to reopening successfully and he took a test during the press conference.  

He expanded the eligibility to all workers returning in phase one including construction and manufacturing workers. He announced a new test finder search tool is now available on the state website. 

Subsequent visits to the eligibility tool have not shown any questions related to phase one worker, however that should change this week. 

Visit the test search site

The Council of Industry Partners with HRP Associates to Assist our Members with Planning and Response to COVID-19 Challenges.

HRP understands that employees at Council member firms that are both currently working, and those who will be returning to work, want to be assured that COVID-19 is being effectively managed in their workplace. HRP offers comprehensive services including planning, training, management, and responding to COVID-19 to help employers address these concerns. 

Click here for more information

Webinar: Direct Energy’s Hudson Valley Energy Market Update

Thursday, May 28, 2020, 8:00 am – 9:00 am, No Cost for Members

Join the Council of Industry and Direct Energy Business for a quick update on New York’s natural gas and electric markets. It’s important information that could keep your firm’s energy strategy ahead of market trends and changes. Following this presentation, take the opportunity to ask our energy professional your questions.

Tim Bigler
Senior Market Strategist, Direct Energy Business
Tim has more than 30 years of experience in the natural gas, electric and oil markets. His current role is Senior Market Strategist on our Natural Gas Operations team, and he is the author of most customer market update materials.

To register click here

COVID 19 Update 63

Post: May. 17, 2020

Governor Cuomo Expands Testing Eligibility To Phase One Employees Returning to Work – Encourages New Yorkers to Visit a New Website to Find a Nearby Testing Site

On Sunday the Governor Announced that Western New York and the Capital Region have met 6 of 7 metrics but are still behind on testing and tracing capacity. The Governor acknowledge this is an administrative function, and that the State will be working with both regions to increase the number of tracers. He indicated that both of these regions should meet all seven of the metrics this week at which point they will enter Phase One of the reopening process.

The Governor also encouraged all eligible New Yorkers to get tested, saying this is one of the keys to reopening successfully and he took a test during the press conference.  He expanded the eligibility to all workers returning in phase one including construction and manufacturing workers. He announced a new test finder search tool is now available on the state website. 

Visit the test search site

Mid Hudson Region Takes a Step Back In Its Reopening Metrics

The 2 metrics reopening metrics that are stubbornly holding the Mid Hudson region back are total hospitalizations and deaths per 100,000 people. In order to reopen a region must have 14 days of declining hospitalizations and have fewer than 2 deaths per 100,000 people.  Over the weekend there was a bump up in both categories which “reset the clock” to 14 days. 

In response to a question from a reporter, the Governor said that the State is considering changing the way reopening metrics are calculated related to the hospitalizations and deaths of patients that came from nursing homes. If this change were made several regions might be eligible to reopen sooner.

Saturday the Governor announced that as certain regions reopen phase one businesses the State is also going to reopen economic activities that can occur without crowds or gatherings. The State will open horse racing tracks and Watkins Glen International racetrack for races, but no spectators will be allowed to view the events live. NASCAR will be allowed to run their planned race at Watkins Glen this August, but without fans. The Governor said the State is considering allowing other sports, such as baseball, to operate without spectators as well.

Read Saturday’s Press Release

Powell Says GDP Could Shrink More Than 30%, But Doesn’t See Another Depression

In an interview aired Sunday Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told “60 Minutes” the U.S. economy could shrink by upwards of 30% in the second quarter but will avoid a Depression-like economic plunge over the longer term. Jobless numbers  look a lot like they did during the 1930s, when the rate peaked out at close to 25%, however, he said the nature of the current distress coupled with the dynamism of the U.S. and the strength of its financial system should pave the way for a significant rebound.

“I think there’s a good chance that there’ll be positive growth in the third quarter. And I think it’s a reasonable expectation that there’ll be growth in the second half of the year,” Powell said. “I would say though we’re not going to get back to where we were quickly. We won’t get back to where we were by the end of the year. That’s unlikely to happen.”

Read more at CNBC

In a Reversal of a Reversal – Mexico Will Open Manufacturing Today

Friday, after Mexico pushed back the planned opening date for a number of manufacturing sectors from May 18 to June 1, the NAM working in concert with senior U.S. and Mexican government officials were able to change that..  Mexico’s Ministry of Health reversed course and a new clarification in Mexico’s Diario Oficial (Federal Gazette) allows newly designated essential sectors—transportation manufacturing (including automotive and aerospace), mining and construction—to restart operations prior to June 1 if health security protocol processes have been established and approved before that date.

Click here for an unofficial English translation of the new, clarified guidance

NYS Comptroller’s April 2020 Monthly Cash Basis Report

NYS Comptroller DiNapoli released the April 2020 Monthly Cash Basis Report which shows significant revenue declines in April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the three-month extension of the state income tax filing deadline. All governmental funds monthly tax receipts totaled $3.7 billion, falling $7.9 billion or 68.4 percent from April 2019.

The April Report showing significant shortfalls in revenue officially allows the State Division of the Budget to propose spending reductions or other options.

Read the Comptroller report

SBA Releases PPP Forgiveness Application Form

The form and instructions include several measures to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers, including:

  • Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles.
  • Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period after receiving their PPP loan.
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the CARES Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness.
  • Borrower-friendly implementation of statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30.
  • Addition of a new exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined.

PPP Forgiveness Application SBA Form 3508

Listen to the Council of Industry’s PPP Forgiveness Webinar Presented by JGS CPAs

Webinar: Returning to Work: Managing Employee Anxieties

Wednesday, May 27th 2020, 1:00pm – 2:30pm

Cost: No charge for members

Skip Weisman is the Hudson Valley’s premier business coach focusing on transforming mediocre, stagnant, or negative work environments into championship company cultures the are more positive, more productive and even more profitable. Skip is the only certified Great Game of Business Open Book Management Coach in New York and he works with manufacturing companies to implement a systematic process of financial transparency that brings employee accountability to the workplace.

To register click here

Ways to Adapt Hiring Practices for Social Distancing

Employers have changed interviewing practices amid social distancing, company leaders say. They say they rely more on references and multiple rounds of screening before deciding which candidates to invite for video or phone interviews.

Read the full story at Inc.

Webinar: Direct Energy’s Hudson Valley Energy Market Update

Thursday, May 28, 2020, 8:00 am – 9:00 am, No Cost for Members

Join the Council of Industry and Direct Energy Business for a quick update on New York’s natural gas and electric markets. It’s important information that could keep your firm’s energy strategy ahead of market trends and changes. Following this presentation, take the opportunity to ask our energy professional your questions.

Tim Bigler
Senior Market Strategist, Direct Energy Business
Tim has more than 30 years of experience in the natural gas, electric and oil markets. His current role is Senior Market Strategist on our Natural Gas Operations team, and he is the author of most customer market update materials.

To register click here


COVID Update 62

Post: May. 16, 2020

NY on PAUSE Extended to May 28 for Regions Not Allowed to Reopen Yesterday.

Five regions have met the public health metrics required to reopen; North Country, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes, and Southern Tier. If any of the regions that have not met the metrics are able to meet all seven, they will immediately be eligible for reopening.

We therefore encourage all manufacturers in the Mid-Hudson Region – whether currently operating as essential or not – to read, understand and put into practice the reopening guidelines which can be linked to from here.

Read the Governor’s press release 

NYS Budget Director Robert Mujica Confirms the NYS Comptroller’s Report

The Report finds that the State is down 14% in revenues and will have a $61 billion budget gap over the next four years. Mujica and Governor Cuomo were noncommittal about when the State will issue budget cuts, but explained the first round could occur this month. The Governor said that he will not immediately implement the 20% cuts he has warned of in the past.

The State’s school districts must adopt budgets by Thursday, but they don’t what kind of funding levels they can ultimately count on.  The Governor has been advocating for Federal funding for state and local governments to fill the budget gap, but it has not yet materialized.

Read more at the Legislative Gazzette

Get the Empire Center’s Take from E.J McMahon here

Empire State Manufacturing Survey: May 2020

Business activity continued to deteriorate significantly in New York State, according to firms responding to the May 2020 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index climbed thirty points, but remained well below zero at -48.5. New orders and shipments continued to decline sharply, though not as steeply as in April. Delivery times were slightly shorter, and inventories were slightly lower. After plunging last month, employment levels and the average workweek fell further in May. Input prices were slightly higher, and selling prices continued to decline modestly. While current conditions remained extremely weak, firms grew more optimistic that conditions would be better six months from now.

Read More at the NY Fed

Coronavirus Lockdowns Trigger Rapid Drop in Retail Sales, Factory Output

U.S. lockdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic prompted record monthly drops in retail spending and industrial output, as consumers pulled back sharply on shopping and eating out and factories suffered a sharp drop in demand.

Read more in the WSJ

Empire State Development Announces More Than 4$M awarded to support Companies Producing vital COVID-19 Supplies

From New Technology Improving N95 Masks, to Ventilators and Vital COVID-19 Testing Supplies, these Products will be Produced in New York State

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced support for eight New York State businesses to produce needed testing supplies and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) related to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than $4 million has been awarded to help these innovative companies retool their business lines and pivot to manufacturing vital supplies for ongoing response and recovery efforts.

ESD Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, “Many of the world’s premier and most innovative companies are in New York State. ESD’s support for these businesses not only answers Governor Cuomo’s call for homegrown industries to assist with the state’s efforts to combat the coronavirus but reflects the investment is being made to ensure that the State continues its record of smart growth as we recover and grow statewide.” 

The first eight awards can be found here 

Coronavirus Seemingly Tamed, Chinese Economy Starts to Recover

But weak sales at stores and a stall in export orders raise fears of a possible second downturn this summer.

BEIJING — China has turned its factories back on after bringing the coronavirus outbreak largely under control within its borders. The question now is who will buy the goods those factories make.

Industrial production surged last month in China more than twice as fast as most economists expected, according to official data released on Friday by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics. But retail sales fell even more sharply than anticipated, while orders for future exports from China have stalled.

The world is watching China’s economic performance closely. It is a couple of months ahead of the rest of the world in coping with the virus and then trying to reopen businesses. Its successes or stumbles could offer lessons to others.

Read more at The New York Times (subscription)

Deeper Dive From The Economist: Has COVID-19 Killed Globalisation?

The flow of people, trade and capital will be slowed

“The underlying anarchy of global governance is being exposed. France and Britain have squabbled over quarantine rules, China is threatening Australia with punitive tariffs for demanding an investigation into the virus’s origins and the White House remains on the warpath about trade. Despite some instances of co-operation during the pandemic, such as the Federal Reserve’s loans to other central banks, America has been reluctant to act as the world’s leader. Chaos and division at home have damaged its prestige. China’s secrecy and bullying have confirmed that it is unwilling—and unfit—to pick up the mantle. Around the world, public opinion is shifting away from globalisation. People have been disturbed to find that their health depends on a brawl to import protective equipment and on the migrant workers who work in care homes and harvest crops.”

Read more at the Economist


COVID 19 Update 61

Post: May. 15, 2020

Cuomo: Central NY Region Meets Guidelines Will Reopen Tomorrow Along with Finger Lakes, North Country and Mohawk Valley

Governor Cuomo announced that the Central New York region has now met the seven necessary metrics to reopen phase one industries tomorrow. As announced earlier this week the Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, North Country, and Finger Lakes regions have also met these metrics. According to the dashboard the Mid-Hudson Region is 10 days away at earliest.

Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa added that NY on PAUSE officially expires at 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 15th, so phase one businesses can be open tomorrow in the 4 regions that have met the metrics. Local governments will manage reopening through the Regional Control Rooms. The Regional Control Rooms will be responsible for monitoring public health data daily and enforcing the compliance of phase one rules.

In response to a question from a reporter the Governor said the question of liability for businesses that choose to reopen should be handled at the federal level, but he advises all business owners to take every precaution.

Read the press release

The State is Partnering with Businesses to Increase Production of Medical Equipment in New York.

In his press conference today Governor Cuomo said the State needs to learn a lesson from the equipment shortfalls that impeded fighting the coronavirus that occurred because most equipment is produced in China. The State is offering grants for businesses to produce equipment. Businesses interested in participating can contact Empire State Development to grow or start a medical supply business.

Worth Republishing from Yesterday’s Blog: Phase One Opening Guidelines Published on NY Forward Site

The Governor’s office has released guidelines and business safety templates for industries that will be allowed to begin reopening in phase one. As of May 15th, select industries in regions of the state that have met seven public health metrics will be allowed to start reopening. Below is a link to a list of industries that will be allowed to open in these regions during phase one, along with their guidelines and business safety templates.

The guidelines apply to both non-essential businesses in regions that are permitted to reopen and essential businesses throughout the state that were previously permitted to remain open.

Business owners must read the “Detailed Guidelines” for their industries and provide their digital signature affirming they have read and understand the document.

(Remember our Mid-Hudson region has NOT met the guidelines needed to reopen)

It is unclear if businesses in regions not reopening will be able to digitally affirm the document yet.

Read the phase one guidelines

Phase One Reopening Guidelines for Manufacturing

Recordings of Yesterday’s PPP Forgiveness Provisions and Tax Credits Webinars are available online.

Our thanks to JGS CPAs for the 2 excellent webinars they delivered for our members yesterday.  The links are below. 

Tax Credits Webinar

PPP Forgiveness Webinar

Weekly jobless claims total 2.981 million, bringing coronavirus tally to 36.5 million

New filings for unemployment claims totaled just shy of 3 million for the most recent reporting period, a number that while still high declined for the sixth straight week, according to Labor Department figures Thursday.

The total 2.981 million new claims for unemployment insurance filed last week brought the coronavirus crisis total to nearly 36.5 million, by far the biggest loss in U.S. history. The count announced last week count was revised up by 7,000 to 3.176 million, putting the weekly decline at 195,000 between the two most recent reports.

Read more at CNBC

Workers Push for Safety Measures as Businesses Reopen

Anxious employees returning to work are lobbying for companies to keep in place safety measures implemented at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Some employees are also advocating for more generous sick leave and better hazard pay.

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

Webinar: Returning to Work: Managing Employee Anxieties

Wednesday, May 27th 2020, 1:00pm – 2:30pm

Cost: No charge for members

Skip Weisman is the Hudson Valley’s premier business coach focusing on transforming mediocre, stagnant, or negative work environments into championship company cultures the are more positive, more productive and even more profitable. Skip is the only certified Great Game of Business Open Book Management Coach in New York and he works with manufacturing companies to implement a systematic process of financial transparency that brings employee accountability to the workplace.

To register click here

Tracing Apps – Should Employers Use Them? 

Several high-profile efforts are underway to deploy smartphone-based coronavirus tracking, including apps used for contact tracing. “Each employer will have to make their own decisions,” says FROM CEO and President Howard Tiersky, whose company has developed such an app, “but our point of view is that this is very limited data to be collecting and that it falls within an employer’s general right to monitor their employees’ work activity.”

Read the full story at Society for Human Resource Management 

Global Economic Report: Manufacturers Around the World Report Unprecedented Declines in Activity

Manufacturers globally continue to face challenges with operational and demand disruptions due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Economies around the world are suffering from an abrupt and severe recession. Activity in the sector has fallen at unprecedented paces in most major markets, with purchasing managers’ indices often at record lows or at the worst readings since the Great Recession.

Global Economic Report 0514 2020


COVID 19 Update 60

Post: May. 13, 2020

Phase One Opening Guidelines Published on NY Forward Site

The Governor’s office has released guidelines and business safety templates for industries that will be allowed to begin reopening in phase one. As of tomorrow, Friday, May 15th, select industries in regions of the state that have met seven public health metrics will be allowed to start reopening. Below is a link to a list of industries that will be allowed to open in these regions during phase one, along with their guidelines and business safety templates.

The guidelines apply to both non-essential businesses in regions that are permitted to reopen and essential businesses throughout the state that were previously permitted to remain open.

Business owners must read the “Detailed Guidelines” for their industries and provide their digital signature affirming they have read and understand the document.

(Remember our Mid-Hudson region has NOT met the guidelines needed to reopen)

It is unclear if businesses in regions not reopening will be able to digitally affirm the document yet.

Read the phase one guidelines

Phase One Reopening Guidelines for Manufacturing

Update From Governor’s Press Conference

The State has continued its initiative to test essential workers for COVID-19 antibodies. New York City frontline workers have shown a lower percent positive when compared to the City’s general population. The New York State Police and Corrections Officers have shown similar results when compared with the State’s general population. The Governor believes that frontline workers have a lower percent positive rate because they are using personal protective equipment (PPE) effectively. Something manufacturers are also capable of doing. 

The Governor also announced that the North Country has now met the seven necessary metrics to reopen phase 1 industries this Friday, May 15th. As announced earlier this week the Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, and Finger Lakes regions have also met these metrics. The Capital Region and Central New York regions have met six of the seven metrics. Our Region – Mid-Hudson – remains at 5 of 7. 

The list of businesses that will be allowed to reopen in regions that have hit their metrics can be found here and the full details of NY Forward can be found here. The State is also posting up to date data in an interactive dashboard to track progress of each region toward meeting the metrics needed to reopen. 

Read the Governor’s Press Release

Fed Chair Says US Economic Recovery ‘May Take Some Time To Gather Momentum’

In a speech at the Peterson Institute for International Economics on Wednesday, Powell said “The loss of thousands of small- and medium-sized businesses across the country would destroy the life’s work and family legacy of many business and community leaders and limit the strength of the recovery when it comes,” 

Powell said the shutdown has triggered an unprecedented economic fallout, and the medium-term outlook for the economy is unclear at the moment given the recovery is dependent on a number of factors, including timelines for a vaccine or coronavirus treatment, the possibility of a second wave of outbreaks and how much of an impact the virus has had on consumer confidence.

“Since the answers are currently unknowable, policies will need to be ready to address a range of possible outcomes,” Powell said.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

Liability Protection Bill in Progress – The legislation Would Expand Protections for Businesses as they Begin to Reopen 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he hopes the bill will ‘find ways to expand existing protections’ for manufacturers who create coronavirus-related therapeutics or vaccines, and that he also wants it to ‘create new protections’ for medical equipment manufacturers.

McConnell has called expanded liability protections the ‘red line’ for Republicans on the next round of coronavirus relief legislation. The business community is pushing Congress to pass new legal protections amid concerns that they could face a myriad of lawsuits as they begin to reopen.

Read more at The Hill

Guidance on PPP Loan Evaluation and Safe Harbors

Yesterday, the Small Business Administration issued new guidance related to the recent announcement that the SBA will review certain Paycheck Protection Program loans to evaluate the applicant’s economic need for the loan. Under the new guidance, businesses receiving PPP loans of less than $2 million will be eligible for a safe harbor that deems their loan request to have been made in good faith; as such, loans below $2 million will not be subject to further review. Borrowers with loans greater than $2 million “may still have an adequate basis” for applying for a PPP loan based on their individual circumstances, but they will be subject to SBA review to determine the necessity of the loan request. If the review determines that the applicant should not have received PPP funds, the SBA will seek repayment of the outstanding PPP loan balance and will inform the lender that the borrower is not eligible for loan forgiveness. For more information, you can review Question 46 in the SBA’s updated PPP FAQ document.

Read the announcement


Companies Start Reaping Billions in Tax Breaks to Ride Out Economic Slump

New tax breaks expected to total about $650 billion are starting to flow to U.S. businesses, giving them quick cash and longer-term help to ride out the coronavirus-induced economic downturn.

So far, more than 50 publicly traded companies have disclosed tax savings and deferrals totaling at least $2.8 billion, according to securities filings. Money is also going to private companies that don’t report earnings.

The tax breaks, enacted in March, are a crucial piece of the government’s attempt to prop up businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, alongside Federal Reserve lending and the Small Business Administration’s loan-forgiveness program.

Read more at the WSJ 

Webinar: Direct Energy’s Hudson Valley Energy Market Update

Thursday, May 28, 2020, 8:00 am – 9:00 am, No Cost for Members

Join the Council of Industry and Direct Energy Business for a quick update on New York’s natural gas and electric markets. It’s important information that could keep your firm’s energy strategy ahead of market trends and changes. Following this presentation, take the opportunity to ask our energy professional your questions.

Tim Bigler
Senior Market Strategist, Direct Energy Business
Tim has more than 30 years of experience in the natural gas, electric and oil markets. His current role is Senior Market Strategist on our Natural Gas Operations team, and he is the author of most customer market update materials.

To register click here

COVID 19 Update 54

Post: May. 7, 2020

Governor Cuomo Enlists Former Google CEO to Head Commission to ‘Reimagine’ the State after COVID-19

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he has enlisted Eric Schmidt, former chief executive of Google Inc. and Novell Inc., to head a blue-ribbon commission tasked with “reimagining” New York state in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuomo has been pushing for the state to consider using the crisis to make changes and improvements to how it handles such issues as public health care, education and housing at his daily press briefings on the virus. 

Cuomo said Michael Dowling, chief executive of nonprofit health-care network Northwell Health, will take on the task of improving health services in the state. On Tuesday, Cuomo said the state will work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to “reimagine education.”

Read more at Marketwatch


Proposed NYS Bill Would Create an Occupational Disease Presumption for Employees That Have Contracted COVID-19.

S.8266 (Ramos)/A.10401 (Simotas) – would amend New York State’s Workers’ Compensation Law to create an occupational disease presumption for employees that have contracted COVID-19. The New York Comp Insurance Rating Board has issued an analysis projecting the cost impact on the state’s workers compensation system to be as high as $31 billion, compared to current annual compensation system cost of approximately $8.7 billion. “The categories of workers identified in the proposal that are eligible to make a claim based upon exposure is broad and encompasses much, if not all, of the State’s public and private sector workforce. Further, by predicating compensability upon exposure instead of illness, the proposal makes most, if not all workers, eligible for benefits without testing positive for the illness.”

Read more at the Rating Board Analysis

CI Partner MACNY Featured in WSJ Article: Safety Policies Keep Upstate N.Y. Factories Humming

General Electric, Indium and other manufacturers in upstate New York have stayed open as essential businesses and largely kept their workers safe with proper equipment and protocols. Eighty percent of Manufacturers Association of Central New York companies are operating, with an average capacity of 75%, according to a survey.

The MACNY Survey mirrors ones conducted by the Council of Industry and the BNMA. 

Read More at the WSJ

Automakers Restarting Manufacturing Plants

Fiat Chrysler is looking to reopen its manufacturing plants starting May 18, says CEO Mike Manley, pending government restrictions, such as Michigan’s, which is set to expire May 15. Other automakers such as Ford and GM also expected to open later this month after discussions with the United Auto Workers union about safety measures. Kia, Hyundai and BMW opened some southern US plants on Monday, while Toyota is planning a May 11 restart.

Read the full story at the Associated Press

China’s Exports Unexpectedly Rose in April

The Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index for April came in at 44.4, Reuters reported Thursday, off the 50-level that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis. China also reported Thursday that its dollar-denominated exports rose but imports fell in April as movement restrictions to curb the coronavirus outbreak were eased. 

“Goods exports were much better than expected in April,” economists at Oxford Economics wrote in a note. Still, they warned: “We think the pick-up in exports is temporary and export momentum will fall in the coming months.”

Read More at CNBC

Virtual Forum with NAM CEO Jay Timmons and Rep. Virginia Foxx

You are invited to join the NAM Labor and Employment Policy Committee for a virtual forum on small business and COVID-19, including Q&A with Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC). Rep. Foxx is the Republican leader of the House Education and Labor Committee which oversees all of the nation’s workplace and employment laws including OSHA, EEOC, NLRB, DOL and workforce development. NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons will open the forum and update participants on the NAM’s American Renewal Action Plan.

Rep. Foxx will provide an update on the latest Congressional activity in response to COVID-19 and will answer pressing questions from small and medium-sized manufacturers.

Register here

When Not Working Is More Profitable Than Working

Businesses getting ready to reopen are contacting furloughed and temporarily laid off employees to discuss bringing them back to work. Instead of enthusiasm, however, some employers are meeting reluctance. Not working has become more profitable than working. 

Our friends at Greenwald Doherty offer some tips to deal with this challenge. 

When Not Working Is More Profitable Than Working – Greenwald Doherty

Slide Deck from Yesterday’s Getting Back to Work Webinar Available 

The slides from the terrific presentation by EmergencyOne are avialable on the Council of Industry COVID 19 Resource Page.  The recording of the webinar will be available tomorrow (5/8).

They are also here: Return to Work Protocols and Best Practices from Emergency One 5/6/2020

Back to Back Council of Industry Webinars Presented by JGS CPAs: 

Payroll Protection Program Loan Forgiveness, Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 1 pm

Jason T. Giordano, CPA, CVA, MST, managing partner of JGS, CPA will explain the loan forgiveness rules associated with the Paycheck Protection Program

In this webinar we will offer a detailed discussion of the loan forgiveness rules within the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), one of the most highlighted areas of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The PPP offers financial relief to small businesses through the Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loans. This discussion will include an in depth look at the loan forgiveness rules related to these new loans. Commonly asked questions will be discussed, along with the identification of areas where guidance may still be needed.

Register Here

Tax Credits and Relief Associated with COVID-19, Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 2 pm

Join Domenick Del Rosso, CPA, MST, partner at JGS, CPA as he explains the tax credits and relief associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to emerging and unprecedented financial devastation from COVID-19 on March 27, 2020, Congress passed broad economic relief for individuals, tax-exempts organizations and corporations. The CARES Act includes a myriad of tax provisions targeting individuals, corporations, and tax-exempt entities. In this webinar we will discuss certain tax relief under the Act as it pertains to businesses and corporations.

Register Here

COVID 19 Update 44

Post: Apr. 25, 2020

Joint Statement by SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin on the Resumption of the Paycheck Protection Program 

SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin issued the following statement today on the resumption of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP):

“…The Small Business Administration will resume accepting PPP loan applications on Monday, April 27 at 10:30AM EDT from approved lenders on behalf of any eligible borrower.  This will ensure that SBA has properly coded the system to account for changes made by the legislation.

“The PPP has supported more than 1.66 million small businesses and protected over 30 million jobs for hardworking Americans.  With the additional funds appropriated by Congress, tens of millions of additional workers will benefit from this critical relief.

“We encourage all approved lenders to process loan applications previously submitted by eligible borrowers and disburse funds expeditiously.  All eligible borrowers who need these funds should work with an approved lender to apply.  Borrowers should carefully review PPP regulations and guidance and the certifications required to obtain a loan.

“The Trump Administration is fully committed to ensuring that America’s workers and small businesses continue to get the resources they need to get through this challenging time.”

More information on the Paycheck Protection Program is here 

Update to Paycheck Protection Program FAQs Provides Limited Guidance on Required Applicant Certifications

On April 23, 2020, U.S. Department of the Treasury added an additional question and answer to its Paycheck Protection Program Frequently Asked Questions that addresses the requirement that all applicants must certify that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.

The most significant aspect of the answer is the provision allowing any applicants that have since changed their mind about the necessity of the PPP loan or grown concerned about validity of their certifications to avoid any potential liability by repaying the loan in full by May 7, 2020. 

Read More from our Friends and Associate Members Harris Beach

Commerce: Durable-Goods Orders Sink in March

US orders for factory goods had their second-largest decline ever last month, falling 14.4%, the Commerce Department said today. The decline was 0.2% if airplanes and vehicles are omitted.

Read the Full Story at MarketWatch

How to Safely & Securely Work from Home – Webinar Hosted by MTEC

April 30, 2:00pm EST (via BlueJeans)

The topics covered by MTEC cybersecurity experts will address frequently asked work from home questions that will better you and colleague’s cyber hygiene now, and in any future remote work situations. Topics and questions addressed include:

  • Common COVID-19 related phishing scams and threats. How do you spot them? What do you do when you do?
  • Trusted VPN software and best practices when using them. How do they work? Is it really safe?
  • Securing your home network. Is it easy? What are some simple steps to take?
  • Secure document portals. Should I use cloud software? Is it safer to email?
  • Maintaining security of servers remotely. How important is it? What do I do if something happens
  • Grant opportunities to assist your company pursue greater cyber hygiene.

Register Here

Human Resource Professionals Plan for an Abundant Talent Market Post-COVID

David Scott, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at DISH Network, a telecommunications company based in Englewood, Colo., said that his company has spent the last few weeks in reactionary mode dealing with the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and that it has only recently started to think about what comes next.

Planning for a return to normal will bring a new set of challenges. The biggest change from a talent acquisition point of view could be the glut of job-seeking talent on the market.

“The circumstances brought on by COVID-19 will allow companies to be more selective in who they go after,” Scott said. “I can’t wait to grow based on the quality talent that will be available.”

Read More at SHRM 

Deeper Dive: Bill Gates in the Economist on How to Fight Future Pandemics

When historians write the book on the covid-19 pandemic, what we’ve lived through so far will probably take up only the first third or so. The bulk of the story will be what happens next.

Read More in the Economist


COVID 19 Update 23

Post: Apr. 3, 2020

Paycheck Protection Program Application Process Opens Today 

Today Hudson Valley Manufacturers who need financial support during this difficult time can begin applying for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, the new $349 billion loan program established by the CARES Act. NAM has developed and an overview that will tell you who qualifies and how to apply for PPP loans. For more on other Small Business Administration loan programs and tax incentives, click here. More detailed information for borrowers provided by the Treasury Department can be found here and an application can be found here.

NAM team-created overview


Fortune Magazine: ‘It’s going to be a mess’

What small businesses applying to the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program need to know

As small businesses ready to apply for the new Small Business Association’s Payroll Protection Program loans (as part of a $2.2 trillion stimulus package), banks are calling it: they’re not ready for the rollout of the program.

Banks like JPMorgan Chase emailed customers on Thursday evening stating that the bank “will most likely not be able to start accepting applications on Friday, April 3rd as we had hoped.”

Read More In Fortune


New York Power Authority Offers Relief Program for its Economic Development Power Customers

NYPA is waiving applicable energy and demand rate increases for its economic development power customers that participate in its ReCharge New York, Replacement Power, Expansion Power and Preservation Power programs for the July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, rate year. In addition, customers participating in those NYPA power programs are now able to suspend payment to NYPA for up to six months beginning with their April 2020 electric bill. Customers that opt-in to the new relief program can make payment installments over the following 18-months, free from any interest or penalties.

Read More


DOL Releases FFCRA Regulations

On the surface, the requirement for documentation appears to conflict with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) recommendation that employers should not require a positive COVID-19 test result or a health care provider’s note to validate an employee’s illness, qualify for sick leave or be eligible to return to work. Health care provider offices and medical facilities “may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner,” the CDC had previously stated.

However, the regulations and recommendation aren’t mutually exclusive, according to Kathy Dudley Helms, an attorney with Ogletree Deakins in Columbia, S.C., because the documentation doesn’t have to take the form of a health care provider’s note. 

Read More from SHRM 


Deeper Dive:  The Economist Writes “The Trade-offs Required by the Pandemic Will Get Even Harder”

“Imagine two critically ill patients but just one ventilator. That is the choice which could confront hospital staff in New York, Paris and London in the coming weeks, just as it has in Lombardy and Madrid. Triage demands agonising decisions (see Briefing). Medics have to say who will be treated and who must go without: who might live and who will probably die.

The pandemic that is raging across the world heaps one such miserable choice upon another. Should medical resources go to covid-19 patients or those suffering from other diseases? Some unemployment and bankruptcy is a price worth paying, but how much? If extreme social distancing fails to stop the disease, how long should it persist?”

Read More at the Economist

Note: The Economist is making some of its most important coverage of the covid-19 pandemic freely available to readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. To receive it, register here. For more coverage, see our coronavirus hub

Compressed Air Systems and COMAIRCO’s Compressed Air Challenge

Post: Mar. 21, 2019

Read about ways to save money by reducing or eliminating unnecessary use of compressed air from the University of Minnesota’s Technical Assistance Program 

Approximately 70% of all manufacturers have a compressed air system. These systems power a variety of equipment, including machine tools, material handling and separation equipment, and spray painting equipment. Compressed air is one of the most expensive uses of energy in a manufacturing plant. About 8hp of electrical power is used to generate the electricity required for 1hp of compressed air, making it the least efficient and sustainable plant utility.  While there are applications that require the use of compressed air, many uses of compressed air can be eliminated to save money. Calculating the cost of compressed air in your facility can help you justify system improvements that increase energy efficiency. This page offers tips for increasing your compressed air system’s efficiency and decreasing costs.

Read More

Find out about COMAIRCO’s Compressed Air Challenge Seminar 

Learn about Energy Efficiency in Compressed Air Systems 

When: June 4th from 7:30 am – 5 pm at The Crown Plaza in Suffern, NY 
Speaker: David Booth, Fundamentals of Compressed Air Systems
Cost: $295 per person, includes continental, breakfast, lunch, breaks and materials
Click here for agenda and registration


Bringing Maintenance and Repairs into the Era of Cloud Technology

Post: Jan. 23, 2019


CloudVist, a local business located in Putnam County, recently launched a new software that has the potential to transform the way we preform maintenance, repairs and inspections. This new software, CloudVisit Inspection Software, brings these processes into the era of cloud technology by allowing everything to be done remotely. CloudVisit is a custom video conference application that “maximizes the efficiency of the quality control process by allowing the inspection and documentation of completed work on distant jobsites without leaving the office.”

CloudVisit software provides remote MRO across many industries including transportation, construction, aviation, energy, telecom, telehealth and more. Recently the technology has been instrumental in the quality assurance of windfarm installation and maintenance. Windpower is growing in demand, and expected to expand up to 6 percent by 2023. The United States is planning more than 25 major wind projects, with a large majority in the Northeast.

CloudVist’s technology can provide important efficiencies during the installation of wind turbines. The software can be used to “quickly train technicians and experts, reduce installation time and costs, and decrease inspection time.” By pairing the software with third-party devices such as drones it eliminates the time and cost of mounting technicians with ropes and harnesses for maintenance and inspection. The drones can now take screen captures in minutes, which are achieved in the cloud for safety and quality control records, and can be shared with project management. This process decreases the amount of machinery required, increases turnaround time for repairs and is much safer.

The amount of uses possible for this type of software seem endless. CloudVisit has already made strides in the energy and aviation industries, and there is no doubt that this technology could have many benefits across the manufacturing industry.

To learn more about CloudVist’s Software solutions click here.

For the full article discussing CloudVist’s Remote Inspection Software in the wind power industry click here.

The Future of Manufacturing is Sustainable

Post: Sep. 11, 2018


As the population becomes increasingly environmentally conscious, corporations are feeling the pressure to become more sustainable. Companies today have an environmental responsibility to actively reduce the amount of pollution and waste they produce. The misconceptions that manufacturing companies are dirty and environmentally irresponsible are making them the target of environmental activists and forcing change.

An example of these changes can be seen at Henkel, a multinational chemical and consumer goods company. Henkel recently set a new goal for 100 percent of their packaging to be recyclable, reusable, or compostable by the year 2025. The company has also partnered with Waste Free Oceans and has made efforts to increase their use of scrap plastic.

However, this new goal is more ambitious. The company announced the goal in late August and outlined a strategic framework to make it possible. Henkel’s plan has 3 main factors: increased use of materials from sustainable sources, smarter packaging designs, and closing the loop by ensuring recyclability of products. To learn more about Henkel’s efforts to become more sustainable, read the full article here.  

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains a comprehensive list of sustainable manufacturing companies that can be found online. These companies have reduced waste and water usage, cut energy consumption and increased recycling. These advancements not only help companies reduce their carbon footprint, they can also save companies money. The future of manufacturing is most definitely sustainable, and the benefits certainly outweigh the costs.