Legislation

Daily Briefing – 349

Fed Says Economy Has Made Progress Toward Its Goals, May Begin Bond Taper

The Federal Reserve indicated that the economy has made progress toward the central bank’s employment and inflation goals, and officials offered a hint they could begin to reduce their asset purchases later this year.

Some officials are concerned that a burst of inflation this year from bottlenecks associated with reopening the economy will prove more durable than previously anticipated. These policy makers are eager to start the taper.  Another camp thinks recent price pressures will subside and could leave the Fed in the same position that it faced for much of the past decade, in which global forces kept inflation below 2% even with historically low interest rates. 

Read more at the WSJ


Bipartisan Group Reaches Agreement on $1.2 Trillion “Hard” Infrastructure Bill

a bipartisan group of senators finally reached a deal on “the major issues” in their $1.2 trillion “hard” infrastructure package, GOP senators involved in the talks announced Wednesday.

It could be days before the group finishes writing the bill, but the Senate can begin debating the legislation in earnest now that they have resolved the outstanding issues. The bill needs 60 votes to advance in the Senate.  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that the Senate could vote as early as Wednesday night to advance the proposal, the second time they will vote on this procedural measure.

Read more at Yahoo News


Administration Proposes Rule to Change Federal Procurement Process

The Biden administration is proposing a rule that would accelerate federal procurement policy to require a higher level of American-made products. Under an initiative the government would require that products obtained under the longstanding “Buy American” program have at least 60% of the value of components made in the U.S., up from the current 55% threshold. That would increase to 75% by 2029, White House officials said.

The new initiative is similar to what Mr. Trump pursued in office as he tried to strengthen domestic manufacturing with a particular aim toward lessening reliance on China. Officials said the new rule would also give priority to purchase supply-chain goods that have become scarce during the Covid-19 pandemic, such as semiconductors and medical equipment.

Read more at the WSJ


New York Will Require State Workers To Be Vaccinated Or Undergo Weekly Testing

New York will require all state employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus by Labor Day or undergo weekly tests for COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.  In mandating either the shots, or frequent testing for government workers, Cuomo is following on the heels of California and New York City, which announced similar policies for employees earlier this week.

Cuomo said vaccines would be mandatory for “front-line” workers at state-owned hospitals. Those employees would not be able to avoid inoculations by undergoing frequent virus testing. The state runs hospitals in Syracuse and New York City and on Long Island.

Read more at NPR


US COVID Update – Study Covid Cases in US May Have Been Undercounted by 60%

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, builds on research which has found the number of reported cases “represents only a fraction of the estimated total number of infections”. It has important implications for how many Americans need to be vaccinated to stop outbreaks.

The paper comes as a swath of states across the south and midwest, especially Arkansas, Missouri and Louisiana, experience outbreaks driven by Delta variant infections among unvaccinated people.

Read more at The Guardian


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of  Wednesday July 28th:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 62.6% of all New Yorkers – 12,022,678 (plus 14,263 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,278,285 (plus 3,137) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 56.7% of all New Yorkers – 11,033,877 are fully vaccinated (Plus 13,075)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,157,523 (plus 2,202) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Tuesday July 2tth.  There were 7 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,068.

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 591

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 2.04%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.72%

Useful Websites:


What to Know About COVID Booster Shots as the Delta Variant Spreads

The consensus around whether or not COVID vaccine booster shots are necessary—and who should be prioritized to get them and when—is quickly shifting as the COVID Delta variant cases fuel a surge in new infections across the U.S. Biden administration officials now believe that certain Americans, especially the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, will likely need a booster shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to ensure continued protection against coronavirus strains of all stripes.

The shift comes just one week after the administration was parsing open questions about the scientific need for a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna COVID vaccines, which are both based on mRNA technology and require two doses for full vaccination. 

Read more at Fortune


Jackson Lewis on  CDC Mask Recommendations 

Council Associate member Jackson Lewis Attorneys write that in its latest Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People, the CDC explains that while infections happen only in a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated (even with the highly transmissible “Delta” variant), “preliminary evidence suggest that fully vaccinated people who become infected with the Delta variant can spread the virus to others.”

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky explained that the CDC made this decision based on evidence from recent investigations of outbreaks involving the Delta variant, which is now the predominant variant in the United States. 


Big Tech, Others Blows Out Earnings – Warn on Future

The earnings blowout continued Tuesday with Big Tech and others beating expectations by a wide margin.  They all were careful to warn that the torrid pace of growth is unlikely to continue into the end of the year. 

  • Apple Inc. beat on both the top and bottom lines as every product line posted annual sales growth of at least 12%. However, the tech giant warned the chip shortage would impact iPhone and iPad sales in the current quarter. 
  • Microsoft Corp. posted record quarterly profit as revenue from its Azure cloud service soared 51%. Sales guidance for the current quarter exceeded expectations. 
  • Alphabet Inc. revenue surged to a record as advertising sales rose almost 70%, benefitting from the online shopping boom caused by the pandemic. The company’s Google Cloud business, which trails rivals from Amazon and Microsoft, narrowed operating loss. 
  • Boeing Co. booked its first quarterly profit in almost two years as 737 MAX deliveries picked up amid a reopening of the global economy. The plane maker said it expects to increase 737 MAX production from its current pace of 16 per month to 31 per month by early next year.  
  • McDonald’s Corp. said U.S. same-store sales climbed 25.9% versus a year ago as demand for its new chicken sandwich and a promotion with K-pop group BTS provided a lift. Global same-store sales were up 40.5% from a year ago as the easing of more overseas restrictions bolstered those markets. 

Read more at Fox Business


Consumer Confidence at 17-Month High

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index ticked up to a reading of 129.1 this month, the highest level since February 2020, from 128.9 in June. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index would fall to 123.9.

Consumers’ inflation expectations over the next 12 months dipped to 6.6% from 6.7% last month. The Conference Board survey places more emphasis on the labor market. The University of Michigan’s survey of consumers showed sentiment falling in early July because of inflation concerns.

Read more at Reuters


Business Spending on Equipment Strong

New orders for durable goods increased in June, gaining 0.8 percent, the 13th rise in the last 14 months. Total durable goods orders are up 40.7 percent from a year ago. The June gain puts the level of total durable goods orders at $257.6 billion (see top of first chart).

New orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft or core capital goods, a proxy for business equipment investment, rose 0.5 percent in June after gaining 0.5 percent in May and 2.7 percent in April, putting the level at $76.1 billion, another record high.

Read more at Seeking Alpha


OSHA Heat Standard Will Impact Manufacturers, Warehouses and Distribution Centers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is working on a new heat standard to target indoor workers without climate-controlled environments, including those in manufacturing, warehouses and distribution centers that fall under that definition.

Two years ago, the public interest group Public Citizen and Democrat legislators asked that such a rule be promulgated by OSHA. Up until now, the agency has pursued charges against employers for heat-related injuries and illnesses among workers primarily in outdoor environments. Even then, it has done so under the General Duty clause rather than any specific heat-related standard.

Read more at EHS Today


Metal Formers Face Longer Lead Times, Material Shortages

The Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report for July report shows that 36% of metalforming companies forecast an improvement in economic activity in the next three months (the same percentage as reported in June), 55% predict no change (compared to 52% last month) and 9% anticipate a decline in activity (decreasing from 12% in June). Sixty-three percent of respondents reported an increase in lead times, slightly down from 66% in June.

“PMA members continue to report significant problems in finding the raw materials needed to meet demand,”  PMA President David Klotz said in a statement. “As we have been reporting, members are telling us that their lead times are extending into midyear of 2022 for steel, with similar challenges for aluminum, copper, brass and other metals. Combined with continued difficulty in finding workers and the semiconductor shortage that has idled some auto plants, our members are facing a challenging environment. 

Read more at IndustryWeek


June Retail Sales Increase as Recovery Continues

Retail sales saw solid growth during June, as the recovery from the pandemic continued, the National Retail Federation said earlier this month. 

The U.S. Census Bureau said earlier this month that overall retail sales in June were up 0.6% seasonally adjusted from May and up 18% year-over-year. That compares with a decrease of 1.7% month-over-month and an increase of 27.6% year-over-year in May. Year-over-year increases were unusually high this spring because most stores were closed by the pandemic during those months last year, but some stores had started to reopen by last June.

Read more at Material Handling and Logistics


Second Round of $175 Million Workforce Development Initiative Launches

Governor Cuomo Yesterday announced the launch of the second round of the $175 million Workforce Development Initiative. This second round of funding makes $48 million available to support strategic regional efforts that help New Yorkers find quality, well-paid jobs and meet businesses’ short-term workforce needs, improve regional talent pipelines, enhance the flexibility and adaptability of local workforce entities, expand apprenticeships and address the long-term needs of growing industries. 

Information about the application process and program guidelines are available here. The Consolidated Funding Application will open to applicants on Monday August 2nd, and applications will be accepted on a continual basis. The funding made available for this initiative consolidates multiple programs administered by various state agencies and authorities.

Read the Press Release


 

 

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Daily Briefing – 348

CDC Recommends Indoor Mask Wearing for Vaccinated People In Hot Spots

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Tuesday that fully vaccinated people begin wearing masks indoors again in places with high Covid-19 transmission rates. The updated guidance comes ahead of the fall season, when the highly contagious delta variant is expected to cause another surge in new coronavirus cases and many large employers plan to bring workers back to the office. 

Federal officials still believe fully vaccinated individuals represent a very small amount of transmission, according to the sources. Still, some vaccinated people could be carrying higher levels of the virus than previously understood and potentially transmit it to others, they said.

Read more at CNN


IMF Lifts Growth Forecasts for Rich Nations, Dims Outlook for Developing World

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday maintained its 6% global growth forecast for 2021. The IMF significantly raised its forecasts for the United States, which it now expects to grow at 7.0% in 2021 and 4.9% in 2022 – up 0.6 and 1.4 percentage points, respectively, from the forecasts in April. The projections assume the U.S. Congress will approve President Joe Biden’s roughly $4 trillion in proposed infrastructure, education and family support spending largely as envisioned by the White House.

The Fund cut its 2021 growth forecast for India, which has struggled with a massive wave of infections this year, by three percentage points to 9.5%. It also reduced its 2021 forecast for China by 0.3 percentage point, citing a scaling back of public investment and overall fiscal support. The IMF also forecast lower prospects for Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam where recent waves of COVID-19 infections are weighing on activity. The Fund forecast that emerging Asia would grow 7.5% this year, down 1.1 percentage points from the April forecast.

Read more at Reuters


“Of Course I’m Talking About Delta You Twerp”

Much like its Animal House namesake, the Delta variant is the fastest, fittest and most formidable version of the coronavirus the world has encountered, and it is upending assumptions about the disease.  Vaccine protection remains very strong against severe disease and hospitalizations caused by any version of the coronavirus according to interviews with 10 leading COVID-19 experts.

Evidence, however, is mounting that the Delta variant is capable of infecting fully vaccinated people at a greater rate than previous versions, and concerns have been raised that they may even spread the virus, experts said.  As a result, targeted use of masks, social distancing and other measures may again be needed even in countries with broad vaccination campaigns.

Read more at Reuters


Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates Imposed on Some Government Workers

A significant uptick in Covid-19 cases across the U.S. is leading to new vaccination mandates for public employees, with the Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday becoming the first federal agency, California the first state, and New York the first major city to announce requirements for their workers.

The requirements drew criticism from some unions and sparked questions about their legality. Richard L. Brown, president of the SEIU chapter that represents 43% of California approximately 238,000 state employees, said he was appalled by Mr. Newsom’s announcement. However, On Monday, dozens of groups that represent millions of healthcare professionals, including the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association, released a joint statement asking that all healthcare professionals, including those working in long-term-care facilities, be vaccinated.

Read more at the WSJ


US COVID Update – Hospitalizations on the Rise

The number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations is beginning to rise in most US states, following increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases driven by the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant. Nationally, hospitalization rates remain low overall, nowhere near the previous pandemic peaks. But the increases in hospitalizations are high and rising in parts of the country that have low vaccination rates, including Florida, Nevada, Arkansas, and Missouri. Some Florida hospitals are seeing the highest number of COVID-19 patients since the beginning of the pandemic, and the pace of this surge is accelerating rapidly.

One hospital in Missouri said its increase in patients occurred nearly 5 times as fast as last fall’s surge. An estimated 97% of hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. Patients also are skewing younger, with 69% under the age of 65, according to CDC data as of July 17. Some hospitals are scrambling to find space for intensive care patients, trying to address personnel shortages, and attempting to maintain adequate supplies of medical equipment such as ventilators. 

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of  Monday July 26th:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 62.3% of all New Yorkers – 11,991,343 (plus 14,184 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,272,870 (plus 1,325) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 56.6% of all New Yorkers – 11,008,368 are fully vaccinated (Plus 9,864)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,153,903 (plus 697) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday July 25th.  There were 4 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,059.

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 546

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.88%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.58%

Useful Websites:


U.S. Coronavirus Recession Lasted Two Months, Ended in April 2020

The U.S. officially climbed out of a recession in April 2020, concluding a pandemic-driven economic contraction that lasted two months, making it the shortest on record. The announcement Monday from the National Bureau of Economic Research also marks April as the official start of the economic recovery from the initial shock of the coronavirus pandemic last spring.

The committee uses a variety of indicators to identify the peaks and troughs that frame economic contractions, defining “recession” as a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy that typically lasts more than a few months. 

Read more at the WSJ


New Carrier Set to Land at New York Stewart International Airport This Fall

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York Stewart International Airport will be launching new air service to three Florida cities aboard Frontier Airlines starting this fall. Frontier Airlines announced today it will be scheduling flights between New York Stewart and Miami International Airport and Tampa International Airport three times each per week, starting November 2, and flights between New York Stewart and Orlando International Airport four times a week starting October 25.

Read the press release


Cleveland-Cliffs Offering Steelworkers Up to $3,000 to Get Vaccinated

Steelworkers can get bonuses between $200 and $3,000 depending on how many people at their workplace get vaccinated. Company officials describe the bonuses as “the most generous vaccine incentive program in the world.”

Cleveland-Cliffs will pay each worker $1,500 if 75% of their workplace gets vaccinated and $3,000 per employee if 85% gets the vaccine.  Employees still will get paid even if their workplace falls short of the vaccination target.

Read More at the Northwest Indiana Times


World Health Organization Speaks Out Against Vaccine Travel Passports

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Thursday that countries should not require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for international travel.  WHO’s experts said coronavirus vaccinations should not be the only requisite for reopening international travel, as many countries around the world continue to have limited access to immunizations.

The Emergency Committee said that “requiring proof of vaccination deepens inequities and promotes unequal freedom of movement.” Countries with limited access to COVID-19 vaccines could face exclusion, according to health experts.

Read more at TravelPulse


Energy Prices – Henry Hub Natural Gas Pierces $4.00/mmbtu

Henry Hub NYMEX spot natural gas hit $4.00/mmbtu on Thursday, July 22, and traded as high as $4.14/mmbtu on Monday, July 26. The last time the benchmark traded above $4 was November 2018. Strong demand and weak supply are credited with driving the market to breach what many consider a psychological barrier. 

Read more at EngieResources


CDC Study: Influenza and Other Respiratory Virus Activity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Influenza viruses and human metapneumovirus circulated at historic lows through May 2021. In April 2021, respiratory syncytial virus activity increased. Common human coronaviruses, parainfluenza viruses, and respiratory adenoviruses have been increasing since January or February 2021. Rhinoviruses and enteroviruses began to increase in June 2020.

Clinicians and employers should be aware of increased circulation, sometimes off season, of some respiratory viruses and consider multi-pathogen testing. In addition to recommended preventive actions, fall influenza vaccination campaigns are important as schools and workplaces resume in-person activities with relaxed

Read more at the CDC


UPS Earnings Beat – But Key Metrics Signal Boom Is Fading

UPS beat second-quarter earnings forecasts Tuesday, but shipping volume fell while management sees slower growth. The report comes amid severe supply-chain disruptions around the world, due in part to the rebounding global economy. Both UPS and FedEx (FDX) have hiked surcharges in recent months but have also struggled to make deliveries on time.

UPS sees an operating margin of 12.7% going forward vs. 14% in Q2. For the rest of the year, UPS sees sales growth slowing to 5.4% overall and 8.2% in the U.S. vs. first half gains of 20% and 16%, respectively. Third Bridge analyst Patrick Donnelly warned: “The biggest risk for the company moving forward will be the continued competitive pressure by Amazon Fulfillment. As a customer and competitor, Amazon is able to cherry pick the most attractive parcels for final mile delivery while leaving UPS with the remaining volume.”

Read more at Investors Business Daily


Infrastructure Deal Could Create 500,000 Manufacturing Jobs

A bipartisan infrastructure deal being negotiated in the U.S. Senate could create roughly half a million new manufacturing jobs by 2024, the end of President Biden’s first term, an analysis conducted on behalf of the trade group Association of Equipment Manufacturers found.

The analysis by IHS Markit assumes the manufacturing jobs would come from $1.1 trillion spent over eight years starting in 2022, with 75% of funding to be spent in the first five years. It also assumes Congress will authorize an additional $303 billion in transportation spending over five years. 

Read more at CBS


Its Lonely at the Top

Stress is present at every level of an organization. Trying to figure out how it affects us both as individuals and in our jobs is difficult. At some level, all of us know that stress takes a terrible toll on our health and ultimately how we are able to perform our jobs, but what we don’t know is how to figure out at what point stress will turn into anxiety and even depression. This is true of both employees and executives alike.

“CEOs need to aware of their mental health as well,” explains Robert Allen,  CEO of New Dimensions Consulting Services, and author of Self-care Let’s Start the Conversation.

“Self-care isn’t often discussed in the executive suite, but it needs to be addressed and also redefined.” Robert Allen, CEO of New Dimensions Consulting Services. Allen points out that during the pandemic, companies did a great job pivoting during the pandemic, and they must continue to do the same when it comes to self-care. “We need to examine our levels of stress and chart a new course,” he says.  He describes the process as the 4r’s – Retreat, Reflect, Replenish and Regroup.

Read more at IndustryWeek


 

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Daily Briefing – 347

Poll: Inflation Fears and Politics Shape Views of Biden Economy

many Americans are not feeling all that confident about the economy, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Republican lawmakers have attacked the Biden administration over inflation as the country reopened from the coronavirus pandemic, and feelings about the economy are settling along partisan lines.

Fewer than half, 45%, judge the economy to be in good shape, while 54% say it’s in poor shape. Views are similar to what they were in AP-NORC polls in June and in March, despite increases in vaccinations and the flow of aid from Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The results suggest that Americans not only filter their thoughts about the economy through their politics but also see uncertainty as the country is still 6.8 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels.

Read more at US News


Senate Infrastructure Talks on Shaky Grounds

The bipartisan Senate infrastructure group is struggling to break an entrenched stalemate over the final details of their $1.2 trillion proposal. The bipartisan group had hoped to return to Washington with a final agreement in order to quickly start debate on the Senate floor. Instead, the talks appear to be on shaky grounds, with each side accusing the other of moving the goalposts.

A Democratic source close to the talks said on Monday morning that Democratic negotiators and the White House had made a “global offer” to Republicans on Sunday night that would have addressed a number of unresolved issues. But Republicans appear to be rejecting that offer, arguing that it goes back on details that had already been agreed to by the bipartisan group during their weeks of closed-door negotiations.

Read more at The Hill


Many Have Yet To Receive Any of the $2.7 Billion for Rent Relief For NYS

When New York launched a sweeping rent relief program in June, the aim was to safeguard the state’s recovery from the pandemic by keeping tens of thousands of people who fell behind on rent out of financial ruin and in their homes. The state set aside about $2.7 billion, the vast majority from federal pandemic relief packages, with New York providing some funding.

But after nearly two months and despite the staggering need, New York has been among the slowest states in distributing help. In fact, federal figures showed that by the end of June, New York was one of only two states where no aid had been sent out, even though the state’s eviction moratorium is set to expire in just a few weeks. 

Read more at the New York Times


Mixed AstraZeneca-Pfizer Vaccine Boosts Antibody Levels

A new study found that antibody levels were boosted in people who got a shot of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine shot and then a shot of the Pfizer vaccine, Reuters reported on Monday.

The study was conducted by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA)in South Korea and involved 499 medical workers. In the study, 100 of the participants received one shot each of the two vaccines, with 200 others taking two doses of the Pfizer shot and the remaining workers getting two doses of the AstraZeneca shot.

Read more at The Hill


US COVID – Travel Restrictions to Remain In Place

The United States will keep current international travel restrictions in place for the time being due to the delta variant and rising coronavirus cases domestically, the White House said Monday. “We will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point for a few reasons. The more transmissible delta variant is spreading both here and around the world,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters\ Monday.

“The [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] CDC just advised Americans against travel to the United Kingdom this past Monday given the surge in cases. They will evaluate and make recommendations based on health data,” Psaki added.  The Biden administration last month formed working groups with Canada, Mexico, the European Union and the United Kingdom to weigh when to lift international travel restrictions.

Read more at The Hill


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of  Monday July 26th:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 62.3% of all New Yorkers – 11,991,343 (plus 14,184 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,272,870 (plus 1,325) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 56.6% of all New Yorkers – 11,008,368 are fully vaccinated (Plus 9,864)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,153,903 (plus 697) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday July 25th.  There were 4 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,059.

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 546

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.88%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.58%

Useful Websites:


$15 Million to Promote Vaccination in Communities Disproportionately Affected by COVID-19 Pandemic

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the allocation of $15 million from the New York State budget to promote vaccination in communities across the state that were hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be used to strengthen communication, expand public education and enhance ongoing outreach efforts throughout diverse communities.

The NYS Department of Health has identified 117 zip codes in New York State with new positive cases of COVID-19 above the statewide average and full vaccination rate below the statewide average.  The vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalization by 94% and only 0.15% of New Yorkers who have been vaccinated have experienced a breakthrough infection.

Read the press release


The Race for a COVID-19 Pill 

A Japanese company has started human trials of the first once-a-day pill for Covid-19 patients, joining Pfizer Inc. and Merck in the race to find treatments for the disease.

Osaka-based Shionogi, which helped develop the blockbuster cholesterol drug Crestor, said it designed its pill to attack the Covid-19 virus. It said the once-a-day dosing would be more convenient. Shionogi is months behind Pfizer and Merck, which have started later-stage tests of pills to treat Covid-19. Pfizer has said its twice-daily pill could be ready to hit the market as soon as this year. 

Read more at the WSJ


U.S. Population Growth is Close is Near Zero

America’s weak population growth, already held back by a decade long fertility slump, is dropping closer to zero because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  In half of all states last year, more people died than were born, up from five states in 2019. Early estimates show the total U.S. population grew 0.35% for the year ended July 1, 2020, the lowest ever documented, and growth is expected to remain near flat this year.

Some demographers cite an outside chance the population could shrink for the first time on record. Population growth is an important influence on the size of the labor market and a country’s fiscal and economic strength.

Read more at the WSJ


Mexico Disputes US Application of USMCA Rules on Autos

Mexico is at odds with the United States over how it is applying content rules for the regional auto trade, Mexican Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier said Friday.  The dispute centers on content requirements known as rules of origin that allow cars manufactured in North America to receive duty free treatment under the regional trade pact that took effect just over a year ago.

The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USCMA) signed by former U.S. president Donald Trump raised the regional content requirement for vehicles to 75% from the 62.5% threshold under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which it replaced.

Read more at IndustryWeek


Why These Employers Said No to Hybrid

Some employers, such as Fifth Third Bank, CenterPoint Energy, Abbott Laboratories and United Wholesale Mortgage, are bucking the hybrid-working trend by demanding workers return full time to offices and workplaces. Company leaders explain their decision and talk about how they are managing the transition.

Read more at the WSJ


OSHA Refines 300A Enforcement Guidelines

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revised its enforcement guidelines for staff in regard to annual injury and illness reporting requirements to take into account difficulties some employers experienced in trying to use the agency’s online reporting portal to meet the March 2 filing deadline.

In a standard interpretation letter that was dated May 6, 2021, OSHA issued a new enforcement guidance for its staff stating that employers who could not file reports because of issues associated with the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) will not be cited, provided the data was submitted on a timely basis once the ITA became operational.  Employers are advised that they should keep written documentation if they experience any issues with using the ITA moving forward.

Read more at EHS Today


Empire Center: Health Department’s FOIL Responses Signal an Indefinite Wait for Pandemic Data

The quest for comprehensive data on New York’s coronavirus pandemic hit a bureaucratic roadblock this week as the Health Department postponed responding to most of the Empire Center’s records requests for two months or more.

The department said it needs the time to complete a “diligent search” for the records, which is implausible in many cases. Much of the information the Empire Center is seeking – such as detailed statistics on testing, hospitalizations and deaths – would come from the same databases the Cuomo administration uses for daily progress reports.

Of 62 requests filed under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), the department has fulfilled only three. It has also denied two requests and referred two to a second agency.

Read more at Empire Center


Global Steel Recovery Slowed in June

Global raw-steel production slipped to 167.9 million metric tons during June, down -3.87% from May – with corresponding month-over-month declines in most of the largest steelmaking nations. Even so, the latest data shows a 11.6% improvement over the year-ago (June 2020) total. More to the point, year-to-date steel output in the 64 countries tracked by the World Steel Assn. has passed 1 billion (1.004) metric tons and stands 14.4% higher than the six-month total for 2020.

Read more at American Machinist


 

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Daily Briefing – 346

Senators Scramble to Finalize Deal on Infrastructure Package

Lawmakers pushed to finalize an infrastructure agreement Sunday and lock down enough support from Republicans to advance the bill in a Senate vote early this week.  GOP senators had blocked efforts by Democrats to begin consideration of the roughly $1 trillion infrastructure bill on Wednesday, saying too much of the package remained unresolved. 

A group of 11 Republican senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) last week, saying they would vote to start debate on the bill, provided that the major issues are resolved and its official cost has been estimated. “I’m not looking for a perfect bill on Monday, but I’m looking for enough of a bill that we can move forward on and get to an amendment process and I expect that to happen,” Sen. Kevin Cramer (R., N.D.) told reporters.

Read more at the WSJ


Unilever Joins Rival P&G in Issuing Inflation Warning to Investors

In the face of rising input costs, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant—the makers of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Hellman’s mayonnaise, Dove shampoo and Sunlight detergent—has slashed its forecasted profits for the rest of the year.

Unilever has joined rival consumer goods giant P&G in warning about the rising cost of raw materials. Unilever says it will need to raise its prices, though slowly so as not to shock consumers; profitability goals are being scaled back. CFO Graeme Pitkethly: “This is something that a business like Unilever is able to handle, but it takes time.”

Read more at Fortune


DiNapoli: Local Sales Taxes Jump 49.2 Percent in Second Quarter

Sales tax revenue for local governments in New York state rose by 49.2% in the second quarter (April to June 2021) compared to the same period last year, a dramatic increase from last year’s weak collections during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Sales tax collections during this period totaled just over $1.6 billion and even surpassed collections reported during the second quarter of 2019, before the onset of the pandemic.

The size of the increase largely reflects extremely weak collections in the April to June period of 2020. However, even compared to pre-pandemic collections for the same period in 2019, statewide collections in 2021 were up 8.7% or $396 million. Every region outside of New York City experienced two-year growth over 18%. The Mid-Hudson and North Country regions both reported increases of more than 29%.

Read more at the Comptroller’s website


The Right and Wrong Ways to Reduce Vaccine Hesitancy

For countries with lots of covid-19 vaccines, the most important task is convincing people to get jabbed. In America most adults who want the shots already have them, leaving an unvaccinated population full of hardline refuseniks.  Fortunately, hesitancy has been falling steadily. YouGov has run surveys about vaccination in 20 countries. In January around 45% of respondents said either that they would not get a shot or that they were unsure. By late June just 20% did.

Among the many factors that could change sceptics’ minds, two can be measured readily with national statistics. One is the pace of vaccination. The more doubters see that shots are available and that people they know have not suffered ill effects, the more willing they may be to follow suit. The other is the gravity of the pandemic. If lots of people are dying, fear of the virus might trump fear of the vaccine.

Read more at The Economist (COVID Coverage Remains Free)


US COVID – Cases, Emergency  Room Visits Up

The US CDC reported 34.2 million cumulative COVID-19 cases and 607,684 deaths. With more than 40,000 new cases per day, the US surpassed both the peak of the initial surge—31,327 on April 12, 2020—and the low reported following the summer 2020 surge—35,082 on September 13, 2020. The current average is more than 3.5 times the most recent low on June 19 (11,467) and is still increasing steadily.

Daily mortality also continues to increase, up to 223 deaths per day, which is more than 40% higher than the most recent low on July 11 (159). Notably, the proportion of emergency department patients diagnosed with COVID-19 has tripled since June 21, up from 0.6% to 1.8%, which is an indication of increasing burden on health systems.

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of  Sunday July 25th:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 62.3% of all New Yorkers – 11,977,159 (plus 19,871 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,271,545 (plus 1,213) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 56.5% of all New Yorkers – 10,998,774 are fully vaccinated (Plus 15,769)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,153,206 (plus 1,744) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Saturday July 24th.  There were 7 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,055.

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 505

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.76%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.40%

Useful Websites:


Scientists Urge Local Mask Mandates as Delta Sweeps the U.S.

infections from the Delta variant have soared throughout the country and spread faster than health experts anticipated. In the past few weeks, every state except Vermont has seen a sudden steep climb in cases. In response to the surge, Los Angeles County has led the way in reinstating a mask requirement for indoor spaces, even for vaccinated people, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that unvaccinated students—which includes all those under the age of 12 — wear a mask in school.

Many public health experts believe the CDC jumped the gun in loosening its mask recommendations.

Read more at Nat Geo


DOJ Won’t Investigate Nursing Home Deaths in New York, Other States

In a letter shared by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the DOJ said it had decided against opening an investigation into COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes in New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Jersey.

“We have reviewed the information provided by these states along with additional information available to the Department. Based on that review, we have decided not to open a [Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act] investigation of any public nursing facility within New York, Pennsylvania, or Michigan at this time.” the DOJ said in its letter, signed by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Joe Gaeta.

Read more at The Hill


Intel CEO Says Chip Shortage Could Stretch Into 2023

Intel Corp. Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger sees the global semiconductor shortage potentially stretching into 2023, adding a leading industry voice to the growing view that the chip-supply disruptions hitting companies and consumers won’t wane soon. The world-wide shortage has fueled rising prices for some consumer gadgets. Meanwhile, the auto industry has been particularly hard-hit as the lack of a key component causes production delays.

It could take one or two years to get back to a reasonable supply-and-demand balance in the semiconductor industry, Mr. Gelsinger said in an interview after the company posted second-quarter earnings on Thursday. “We have a long way to go yet,” he said. “It just takes a long time to build [manufacturing] capacity.”

Read more at the WSJ


NAM Board Chair Visits the White House to Talk Infrasturcture

NAM Board Chair Michael Lamach, executive chair of the Trane Technologies board of directors, was among the business leaders who met with President Biden yesterday to discuss the bipartisan infrastructure framework.

“As an elected leader, you have the chance to realize the promise of American economic prosperity by working with your colleagues to enact the bipartisan framework that was recently announced.” The meeting with President Biden, which included business organizations and labor leaders, demonstrated the broad support that infrastructure investment has among disparate groups

Read the more at The Hill


Initial Jobless Claims Rise

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 51,000 to a seasonally adjusted 419,000 for the week ended July 17, the highest level since mid-May. Data for the prior week was revised to show 8,000 more applications received than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 350,000 applications for the latest week.

The four-week average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it strips out weekly volatility from the data, rose only 750 to 385,250.

Read more at Yahoo Finance


Startup Investments Continue for Automakers

Automakers have continued to invest in startups with a total of $9.6 billion invested since the beginning of 2020, per Crunchbase data. Sustainability looks to be the standout trend of the latest investment batch, with automakers pouring money into battery tech developers offering an alternative to fossil fuels and internal combustion engines. Close to half of lead rounds went to companies in battery tech or electric vehicle development.

Volkswagen, which also owns Porsche, has participated in 24 rounds, including leading a $3.4 billion investment in battery startup Northvolt, and Toyota has taken part in 20 rounds, with large rounds in electric aircraft maker Joby Aviation and autonomous car companies Momenta and Pony.ai.

Read more at Crunchbase


How Companies Can Defend Against Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks are increasing in frequency, and companies need to safeguard industrial control systems and operational technology both to protect themselves and to avoid regulatory scrutiny, experts say. Grant Geyer of Claroty recommends organizations adopt the “three lines of defense” model, run real-time security exercises and understand where to focus safeguards.

“As more technology is integrated and added to industrial systems, new avenues for exploitation are created. Unlike IT system operators that have a large community to identify vulnerabilities, and history of security being integrated into products, OT operators may have limited insight into the vulnerabilities lurking on their system, just waiting to be exploited when they see the light of day (or the internet)”


Envoys: Canada and U.S. Are ‘Coordinated’ on Border Reopening – Out of Sync

Top Canadian and American envoys insisted Friday the countries remain committed to a coordinated easing of Covid-19 border restrictions — even if they’re moving at different speeds.  The diplomats’ arguments capped a week in which the Biden administration renewed its restrictions at U.S.-Canada land crossings until at least Aug. 21.

The countries put the restrictions in place in March 2020 to slow Covid-19. But as vaccination rates rise, families separated from loved ones, business leaders and lawmakers have been calling on the governments to reopen the land crossings to nonessential travel.

Read more at Politico


 

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Daily Briefing – 345

With Details Unresolved Republicans Block Infrastructure Debate 

Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked the start of formal debate on bipartisan infrastructure legislation, a core part of President Joe Biden’s economic plan, because the bill text and cost weren’t available as negotiations continued. But senators from both parties called the setback temporary, and another vote was expected as soon as Monday. That would give negotiators time to draft the legislation and score how much it would cost.

The 51-49 vote against beginning debate, which needed to clear a 60-vote threshold to succeed, came after a series of late-night negotiations. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, changed his vote to help defeat the measure so he could be on the prevailing side to call it up for another vote in the future. 

Read more at the USA Today


When it Comes to Reopening, Income Matters More than Party

The wealthier you are, the more likely you are to stay home. Mobility data from Google backs this up.  Location information collected from millions of mobile phones — shows Republicans and Democrats are more alike than you’d expect once a crucial factor is considered: how much money they make. 

  • In fact, higher-income Republican counties looked much more like higher-income Democratic counties than their lower-income counterparts.
  • Lower-income counties that voted for Biden and Trump returned to normal activities within two weeks of each other, and since then, their differences have only narrowed.
  • Higher-income Biden counties were the last to return to baseline activities and remain around 10 percent more conservative in grocery visits than the other groups.

Read more at Politico


U.S. Life Expectancy Fell by 1.5 Years in 2020, the Biggest Decline in Generations

Provisional data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that American life expectancy dropped to 77.3 years in 2020, roughly the same level as in 2003, erasing years of hard-won gains in the nation’s public health. It was the largest single-year decline recorded since 1943. Covid-19, drug overdoses and homicides drove longevity down; Hispanic men suffered largest decline 

The full toll of the pandemic has yet to be seen, doctors and public-health officials said. Many people skipped or delayed treatment last year for conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, and endured isolation, stress and interruptions in normal diet and exercise routines.

Read more at the WSJ


McConnell Warns GOP Won’t Vote to Raise Debt Ceiling

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is warning that Republicans won’t help raise the debt ceiling and is urging Democrats to include the spending hike in an infrastructure bill that they can pass along party lines. “I can’t imagine there will be a single Republican voting to raise the debt ceiling after what we’ve been experiencing,” McConnell told Punchbowl News.

McConnell added that Democrats should include the hike in reconciliation, the process they are using to pass a $3.5 trillion spending package by a simple majority in the Senate.

Read more at The Hill


US COVID – Cases, Mortality Inching Up

The US reported 29,578 new cases on July 16—more than 2.5 times higher than the low on June 18 (11,457)—before falling slightly on July 18 (26,011). Daily mortality also peaked on July 16, increasing from a low of 159 deaths per day on July 11 to 234 (+47%) before falling slightly to 218.

On the Vaccine Front, a total of 186 million individuals in the US have received at least 1 dose, equivalent to 56.1% of the entire US population. Among adults, 68.3% have received at least 1 dose as well as 10.0 million adolescents aged 12-17 years. A total of 161 million individuals are fully vaccinated, which corresponds to 48.6% of the total population. Approximately 59.5% of adults are fully vaccinated, as well as 7.8 million adolescents aged 12-17 years.

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of  Tuesday July 21st:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 61.8% of all New Yorkers – 11,890,620 (plus 19,626 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,262,042 (plus 1,916) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 56.1% of all New Yorkers – 10,926,403 are fully vaccinated (Plus 18,116)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,146,199 (plus 1,744) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday July 20th.  There were 5 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,041.

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 462

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.41%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.10%

Useful Websites:


Revenge of the Nerds – Lambda Variant In the US

A patient at Houston Methodist Hospital was confirmed to be infected with the Lambda variant Monday,  which first emerged in Peru in 2020, KHOU11 reported. According to a tracker by GISAID, over 700 cases of the Lambda variant have been reported in the U.S.

The World Health Organization designated Lambda, also known as C.37, a “variant of interest” on June 14. “I don’t think there’s any more reason to be concerned than before we knew about this variant,” Dr. Nathaniel Landau, a microbiologist at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine who is studying the new variants, told The New York Times earlier in July. “There’s no reason to think that this is now something worse than Delta.

Read more at Newsweek


China Floods: 12 Dead in Zhengzhou and Thousands Evacuated in Henan

Twelve people have died after record-breaking rainfall flooded underground railway tunnels in China, leaving passengers trapped in rising waters. More than 500 people were eventually rescued from the tunnels in Henan province, officials said.

Part of the Yellow River basin in China, Henan has several major river systems running through the province which are prone to flooding. Zhengzhou, which has a population of 12 million, sits on the banks of the Yellow River itself.  This region is known as an industrial center and is home to many firms critical to supply chains including Foxconn.  That company has said its operations have note been effected by the flooding. 

Read more at the BBC


Hudson Valley Unemployment Rate Falls to 5.1 Percent

The New York State Department of Labor reports that the June 2021 unemployment rate for the Hudson Valley Region is 5.1 percent.  That is up from 4.7 percent in May 2021 and down from 12.3 percent in June 2020.  In June 2021, there were 57,300 unemployed in the region, up from 52,400 in May 2021 and down from 139,800 in June 2020.  Year-over-year in June 2021, labor force decreased by 12,000 or 1.1 percent, to 1,128,400.

  • Putnam County 4.7 percent
  • Rockland County 4.8 percent
  • Dutchess County 4.9 percent
  • Ulster County 5.0 percent
  • Orange County 5.2 percent
  • Westchester County 5.2 percent
  • Sullivan County 5.3 percent

The US unemployment rate is 6.1 Percent.  It is 7.3 percent in New York State.

Read the Press Release


Apple Delays Office Return by At Least a Month as Covid Spikes

Apple Inc., responding to a surge in Covid variants, is pushing back its office re-opening by at least a month to October at the earliest and recommending that workers at its retail stores wear masks, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Store workers, vaccinated or not, are being urged to start wearing masks again, other people familiar with the matter said. In regions where local authorities have reinstated mask mandates, retail workers must comply, the company told employees. Apple had dropped its internal mask mandate in June.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook told employees in June that they should begin returning to offices by early September for at least three days a week. In an internal memo at the time, Cook cited the availability of vaccinations and declining infection rates. Some employees of the Cupertino, California-based technology giant have worked from Apple offices on certain days throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read more at Bloomberg


New Home Construction Rises

New residential construction activity increased 6.3% (at the annual rate) from May to June, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The number of new units built in June (1.64 million) is the best reading in six months. Numbers were higher in the South and West and weaker in the Midwest and Northeast.

The pace of new builds has decreased since March’s high of 1.725 million units, the strongest since July 2006. However, single-family housing starts have increased 10% since February 2020.

Read more at Census Bureau


NYS Manufacturing Alliance/Council of Industry/Department of Labor to Host Advance Manufacturing Virtual Job Fair

We are excited to partner together to offer a modern job fair simulation where manufacturing businesses and job seekers can connect in a virtual setting in real-time, while keeping the familiar feel and positive outcomes of a physical event.  The Virtual Job Fair will go live on Thursday, August 19, 2021 at 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.    

Following receipt of exhibiting businesses registrations, businesses will receive an email containing deadlines, important links for accessing the event, login credentials to “create” your booth and a Virtual Career Fair Exhibitors Guide.  This guide details information about the event, gives helpful tips and answers many frequently asked questions.  Department of Labor staff will be available throughout the process to help you with overall technical assistance. If you are interested in exhibiting, please register at the link below, by Wednesday August 4, 2021.


Shipping Container Rates to Remain Elevated Into 2022 as Demand Outpaces Capacity

Shipping container rates have spiked by as much as three or four times since the onset of the pandemic and are likely to remain elevated beyond 2022 as the global demand for goods continues to outpace available capacity. And even when the demand starts to ease container rates are unlikely to return to their previous levels.

Rates began to spike in Q4 2020, driven by the shortage of containers, and after some easing, shot up again when the Ever Given became lodged in the Suez Canal. Rates continued rising recently when an outbreak of COVID-19 infections at the port of Yantian, one of China’s busiest container ports, led to lengthy delays at the port and added additional strain to the network.

Read more at ICIS


 

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Daily Briefing – 344

Infrastructure Deal In Doubt at Today’s Deadline

A bipartisan group of Senate negotiators and senior White House officials is struggling to finish work on an infrastructure package that is now set to get its first vote today. Republicans warn there’s no chance they’ll get it all wrapped up today when Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer plans to force a vote on a motion to proceed to the bipartisan infrastructure legislation that isn’t written.

The senators have narrowed the number of outstanding disagreements in the talks to roughly a dozen, but the biggest problem of them all, how exactly to pay for $579 billion in new spending, remains unresolved. That number represents spending over current budget baselines. The total deal is estimated at $1.2 trillion over eight years or $973 billion over five years.

Read more at The Hill


NYS Manufacturing Alliance/Council of Industry/Department of Labor to Host Advance Manufacturing Virtual Job Fair

We are excited to partner together to offer a modern job fair simulation where manufacturing businesses and job seekers can connect in a virtual setting in real-time, while keeping the familiar feel and positive outcomes of a physical event.  The Virtual Job Fair will go live on Thursday, August 19, 2021 at 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.    

Following receipt of exhibiting businesses registrations, businesses will receive an email containing deadlines, important links for accessing the event, login credentials to “create” your booth and a Virtual Career Fair Exhibitors Guide.  This guide details information about the event, gives helpful tips and answers many frequently asked questions.  Department of Labor staff will be available throughout the process to help you with overall technical assistance. If you are interested in exhibiting, please register at the link below, by Wednesday August 4, 2021.


GlobalFoundries Announces New Semiconductor Fab in New York

GlobalFoundries Inc. announced July 19 it would be making a $1 billion expansion in order to address the global semiconductor shortage. According to CEO Tom Caulfield, the new expansion, a ‘fab’ for making semiconductor wafers, will increase production by 150,000 wafers a year.

The investment will expand GF’s Malta campus and add 1,000 new high-tech jobs to the site, which currently employs about 3,000 people. In remarks delivered at the company’s headquarters in Malta, Caulfield said the semiconductor-manufacturing industry is poised to expand dramatically over the next few years.

Read more at IndustryWeek


IBM Shows Strongest Revenue Growth in Three Years

IBM shares rose as much as 4% in extended trading on Monday after the Hudson Valley firm reported second-quarter earnings that came in stronger than analysts had expected.  Here’s how the company did:

  • Earnings: $2.33 per share, adjusted, vs. $2.29 per share as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.
  • Revenue: $18.75 billion, vs. $18.29 billion as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.

Revenue grew 3% year over year in the quarter, according to a statement, the fastest growth in three years, as the company laps a quarter that saw meaningful impact from the coronavirus. In the previous quarter revenue had grown 0.9%. The company reiterated its expectation that revenue will grow, rather than decline, in the full year.

Read more at CNBC


US COVID – Delta Variant Helps Push Cases Higher in Every State

Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations across the U.S. are growing steadily higher as the infectious Delta variant takes hold and the pace of vaccination subsides from highs reached in April.

The country has reported an average of 32,287 new coronavirus cases each day over the past week, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Johns Hopkins data, more than double what the seven-day average was 10 days ago. The uptick in cases has touched every state and Washington, D.C., with the seven-day average of newly reported cases exceeding the 14-day average in each place for the past four days, according to the data. Doctors and epidemiologists point to the Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, as a main cause.

Read more at the WSJ


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – 

Vaccine Stats as of  Tuesday July 20th:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 61.7% of all New Yorkers – 11,870,994 (plus 18,221 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,259,684 (plus 1,885) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 56.0% of all New Yorkers – 10,908,287 are fully vaccinated (Plus 17,168)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,144,283 (plus 1,744) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday July 19th.  There were 2 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,036.

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 424

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.31%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.99%

Useful Websites:


Federal Judge: Indiana University’s Vaccine Requirement Should Stand

A federal judge has blocked a challenge to Indiana University’s requirement that students get vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus this fall. Indiana University is one of hundreds of colleges (including SUNY Schools) mandating COVID-19 vaccinations this year.

In their complaint, the students compared the vaccination policy to the Tuskegee syphilis study and argued the university’s mandate stood in opposition to modern medical ethics. The court denied the motion for a preliminary injunction. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Damon Leichty wrote, “The situation here is a far cry from past blunders in medical ethics like the Tuskegee Study.” It’s important to understand, he said, that the university isn’t forcing anyone to get a vaccine. It’s offering students and staff options: They can either get the vaccine, apply for an exemption or find a new school to attend (or, in the case of staff, a new job).

Read more at NPR


Top Pediatrician Group Recommends In-School Masks for All

Everyone older than age 2 should wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, when schools reopen in the fall, according to updated guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics released Monday.

The leading national pediatrician group said it recommends universal masking because so much of the student population isn’t yet eligible for vaccination. It’s not clear how quickly that will change, or how likely parents will be to get their younger children dosed when the federal government approves shots for kids under 12.

Read more at NBC News


Working With COVID “Long Hauler” Employees 

“Long Haulers” is a term that was coined to describe those people who apparently have not been able to shake off the symptoms they acquired after they were first touched by the Coronavirus, sometimes as long as a year ago. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has officially named this syndrome as post-acute sequelae of COVID-19. This condition also has become known by the names Post-acute COVID-19 Syndrome, Long-Term or Long COVID.

Even as vaccines now appear to be wrestling the disease threat level down, and more people are returning to work, all of us—including employers—are still forced to deal with the ongoing reality of COVID-19, in some cases because it simply refuses to go away.

“Long Haulers” is a term that was coined to describe those people who apparently have not been able to shake off the symptoms they acquired after they were first touched by the Coronavirus, sometimes as long as a year ago. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has officially named this syndrome as post-acute sequelae of COVID-19. This condition also has become known by the names Post-acute COVID-19 Syndrome, Long-Term or Long COVID.

Read more at EHS Today


Metro-North to Resume Ferry Service

Newburgh-Beacon and Haverstraw-Ossining ferry service provided by Metro-North Railroad will resume on August 30, Railroad President Cathy Rinaldi announced on Monday. Rinaldi said the ferry service has been suspended for over a year.

Both services provide Hudson River crossing alternatives for Orange County and Rockland County residents to access east-of-Hudson commuter rail service.

Read more at Mid-Hudson News


SUNY Ulster Launches Pre-Apprentice Program

SUNY Ulster has developed the Advanced Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program. This program prepares students to enter into the many entry level manufacturing jobs here in the Hudson Valley.  This program runs on Thursdays which allows us to place students into jobs during the program if they are skilled ready as they could work Monday-Wednesday and go to school on Thursday.

It is critical that local manufacturing companies train with their local community colleges as we build the pipeline for the many jobs that we are seeing in the Hudson Valley.  

SUNY Ulster Advanced Manufacturing Pre-apprenticeship Fall 2021


Q2 Hudson Valley Housing Market -Post Lockdown Surge Continued

Council of Industry Associate Member Howard Hanna Rand Realty reports that the regional housing market continued to surge through the second quarter with prices and sales reaching all time highs, fueled by rising optimism, improving economic conditions and low interest rates. Listings rose slightly, and the inventory shortage eased a bit, but we expect that continue string demand will continue to push prices up through at least the end of the year. 

The Agency is conducting a Face Book Live event this morning at 11:00 to present the Q2 Report findings. 

Join the FB Live Event


IEA: Emissions Set to Rise to Record Levels

Global CO2 emissions are on track to reach fresh records by 2023—and to keep rising—as governments’ financial commitments to clean energy falls far short of what’s needed, the International Energy Agency warned on Tuesday.

The IEA had previously warned that global CO2 emissions would jump by 5% this year alone, as economies recover. Much of that jump will be driven by a resurgence in coal demand in Asia, contributing to the largest single-year jump since the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis.

Read more at Fortune


 

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Daily Briefing – 343

Delta Variant Moves Markets

U.S. stocks, oil prices and government bond yields slid Monday as anxiety mounted over the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant and its potential impact on the global economy. The moves were reminiscent of trading patterns that prevailed in the early days of the pandemic. Investors sold shares of companies directly affected by restrictions on movement and business, while buying government bonds and stocks that stood to benefit from renewed lockdowns.

Investors sheltered in the safety of government bonds. The yield on 10-year Treasury notes fell to 1.207%—its lowest level since February—from 1.30% Friday. Bond yields fall when bond prices climb. Oil prices fell after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and a Russia-led group of big producers agreed to raise production. Futures on Brent crude, the international benchmark, tumbled 5.7% to $69.36 a barrel, their lowest level in more than six weeks.

Read more at the WSJ


Federal Count of New York COVID-19 Deaths Far Higher Than State Reports

The federal government’s count of the COVID-19 death toll in New York has 11,000 more victims than the tally publicized by the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which has stuck with a far more conservative approach to counting virus deaths.

The discrepancy in death counts continued to widen this year, according to an Associated Press review. New York state’s official death count, presented daily to the public and on the state’s Department of Health website, stood at around 43,000 this week. But the state has provided the federal government with data that shows roughly 54,000 people have died with COVID-19 as a cause or contributing factor listed on their death certificate.

The Council of Industry Daily Briefing Uses the numbers reported by the State.

Read more at the Albany Times Union


DiNapoli: State Tax Collections Continue to Exceed Projections

State tax receipts exceeded the Enacted Budget Financial Plan forecast by $4.8 billion from April through June, the first three months of the 2021-22 State Fiscal Year, according to the monthly State Cash Report released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

Tax receipts through June totaled $30.9 billion, almost $17 billion more than received in the same period last year, spurred in part by a $13.5 billion year-to-year increase in personal income tax (PIT) receipts. Much of this change is attributable to delays in PIT filing deadlines from April 15 to July 15 in 2020 and May 17 in 2021. In addition, PIT collections received from final returns and extension requests associated with annual filings increased this year. Fiscal year-to-date PIT receipts are $3.6 billion over projections.

Read more at the Comptroller’s Website


JPMorgan Chase Survey: CEOs are Optimistic

Business optimism remains at the highest level it’s been in over a decade, according to a new survey out from JPMorgan Chase. Nearly nine out of ten executives surveyed (88%) said they are optimistic about their company’s prospects for the next six months—the highest level of optimism in the survey’s 11-year history, and more than double the rates of a year ago. The vast majority (80%) expect their revenues/sales to rise, and nearly half (46%) plan to increase their capital spending.

There are clouds on the horizon. Supply chain challenges, a tight labor market, inflation and cybersecurity all rank high on the list of business concerns for the coming months.

Read the survey at JPMorgan Chase


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – 

Vaccine Stats as of  Monday July 19th:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 61.7% of all New Yorkers – 11,852,773 (plus 11,458 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,142,539 (plus 1,019) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 56.0% of all New Yorkers – 10,891,119 are fully vaccinated (Plus 12,058)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,141,520 (plus 1,758) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday July 18th.  There were 3 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,034.

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 378

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.26%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.99%

Useful Websites:


US COVID – Cases Are Rising in States With Low Vaccination Rates… Mostly

Among the 10 states with the lowest per capita weekly incidence, 7 are in the top 10 in terms of 1+ dose vaccination, and 7 are in the top 10 in terms of full vaccination. While the majority of states with lower weekly incidence also are reporting higher vaccination coverage. There are some notable exceptions. Michigan is currently reporting the lowest per capita weekly incidence (9.2 weekly cases per 100,000 population), but it ranks #24 in terms of 1+ dose coverage (52.2%) and #23 for full coverage (48.1%). Similarly, South Dakota is reporting the third lowest incidence, but it is #28 (51.3%) and #26 (46.2%) for partial and full vaccination coverage, respectively.

Among the 10 states with the highest per capita weekly incidence, 4 are reporting among the bottom 10 in terms of both partial and full vaccination coverage—Mississippi, Wyoming, Louisiana, and Arkansas—and Oklahoma ranks just outside the bottom 10 for partial coverage (#39) but ranks #41 for full coverage. Like with the states reporting lower incidence, there are exceptions here as well. Notably, Florida is #21 (55.2%) and #25 (47.3%) in terms of partial and full vaccination coverage, respectively, but it is reporting the third-highest per capita weekly incidence (183.2).

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


WHO: More Dangerous COVID-19 Variants Likely

The pandemic is far from over and there is a high likelihood of more dangerous and difficult to control COVID-19 variants emerging while global vaccination rates remain low, the World Health Organization says. The virus is surging rapidly in Africa, with some regions facing shortages of oxygen and hospital space, WHO officials advise while reports show a dramatic drop in routine childhood vaccinations amid the pandemic — a trend that could be “catastrophic” if outbreaks of other diseases occur in areas already battling COVID-19.

Read more at United Press International


Regeneron Plans $1.8B Expansion in Hudson Valley

Regeneron has plans pending approval with the town of Greenburgh to build a research and development center and parking garage on its campus and in Thursday’s announcement said it would design, construct and fit out up to eight buildings, three parking garages and a central utility plant totaling approximately 900,000 square feet.

Regeneron’s President and Chief Executive Officer Leonard S. Schleifer said in the announcement, “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of continued and long-term investment in the biopharmaceutical industry and Regeneron is proud to pursue life-changing science and technology from our labs and manufacturing facilities in New York State The project is planned to take place in two phases over six years.

Read more at Westfaironline


OSHA Changes Focus of COVID NEP

The revised directive shrinks the number of targeted industries whose workers are identified as being most at risk for COVID-19 exposure. Those who are covered by the program still includes healthcare and some non-healthcare industry segments considered higher risk, such as meat and poultry processing, and warehousing.

The revised NEP also removes an appendix to the agency’s March directive that contained a list of secondary target industries, which apparently will no longer be subject to the enforcement initiative.  These include:  food manufacturing; beverage manufacturing; wood product manufacturing; paper manufacturing; other petroleum and coal products manufacturing; chemical manufacturing; plastics and rubber product manufacturing; nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing; primary metal manufacturing; an d asphalt paving, roofing and saturated materials manufacturing.


Trudeau to Ease Border Rules Aug. 9 for Fully Vaccinated Americans. Now it’s Biden’s move

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will loosen border restrictions Aug. 9 for fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents looking to visit Canada for nonessential travel. A senior Trudeau cabinet minister said earlier Monday that while the U.S. administration will make its own call on the border, Canada is looking forward to hearing about American changes.

“We hope that at the right moment the American government will be able to change their border measures, however, we respect that it’s their decision,” Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc told reporters in French after the announcement. “We will continue to work in a privileged way with the Americans and we hope to have news from them soon.”

Read more at Politico


Deloitte Back-to-School Survey: Tech Sales Propel Parents’ School Spending

Confidence and clarity are creating a sense of normalcy to the upcoming school year. As parents look to replenish items, back-to-school spending is projected to rise 16% YoY.  Digital learning tools are replacing traditional school supplies, driving tech sales up 37% YoY. Even as schools open, more than half of respondents plan to spend on online resources.

For school-related tech products, online retailers are the preferred destination. For traditional back-to-school products, mass merchants still lead while dollar stores gain ground.

Read more at Deloitte


Pattern Study: Housing Costs Remain Out of Reach for Many Area Renters

The report said the cost of rental housing makes the gap between what people can afford to pay and what it costs to rent in the region even wider.  An examination of the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual “Out of Reach” report shows that renters in all nine Hudson Valley counties in Pattern’s footprint would have to work far more than a full-time job in order to afford the cost of a two-bedroom apartment.

“The bottom line is that rents are simply unaffordable for the people we count on every day,” said Joe Czajka, senior vice president of Pattern and the executive director of the Center for Housing Solutions and Community Initiatives.

Read more at Mid-Hudson News


Rivian Delaying Customer EV Deliveries Until September

Rivian, the electric vehicle startup with backing from Ford Motors and Amazon, will miss a major delivery target. R.J. Scaringe, Rivian’s CEO, made the announcement in a letter to customers who had ordered the truck. In the letter, Scaringe wrote the R1T would be available in September, with the R1S available “shortly thereafter in the fall.”

The latest announcement is the second delay in deliveries. In May 2021, Rivian said the vehicles would be available in June before pushing the delivery date back a month. In the letter to customers, Scaringe said the pandemic has had “a compounding effect greater than anyone anticipated,” and noted that factory construction and component supply are among the company’s pain points.

Read more at IndustryWeek


Freedom Day – England Loosens Restrictions

Most covid-19 restrictions in England ended yesterday. (Health policy is devolved in Britain, so Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales move at different paces.) Capacity-caps for bars and restaurants have been lifted, nightclubs can reopen, and face masks are no longer required by law in public places.

Tabloids have dubbed it “freedom day”.  Polling suggests, however, a majority of Britons would like to see many of the current restrictions continue. Little wonder: some 48,000 covid-19 cases were reported in Britain on July 18th, a level not seen since Britain was in the midst of a second wave in January. In any case, this time deaths are far lower—with 25 recorded on July 18th—thanks to a vaccination campaign which, so far, has seen 88% of British adults receive at least one dose.

Read more at CNBC


 

 

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Daily Briefing – 342

Red-Hot U.S. Economy Expected to Cool 

Economists surveyed this month by The Wall Street Journal, on average, estimated that the economy expanded at a 9.1% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the April to June period. That would mark the second-fastest pace since 1983, exceeded only by last summer’s rapid rebound when businesses started to reopen and governments began easing pandemic-related restrictions.

The survey respondents see growth cooling to a 7% pace in the third quarter and drifting down to a 3.3% rate in the second quarter of 2022.  They also estimate U.S. gross domestic product surpassed its pre-pandemic levels in the second quarter.

Read more at the WSJ


Empire Manufacturing Survey: Activity Surges

Manufacturing activity surged in New York State, according to the July survey. The general business conditions index rose twenty-six points to 43.0, a record high. Half of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while just seven percent reported that conditions had worsened.

  • The new orders index climbed seventeen points to 33.2.
  • The shipments index increased thirty points to 43.8.
  • Unfilled orders rose.
  • The delivery times index fell ten points from last month’s record high to 20.2, 
  • The index for number of employees increased eight points to 20.6,
  • The average workweek index held steady at 14.0, pointing to ongoing gains in employment and hours worked.
  • The prices paid index edged down just slightly to 76.8.
  • The prices received index climbed six points to 39.4, a new record.
  • Inventories expanded considerably.

Read more at the NY Fed


Portman: No IRS “Pay-Fors” in Infrastructure Bill

Republican Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) on Sunday said the bipartisan infrastructure bill will not include improving IRS enforcement of existing laws as a way to fund the new investments.

“One reason it’s not part of the proposal  is that we found out that the Democrats were going to put a proposal into the reconciliation package, which was not just similar to the one we had but with a lot more IRS enforcement,” Portman said. “President Biden to his credit, said that we will not be renegotiating these items in the reconciliation package,” he added. Biden last month announced that he and a group of Republican and Democratic senators reached an infrastructure deal after months of negotiations.

Read more at The Hill


WHO Chief : Push to Discount COVID-19 Lab Leak Theory Was ‘Premature’

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has asked China for greater transparency in the search for the coronavirus’s origins. Tedros said the earlier push to rule out the possibility of a lab leak in Wuhan was premature: “I was a lab technician myself, I’m an immunologist, and I have worked in the lab, and lab accidents happen. It’s common.”

In recent months, the idea that the pandemic started somehow in a laboratory – and perhaps involved an engineered virus – has gained traction. China has struck back aggressively, arguing that attempts to link the origins of Covid-19 to a lab were politically motivated and suggesting that the virus might have started abroad. At WHO’s annual meeting of health ministers in the spring, China said that the future search for Covid-19’s origins should continue – in other countries.

Read more at The Guardian


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – 

Vaccine Stats as of  Sunday morning:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 61.6% of all New Yorkers – 11,841,315 (plus 17,881 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,256,728 (plus 1,928) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 55.9% of all New Yorkers – 10,879,061 are fully vaccinated (Plus 18,417)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,141,520 (plus 1,758) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Saturday July 17th.  There were 2 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,031.

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 352

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.26%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.01%

Useful Websites:


US COVID – Cases Are Rising

The US is averaging 26,306 new cases per day, more than double the low of 11,472 on June 20. Superficially, the epi curve over the past several weeks closely resembles the early stages of previous US surges. Daily mortality has increased over the past several days as well, up to 211 deaths per day from a low of 154 on July 11—a 37% increase over the past 4 days.

If this is the beginning of a longer term increasing trend in daily mortality, it would correspond to a lag of 3 weeks behind the trend in daily incidence, which is consistent with trends we have observed over the course of the pandemic. Analysis from the New York Times indicates that all 50 states are exhibiting increasing daily COVID-19 incidence over the past 2 weeks, including 22 (plus Washington, DC and Puerto Rico) that have doubled or more over that period.

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


Why Do New SARS-CoV-2 Variants Spread More Easily?

VIRUSES, LIKE all organisms, have life-cycles. Theirs are parasitic, beginning when a parent virus infects another creature and hijacks its cells to make copies of itself. This cellular invasion is helped by a protein that studs the surface of the virus, known as the spike. Changes to the spike, driven by genetic changes from mutation, alter the virus’ overall properties, particularly its capacity to spread through populations.

Changes to the shape of spike are not the only way to increase transmissibility. Delta appears to be even more transmissible than Alpha and the other variants. Ravindra Gupta, a molecular virologist at Cambridge University, and his colleagues argue that Delta’s increased transmissibility is down, in part, to a mutation that makes it easier for the protein to be cut up and thus get into cells. That can lead to virus particles which are shorn of the parts which antibodies recognize and ready to fuse with any nearby cell. It can also encourage infected cells to clump together with others.

Read More at The Economist


Hudson Valley Manufacturers add 1,400 Jobs Year on Year

Private sector jobs in the Hudson Valley rose over the year by 72,200, or 10.6 percent, to 754,000 in June 2021.  The largest gains were in leisure and hospitality (+28,900). Manufacturing gained 1,400 jobs.  Employment in the sector now stands at 41,700.

The June 2021 over-the-year job gains continued to reflect the reopening of the economy as more pandemic-related restrictions around businesses are lifted.   Year-over-year, the region’s leisure and hospitality sector grew the fastest, up 52.9 percent or 28,900 jobs.  While the region’s leisure and hospitality sector has regained a large portion of the jobs lost, it remains 19,200, or 18.7 percent below the pre-pandemic levels of June 2019.

Read the Labor Market Profile (Hudson Valley)


New Weekly Jobless Claims Reached a Pandemic-Era Low 360,000

New weekly jobless claims fell to the lowest level since March 2020, closing back in on pre-pandemic levels as the rate of new joblessness slowed further. 

  • Initial jobless claims, week ended July 10: 360,000 vs. 350,000 expected and a revised 386,000 during prior week.
  • Continuing claims, week ended July 3: 3.241 million vs. 3.300 million expected and a revised 3.367 million during prior week.

Continuing jobless claims also improved to the lowest level since March 2020. 

Read more at Yahoo Finance


US Chamber Q2 Small Business Index: Less than Half of Small Business Owners Can Find Workers

Last week, the U.S. Chamber and MetLife released the Q2 2021 Small Business Index. The Q2 index in particular focused on how the worker shortage and lack of active recruitment are having effects on small business workflow.

Among other insights, the Q2 Small Business Index finds that: 

  • 48% of small businesses with 5-19 employees say it was hard to find enough candidates to fill open positions;
  • Additionally, 44% of these sized businesses said it was hard to find candidates with the needed experience and 41% of them said it was hard to find workers with the right skills, and;
  • 26% of businesses plan to find new ways to advertise or to increase pay (24%), while 22% of small businesses plan to offer more flexible working hours and 21% planning to offer a hybrid or remote work environment.

Read more at The US Chamber 


Can You Screen for Marijuana? It’s Complicated

Marijuana is legal in some capacity—either recreationally or medically—in all but three states. Some jurisdictions have completely decriminalized it, some allow only medical use, and some localities, like New York City, have rules forbidding companies from testing for it for hiring purposes. 

As companies prepare to navigate the changing marijuana landscape, they need to think of it in two ways. First is the regulatory perspective, where you look at what’s required under the law. And the other side of the coin is almost a philosophical angle where companies should be thinking, “What kind of employer do I want to be? What kind of workplace do I want to provide? What should I do from an ethical perspective?” 

Read more at IndustryWeek


OPEC Agrees to Boost Oil Supply Amid Price Surge

OPEC said it will add 400,000 barrels each month by the end of the year and agreed to new production adjustments amounting to 1.63 million more barrels per day that will begin in May 2022. The group also agreed to extend an existing pact from April 2022 to the end of 2022, according to Reuters.  

OPEC reportedly agreed with member countries including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Kuwait, and Iraq on new output quotas. The UAE, for example, will see its baseline production rise from 3.168 million to 3.5 million barrels per day in May of 2022. 

Read more at The Hill


Intel in talks to buy GlobalFoundries 

Intel Corp is in talks to buy semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries Inc for about $30 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. 

Intel, one of the last companies in the semiconductor industry that both designs and manufactures its own chips, said earlier this year it would expand its advanced chip manufacturing capacity by spending as much as $20 billion to invest in factories in the U.S.  Any deal would likely not include the Fishkill plant which is in the process of being sold to ON Semiconductor. The plant in Malta likely would be included. 

Read more at Reuters


Samsung Considers 2nd Chip Facility in Texas

Samsung Electronics has filed for tax breaks in a second Texas jurisdiction for its proposed chip plant in Texas worth $17 billion in investment and up to 1,800 jobs. The latest incentives filing, in the Taylor Independent School District in Williamson County, projects construction beginning in the first quarter of 2022 and production starting before 2025.

Samsung reiterated in its filing that it is also looking at alternative sites in the United States including Arizona and New York, as well as in South Korea.  Should an investment be made, Samsung plans to break ground by the first quarter of next year with production due to start by end-2024.

Read more at YahooFinance


CohnReznick Manufacturing M&A Report Shows Increasing Activity

Council of Industry Associate Member Cohn Reznick Report that the Manufacturing and Distribution sector experienced healthy deal flow in Q2 2021, a period in which deals inched closer to prior years, due to the rebound taking place across most industries as COVID-19 vaccination efforts gain momentum and business activity picks back up. By the end of June, deal-making in the Manufacturing and Distribution sector began to look more like the first half of 2019. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting close.

As B2B and B2C demand continues to rise, the Manufacturing and Distribution sector has been trying to manage supply chain shortages, transportation challenges, and labor constraints, among other changes, and there may be some delay in transactions closing as these challenges are managed. While Q3 may be slower for transactions to close, we expect a massive push in Q4 to get deals closed in advance of any capital gains tax increase.

Read more at CohnReznick


Global Inflation: Don’t Panic, But Keep a Watchful Eye

In January an inhabitant of a midwestern city—Cleveland, say—could buy a three-year-old Toyota Camry for about $18,000 and fill up its 60 litre petrol tank for about $28. By May, the car would have cost them 22% more and the 16 gallons of gas 27% more. As the American economy has risen from its pandemic slumber, the prices of durable goods and commodities have soared.  The fact that prices—and in particular commodity prices—fell during the spring of 2020 meant that what are known as “base effects” would drive headline inflation up this summer.

A sustained rebound in inflation, however, would be bad news for two reasons. First, inflation hurts. Life-satisfaction surveys carried out in the 1970s and 1980s found a one-percentage-point rise in inflation reduced average happiness about as much as a 0.6-percentage-point rise in the unemployment rate. If it catches workers by surprise it erodes their wages, hurting the lowest paid the most; if it catches central banks by surprise they may have to slow the economy, or even engineer a recession, to put the beast back in its cage.

Read more at the Economist


 

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Daily Briefing – 341

Producer Prices Plus 7.3 % in June

The producer price index for final demand increased 1.0% last month after rising 0.8% in May, the Labor Department said on Wednesday. In the 12 months through June, the PPI surged 7.3%. That was the biggest year-on-year rise since in November 2010 and followed a 6.6% advance in May. Economists believe inflation has peaked or is close to doing so, noting that some prices of services depressed by the pandemic are nearing their pre-pandemic levels.

Higher commodity prices and increased labor costs due to a shortage of willing workers are boosting inflation at the factory gate. With inventories at very low levels because of supply chain issues, producers are easily passing on the higher cost to consumers.

Read more at Reuters


Powell Says Inflation Will Likely Remain High in Coming Months.

Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, told House lawmakers that inflation has increased “notably” and is poised to remain higher in coming months before moderating — but he will made no indication that the recent jump in prices is pushing central bankers to rush to change policy. He attributes high inflation numbers to factors tied to the economy’s reopening from the pandemic.

Mr. Powell’s testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, comes at a fraught moment politically and economically when it comes to inflation. The Consumer Price Index spiked by 5.4 percent in June, the biggest jump since 2008 and a larger move than economists had expected. Price pressures appear to be poised to last longer than policymakers at the White House or Fed had expected.

Read more at the New York Times


Larry Summers, White House officials Meet to Discuss Biden Agenda

Maybe Larry Summers was right. The former Treasury secretary has been warning since February that President Joe Biden’s big-spending agenda was creating the risk of an inflation spike this year, potentially cutting into the economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Summers has been among the loudest voices in Democratic circles in cautioning about the risk of a prolonged spike in prices. The White House has mostly dismissed his concerns, saying prices will ease later this year, a view shared by Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who will testify before Congress this week. Powell will likely be asked about a recent Fed survey suggesting that Americans expect inflation to surge, generally a worrying sign for central bankers.

Read more at Politico


Senate Democrats Agree to $3.5 Trillion “Social Infrastructure” Plan

Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee agreed to roughly $3.5 trillion in spending for their broad healthcare and antipoverty plan, determining the scope of the party’s expected efforts on education, climate change, child care and a host of other issues while it has control of Congress and the White House.

Democrats are pursuing a process tied to the budget called reconciliation to advance the bill through the 50-50 Senate without GOP support and avoid the 60-vote threshold typically needed in the chamber. With the top-line figures set, lawmakers will still need to craft the details of the policy provisions in the $3.5 trillion agreement

Read more at the WSJ


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – 

Vaccine Stats as of  Wednesday morning:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 61.2% of all New Yorkers – 11,767,479 (plus 18,962 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,249,011 (plus 2,366) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 55.5% of all New Yorkers – 10,803,073 are fully vaccinated (Plus 19,848)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,134,501 (plus 2,191) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Tuesday July 12th.  There were 2 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,020.

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 349

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.95%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.82%

Useful Websites:


US COVID Update – Cases Rising Again

The US CDC reported 33.7 million cumulative COVID-19 cases and 604,710 deaths. The US reported 17,753 new cases per day on July 9—a 55% increase from the low of 11,455 new cases per day on June 20—before decreasing to 15,497 on July 11.

Daily mortality also “peaked” on July 9—increasing from 150 on July 6 to 167 (+11%)—before falling slightly to 156 on July 11. These fluctuations could still be a result of delayed reporting over the US Independence Day holiday weekend. Reporting should return to normal by later this week, but it could be another week before we have a clearer picture of the longer-term trends.

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center For Health Security


Survey: Why Some Vaccine Skeptics Changed Their Minds and Got COVID Vaccination

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Tuesday found that 21% of people who said in January that they were waiting to get shots, would only get vaccinated if required or definitely wouldn’t are now vaccinated. The survey was conducted June 15-23 with a sample size of 878 adults and a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

Seventeen percent of those who are now vaccinated despite expressing hesitancy in January said they were convinced to do so by a family member, 10% said they were persuaded by a health care provider or doctor and 5% said they were convinced by a close friend.

Read more at the Miami Herald


Survey: The Skilled Labor Shortage Threatens Manufacturing’s Full Recovery

“The Resilience of Manufacturing: Strengthening people operations and bridging the talent gap amid crisis,” a study from the  Workforce Institute at UKG  based on a survey of more than 300 hiring decision-makers, found that while more than half, 54%, of manufacturers have achieved year-over-year growth workforce issues have escalated. The study found that finding talent with the right skills has been more difficult since the pandemic hit.  Before the pandemic, 38% of manufacturers faced this issue and today that number has increased to 54%. 

What’s more, turnover is up 15% over the prior year: Nearly three in five manufacturers (59%) experienced “higher-than-average” turnover from March 2020 to March 2021, compared with 44% from March 2019 to March 2020. Among multinationals, 71% said turnover was up during the first year of the pandemic vs. 52% of U.S.-only manufacturers.

See the results


New Outbreaks Cause More Global Supply Chain Disruptions

A recent COVID-19 outbreak at the Port of Yantian in South China is holding up goods in Europe, Asia and North America, according to Dun & Bradstreet’s Brian Alster. Audiovisual equipment; furniture and bedding; plastics; steel and other metals; and mechanical appliances were among the top materials found on shipments bound for the US and Canada.

“In each region, major materials that are already experiencing shortages will continue to be impacted including metals, plastic, and food – further stalling the movement of goods and impacting prices,” he says.

Read more at Supply Chain Management Review


US Manufacturing Productivity Is Falling

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from 2010 to 2019, labor productivity growth in U.S. manufacturing fell. It was the first time since the BLS started measuring this in 1988 and likely the first time in American history.  Not only did manufacturing productivity not grow over 10 years, but it actually declined. This means that more workers were needed to produce the same amount of output. The result is higher prices, lower wage growth, and less U.S. global manufacturing competitiveness.

This decline was across most industries. Out of 19 major sectors, only five saw increased productivity. And for all but apparel and leather products, the increases were minimal. The other 14 sectors saw declines in labor productivity; for example, primary metal products were 6% less productive and chemical products 12 percent less productive.

Read more at IndustryWeek 


Boeing to Reduce 787 Production after Identifying New Jet Issue

The Boeing Co. (IW500/19) will temporarily reduce production of the 787 Dreamliner plane after identifying a new issue with the jet during inspections, the company announced Tuesday.  The latest 787 problem adds to the headwinds facing Boeing even as the travel industry begins to rebound from a deep downturn caused by Covid-19, and commercial airlines announce significant new plane orders.

The aviation giant has been working with regulators at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on a system of 787 inspections after earlier production problems on the plane. The FAA described the problem as a “manufacturing quality issue near the nose on certain 787 Dreamliners in the company’s inventory of undelivered airplanes,” an agency spokeswoman said.  “Although the issue poses no immediate threat to flight safety, Boeing has committed to fix these airplanes before resuming deliveries. Based on data, the FAA will determine whether similar modifications should be made on 787s already in commercial service.”

Read more at IndustryWeek


OPEC Reaches Compromise With U.A.E. Over Oil Production

OPEC reached a compromise with the United Arab Emirates, agreeing to lift the amount of oil the cartel member can eventually pump as part of a wider agreement with Russia-led producers to boost global supplies, according to people familiar with the matter. Early this month, most delegates agreed to a deal that would call for OPEC+ to increase production by 400,000 barrels a day each month through late 2022, which would undo the remaining curbs. But over several days of talks, the U.A.E. refused to sign on.

Crude prices fell immediately after news of the deal, though they quickly recovered and were little changed in early New York trading. Brent, the international benchmark, was essentially flat at about $76.50 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate was trading around $75.10 per barrel.

Read more at the WSJ


 

 

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Daily Briefing – 340

CPI June – 5.4 Percent,  Core CPI – 4.5%

Inflation surged in June at its fastest pace in nearly 13 years amid a burst in used vehicle costs and price increases in food and energy. The consumer price index increased 5.4% from a year earlier, the largest jump since August 2008, just before the worst of the financial crisis. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting a 5% gain.

Stripping out volatile food and energy prices, the core CPI rose 4.5%, the sharpest move for that measure since September 1991 and well above the estimate of 3.8%.

Read more at CNBC


Inflation Wipes Out Wage Gains

A separate report from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that the big monthly hike in consumer prices translated into negative real wages for workers. Real average hourly earnings fell 0.5% for the month, as a 0.3% increase in average hourly earnings was more than negated by the CPI increase.

Inflation has been escalating due to several factors, including supply-chain bottlenecks, extraordinarily high demand as the Covid-19 pandemic eases and year-over-year comparisons to a time when the economy was struggling to reopen in the early months of the crisis.

Read more at Yahoo News


Clues to Covid-19’s Origins Include Anonymous Skin Sample in Italy

Members of a World Health Organization-led team studying the origins of the virus want to investigate the case of a 25-year-old Milan resident who in November 2019 visited a hospital with a sore throat and skin lesions: symptoms of a disease that wouldn’t be discovered in the city of Wuhan in China for another month. She left behind a skin sample, smaller than a dime, that in two tests conducted more than six months later yielded traces of the Covid-19 virus, according to research published in January by the British Journal of Dermatology.

Examining earlier suspected cases could help establish a timeline of the virus’s early spread, scientists say. If genetic material can be recovered, they say it could help them determine how the earliest cases might be related.

Read more at the WSJ


China Exports Accelerate, Defying Expectations

China’s exports increased 32.2% from a year earlier in dollar terms, accelerating from a 27.9% gain in May, data from the General Administration of Customs showed Tuesday. The reading was far stronger than the 23.2% growth forecast by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal, defying concerns that China’s post-Covid export boom was coming to an end.

Lockdown measures introduced in late May to tame a flare-up in Covid-19 cases in the southern province of Guangdong, an economic and export stronghold, had economists worried about a prolonged impact on trade in Shenzhen’s Yantian port, one of the world’s busiest. Tuesday’s data, however, have allayed some economists’ concerns. 

Read more at the WSJ


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – One Reported Death Saturday

Vaccine Stats as of  Tuesday morning:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 61.1% of all New Yorkers – 11,748,517 (plus 17,051 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,246,645 (plus 1,938) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 55.4% of all New Yorkers – 10,783,225 are fully vaccinated (Plus 19,165)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,132,310 (plus2,033) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday July 12th.   There were 6 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,017.

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 349

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.93%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.81%

Useful Websites:


US COVID Update – Fully Vaccinated People who Get Covid Delta Infections are Asymptomatic, WHO

People who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are still getting infected with the delta variant, but global health officials said the shots have protected most people from getting severely sick or dying.

In the U.S., officials have said virtually all recent Covid hospitalizations and deaths were occurring among unvaccinated people. Breakthrough infections are rare, and about 75% of the people who die or are hospitalized with Covid after vaccination are over the age of 65, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read More at CNBC


Fauci Predicts Vaccines Will Get full FDA Approval

Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that the FDA giving Covid vaccines full approval is “only a technical issue” and that the hundreds of millions of people across the world who have been vaccinated serve as evidence that “the effectiveness and the safety of the vaccines are very high.”

“There’s no doubt in my mind that these vaccines are going to get full approval because of the extraordinary amount of positive data,” he said.

Read more at Politico


CDC Simulation Study: Portable Air Cleaners and Masking Greatly Reduce Indoor Exposure to SARS-Cov-2 Aerosols 

Portable HEPA air cleaners significantly reduce exposure to simulated SARS-CoV-2 aerosols in indoor environments, especially when combined with universal masking.

A simulated infected meeting participant who was exhaling aerosols was placed in a room with two simulated uninfected participants and a simulated uninfected speaker. Using two HEPA air cleaners close to the aerosol source reduced the aerosol exposure of the uninfected participants and speaker by up to 65%. A combination of HEPA air cleaners and universal masking reduced exposure by up to 90%. 

Read more at the CDC


Indonesia Sees Rapid Rise in Cases

South-East Asia is swimming in covid-19. For much of 2020, it had far fewer cases than Europe and North America. But low vaccination rates, limited testing, and more transmissible variants have changed that. Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam are continually breaking their own records for daily cases.

In absolute terms Indonesia is the worst off, with the most cases in Asia after India. The daily number of new infections—probably an undercount—has grown eight-fold over the past month. The health-care system is drowning. Over the past five weeks, the number of hospital patients has more than trebled to around 81,000. Oxygen supplies are dangerously low. Overwhelmed doctors are being forced to choose which patients will receive care.

Read more at The Economist


EIA Sees US Natural Exports Falling in 2022

The EIA has broken with the ranks of most gas market analysts with a prediction that U.S. LNG exports will fall in 2022. EIA’s prediction of a year-over-year drop from a record 9.38 bcf/d in 2021 to 9.22 bcf/d would be the first decline since 2013. The forecast comes despite the likely addition of new U.S. export capacity.

The agency also projected dry gas production will rise to 92.18 bcfd in 2021 and 93.93 bcfd in 2022 from 91.35 bcfd in 2020. That compared with an record 93.06 bcfd in 2019.  Projected gas consumption would fall to 82.85 bcfd in 2021 and 2022 from 83.25 bcfd in 2020. That compares with a record 85.15 bcfd in 2019.

Read more at Reuters


Amazon Offers $3,000 Bonuses to Recruit Workers for its Orange County Warehouse

Amazon is so pressed for workers to staff the giant warehouse it just built near Stewart Airport in the town of Montgomery that it’s offering $3,000 sign-up bonuses for recruits who start before Aug. 1 and agree to work certain shifts.

The hefty incentives reflect the collision of Amazon’s rapid expansion across the U.S. with a tight labor market. The $3,000 bonuses Amazon advertised in its May 18 job posting appeared to be unusually high for the company, which has dangled $1,000 incentives but no higher in job listings for other facilities in New York and New Jersey. Job seekers also are being offered separate bonuses of $100 at the Montgomery warehouse and other locations if they’re vaccinated against COVID-19.

Read more at the Times Herald Record


McDonald’s Enhances Pay, Benefits to Attract Employees

McDonald’s is helping its US franchisees boost recruitment efforts by supporting an employee program that offers employees higher wages, tuition payments, emergency child care and paid time off. An internal presentation about the new program said it’s designed to “fundamentally change what it means to work at a McDonald’s restaurant.”

Read more at Fox Business


Striking Volvo Workers Reject a Third Tentative Agreement

In a statement released July 12, Volvo Trucks USA said it would resume production anyway at its New River Valley truck assembly plant in Dublin, Virginia under the terms of the new agreement, which was rejected by 60% of voting workers. The UAW represents 2,900 workers at the 3,300-employee plant.

While the United Auto Workers said both the strike and negotiations would continue after the failure of the third contract July 9, workers at the factory are currently set to vote a second time on the third contract July 14, which Volvo now says is its best and final offer. NRV General Manager Franky Marchand defended the latest tentative agreement, saying it “delivered significant wage gains and first-class benefits for our employees” 

Read more at IndustryWeek


 

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Daily Briefing – 339

The Brewing Battle Over Tax Hikes

An emerging proposal from the White House and Senate Democratic leaders to pay for President Biden’s infrastructure agenda is setting the stage for a major battle in Congress that will test the support of moderates concerned about hiking taxes. To date, much of the debate in Congress has focused on how to pay for a scaled-down $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package and the contours of a more expensive measure that Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to pass under a budget reconciliation process allowing Democrats to sidestep a GOP filibuster.

The brewing battle over tax policy is starting to heat up as lawmakers return to Washington for a crucial work period when Democrats will begin hashing out the budget resolution that sets in motion the legislative vehicle Democrats intend to use to pass some of the party’s biggest priorities.

Read more at The Hill


Global Tax Deal Heads Down Perilous Path in Congress

The Group of 20 major economies backed the plan this weekend in Venice, Italy, following the earlier endorsement from a broader 130-country group. The plan, aimed at limiting corporate tax avoidance, would revamp longstanding international rules and is crucial to President Biden’s plans to raise corporate taxes.  It will soon faces one of its toughest tests: the U.S. Congress.

International negotiators split their work into two separate ideas, known as pillars. Pillar One would assign more taxing power to countries with large consumer markets and pull power away from low-tax jurisdictions such as Ireland. Pillar Two would impose at least a 15% tax on companies’ world-wide earnings. Setting that floor makes it easier for the Biden administration to try raising taxes on U.S. companies without creating significant opportunities for companies to dodge taxes by shifting profits and addresses. Both pillars present tricky legislative challenges. They likely will move separately through Congress, but the international consensus rests on pairing them and completing both tasks.

Read more at the WSJ


Fed Survey: U.S. Consumers’ Short-Term Inflation Outlook Jumps

U.S. consumers expect the economy to continue its rapid resurgence from the COVID-19 pandemic over the next year, with forecasts for inflation, earnings, income growth and spending all increasing in June, according to a monthly survey released on Monday by the New York Federal Reserve.

One-year-ahead median inflation expectations jumped for the eighth consecutive month to 4.8% in June, up from 4.0% in May and marking a new series high since the survey was launched in 2013. At the three-year outlook, they were unchanged at 3.6%. Consumers also have increasing confidence in the jobs market. The average expectation that the U.S. unemployment rate will be higher one year from now dropped to a series low of 30.7% in June, down from 31.9% in May. The perceived odds of losing a job over the next year also fell to a series low.

Read more at Yahoo Finance


NYS Downscaling Mass Vaccination Sites

Four mass vaccination sites will cease operations as of Monday, July 19. The mass vaccination sites at The Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls, Plattsburgh International Airport, SUNY Polytechnic Institute – Utica, and Jones Beach will cease operations. The State will reallocate resources on localized vaccination efforts in areas that have lower-than-average vaccination rates.

The vaccination site at the New York State Fairgrounds will relocate this Wednesday. Effective Wednesday, July 14, the New York State Fairgrounds site will relocate from the Expo Center to the Arts & Home Center

Read the press release


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – One Reported Death Saturday

Vaccine Stats as of Monday morning:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 61.1% of all New Yorkers – 11,731,466 (plus 10,763 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,244,707 (plus 989) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 55.3% of all New Yorkers – 10,764,060 are fully vaccinated (Plus 11,264)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,130,277 (plus 993) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday July 11th.   There was 1 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,011.

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 348

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.88%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.76%

Useful Websites:


US COVID Update – Young Americans Aren’t Getting Vaccinated, Jeopardizing Covid-19 Fight

The reluctance of young adults to get vaccinated is a significant part of why the U.S. missed the Biden administration’s goal of getting 70% of the adult population a first dose by July 4, and it is impeding efforts to develop the communitywide immunity sought to move past the pandemic and fend off Delta and other variants.

Now government health authorities are dialing up efforts encouraging 18- to 29-year-olds to get vaccinated.  The outreach will have to overcome the hesitancy of many young adults who don’t see the urgency given their relatively low risk of severe cases, are spooked by confusing information on social media and generally feel invincible, public-health experts say.

Read more at the WSJ


FDA to Announce New Warning on J&J Vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration is planning to put a label on Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine warning that the vaccine has been linked to rare cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks part of its nervous system, the Washington Post first reported.

The syndrome is rare, and affects only about 3,000 to 6,000 people every year. The exact cause is not known, but most cases usually start a few days or weeks following a respiratory or gastrointestinal viral infection.

Read more at The Hill


How Leaders are Managing Their Own Mental Health

A survey by Verizon Media and the mental health nonprofit Made of Millions sheds new light on the emotional impact the pandemic has had on management. Fully 66% of bosses polled said they suffered from burnout over the past year, while 76% felt overwhelmed managing their people. While most (86%) acknowledged that depression and grief have become more pervasive in the workplace overall, nearly one-third (28%) reported suffering from mental health issues themselves. Just 58% of managers described their state of mental wellbeing as “healthy,” and fewer than half of those (49%) who run a small business did.

The upshot: management found itself largely ill-prepared to help workers navigate the global health crisis, as bosses strained to juggle their own wellbeing with ensuring the wellness of their people and keeping business on track during one of the most challenging times in modern history.

Read more at Digiday


Vaccine and Politics – Taiwan Tech Companies Buy 10m Covid Vaccine Doses in Deal that Sidesteps China

Major Taiwanese tech companies have inked a deal to buy 10m vaccine doses for Taiwan, sidestepping months of complicated geopolitical wrangling between Beijing and Taipei.  The US$350m purchase from BioNTech, is split between TSMC, the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, and Foxconn, one of the world’s largest contract electronics makers, and its charity foundation. The two companies will donate the vaccines to Taiwan’s central epidemic command center for distribution.

The convoluted deal, formalized on Sunday, closes the loop on a saga which tied China’s long-held but rejected claim over Taiwan to the island’s desperate need for vaccines, and allows Taiwan to procure the China-linked vaccines without the government having to deal directly with China.

Read more at the Guardian


ITIF: Reflections on President Biden’s Executive Order on Competition

Few would oppose the president’s stated goals of lowering prices, raising wages, and increasing convenience for Americans. But his executive order is not the way to achieve them.  With this order, the administration is implementing an agenda progressives call “predistribution”—the idea that “the best path forward is to deal with the underlying market forces that cause inequality in the first place.”

In other words, this is not an agenda to foster competition in order to spur growth and innovation; it is an agenda to drive redistribution of a fixed pie. The problem is that the order not only rests on the faulty assumptions that “corporate consolidation has been accelerating” and that corporate profits are the well that redistribution policies can mine, but also on the belief that growth is not needed. The real challenge to workers and consumers in the U.S. economy is not too little competition, but too little productivity growth. Rather than a redistribution agenda grounded on false premises, the administration would better serve American workers and consumers by implementing a robust growth agenda designed to ensure that average workers thrive.

Read more at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation


Retail Cargo Sees Double-Digit Increases Over 2020 Even with Disruptions

U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 2.33 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in May, the latest month for which final numbers are available. That was up 8.6% from April and up 52.2% from a year earlier. The number set a new record for the most containers imported during a single month since NRF began tracking imports in 2002, topping the previous record of 2.27 million TEU set this March. 

Ports have not reported June numbers yet, but Global Port Tracker projected the month at 2.15 million TEU, which would be up 33.8% from the same time last year. That would bring the first half of 2021 to 12.8 million TEU, up 35.6% from the same period last year.

Read more at Material Handling and Logistics


Three Ways Organizations Can Support Mental Wellbeing for their Employees

To maintain the health and performance of their workers, employers need to rethink how they perceive and promote wellbeing across the organization. Whereas benefits like corporate-sponsored gym memberships and healthy lunches have been a draw in the past, companies also now need to invest in tools, practices, and programs that support their colleagues’ health and wellbeing. 

A National Institute for Health Care Management survey found that 51% of respondents reported more mental health challenges since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting an increased need for workplace mental wellness benefits. Employers can support mental well-being by fostering a caring, stigma-free culture; adding stress-relief tools and resources; and offering educational programs to improve understanding of mental health concerns.

Read more at Benefits Pro


Machine Tool Orders Surge in May

Machine tool orders rose in May both on a monthly and year-over-year basis, AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology said today.  Orders totaled $448.1 million in May, McLean, Va.-based AMT said in a monthly report. That was up 11 percent from an adjusted $404.1 million the month before and almost double from $224.7 million in May 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic slammed the economy during the year-earlier period.

COVID-19 hit the U.S. economy starting in March 2020. Later in the year, demand rebounded for some products such as motor vehicles. A recovery has been slower in industries such as aerospace. For the first five months of 2021, orders totaled $2.02 billion, a 50 percent gain from the same period in 2020.  

Read more at SME


 

 

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Daily Briefing – 338

Economists:  Higher Inflation Is Here to Stay for Years

Economists surveyed this month by The Wall Street Journal raised their forecasts of how high inflation would go and for how long, compared with their previous expectations in April.  The respondents on average now expect a widely followed measure of inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy components, to be up 3.2% in the fourth quarter of 2021 from a year before. They forecast the annual rise to recede to slightly less than 2.3% a year in 2022 and 2023.

If the economists prove correct, Federal Reserve officials might have to raise rates sooner or more than they expect to keep inflation under control.  The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge—the overall PCE index, which includes food and energy prices—rose 3.9% in May, nearly double the central bank’s 2% target. The Fed, in a report released Friday, repeated its view that inflation has picked up this year due to bottlenecks, hiring difficulties and other “largely transitory factors” related to the economy’s rebound from the effects of the pandemic. 

Read more at the WSJ


U.S.-Manufactured Goods Exports Rebounding Strongly Year to Date

The J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI dipped from 56.0 in May, the fastest pace since April 2010, to 55.5 in June. Most of the key indicators pulled back in the latest survey, but with still-solid manufacturing activity overall and continued optimism for the coming months. Supply chain disruptions and elevated pricing pressures remain significant challenges worldwide.

For the fifth consecutive month, eight of the top nine markets for U.S.-manufactured goods had expanding manufacturing sectors in June. Manufacturing activity in Mexico remained challenged, contracting for the 15th straight month. Of the nine markets, five had some easing in their manufacturing PMIs in June, with the other four strengthening somewhat.

Read the report at  JP Morgan Chase


Biden Executive Order Aims to Spur Competition by Targeting Big Business

President Biden signed a broad executive order that aims to promote competitive markets across the U.S. economy and limit corporate dominance that the White House says puts consumers, workers and smaller companies at a disadvantage.  The order, the centerpiece of a new Democratic emphasis on restraining the nation’s most powerful companies, lays out a detailed plan to address what the Biden administration sees as trouble spots across industries.

Many contend the Biden administration is starting from a faulty premise and risks making the U.S. economy less productive as a result.  The executive order targeting the technology industry jeopardizes “free services that consumers use to message and call loved ones, get directions, connect with healthcare professionals, consume online content—including news and educational content—and much more,” said TechNet, a group that represents senior industry executives.

Mr. Biden’s order by itself doesn’t impose new requirements on the business community. The success of the White House effort could depend on how hard—and how quickly—government agencies push to implement his competition policies, which are likely to face court challenges.

Read more at the WSJ


CDC Updates Guidelines To Protect Kids From COVID In School

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is focusing on the coming school year, and its message is clear: It wants students back in the classroom.  On Friday, the agency issued updated guidance for K-12 schools, highlighting the importance of getting as many eligible children vaccinated as possible to return classrooms to normal or near normal and enumerating its list of best practices to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

The updated guidelines note that fully vaccinated staff and students may not need to wear masks at school. (But because of the CDC order requiring masks on public transportation, they would have to mask up on school buses.) For students too young to be vaccinated at this time, the CDC suggests multiple strategies to reduce the risk of transmission: notably, mask-wearing for ages 2 and up and physical distancing when possible of a minimum of 3 feet in indoor school settings (even when children are vaccinated).


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – One Reported Death Saturday

Vaccine Stats as of Sunday morning:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 60.9% of all New Yorkers – 11,720,703 (plus 15,025 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,243,718 (plus 1,394) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 55.2% of all New Yorkers – 10,752,796 are fully vaccinated (Plus 18,339)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,129,284(plus 1,554) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Saturday July 10th.   There was 1 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,010.

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 339

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.84%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.73%

Useful Websites:


US COVID Update – Mortality Declines, Delta Takes Hold

Daily incidence has increased over the past several weeks, up from a low of 11,281 new cases per day on June 20 to 14,884 on July 7, an increase of 32% over that period—including an increase of 16% over the past week. Daily mortality continues to decline, although it increased slightly on July 7. It is likely that reporting delays over the Independence Day holiday weekend are impacting the incidence and mortality figures; however, some states have transitioned from daily to weekly reporting, so the degree of impact may differ compared to earlier in the pandemic.

The CDC published updated genomic surveillance data, including Nowcast projections for June 20-July 3. In the most current official data, the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) reached 30.4% of new cases for June 6-19. The Delta variant remains #2 behind the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7; 44.2%); however, its relative proportion continues to increase rapidly, tripling from the previous 2-week period (10.1%). In the CDC’s projection, Delta is not only the dominant variant, but it accounts for more than half of all new cases in the June 20-July 3 period (51.7%).

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


Pfizer Will Seek FDA Approval of Vaccine Booster Shot in August

The company has received initial data from an early human study showing that a third dose of its existing coronavirus vaccine is safe and can raise neutralizing antibody levels by 5 to 10 fold compared with the original vaccine, Pfizer research head Mikael Dolsten said in an interview.

Once more data is in hand, Pfizer plans to ask the FDA to authorize a booster shot that could be given six to eight months after the original two doses, Dolsten said. The drugmaker is also talking with regulators in other countries and the European Union about the new results, he said. Pfizer produces the vaccine in partnership with BioNTech SE.

Read more at Fortune


How mRNA Vaccines Could Lead to New Cancer Treatments

The technology behind the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines sounds like the stuff of science fiction. But long before anyone had heard of COVID-19, researchers had been developing mRNA vaccines to fight a range of diseases and infections. These companies are using mRNA to spur cancer patients’ bodies to make vaccines that will – they hope – prevent recurrences and treatments designed to fight off advanced tumors.

If they prove effective, which won’t be known for at least another year or two, they could be added to the arsenal of immune therapies designed to get the body to fight off its own tumors. 

Read more at USA Today


Corporate Vaccine Policies Begin to Take Shape

How should companies deal with employees who don’t want to get vaccinated? As Fortune’s Jessica Mathews writes: “On Wall Street, it’s been a mixed bag. Goldman Sachs has required its employees to report their vaccination status. Bank of America, BlackRock and Morgan Stanley are only allowing vaccinated employees back in the office…Charles Schwab doesn’t have a specific policy regarding vaccines.” Fortune

Read more at Fortune


The Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey

After a year of intense uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, political instability, racial discord, and severe climate events, millennials and Gen Zs around the world are determined to hold themselves and others accountable on society’s most pressing issues.

Respondents are channeling their energies toward meaningful action—increasing political involvement, aligning spending and career choices with their values, and driving change on societal issues that matter most to them. In turn, they expect institutions like businesses and governments to do more to help bring about their vision of a better future.

Read more at Deloitte


UK Economic Growth Slowed to 0.8% in May 

Britain’s economic recovery stumbled in May when growth slowed to 0.8% after a contraction in building work and a slump in car production.  It was the fourth consecutive month of GDP growth, and followed 2% growth in April, but the slowdown in May was sharper than expected after City economists had forecast a 1.5% increase.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the manufacturing industry was hit by a shortage of computer chips that forced car companies to cut back production. As a result, transport equipment manufacturing fell by 16.5%, its largest fall since April 2020 and the worst period of the coronavirus pandemic.  Shortages of timber and steel brought many building projects to a standstill and led to the construction sector shrinking for a second consecutive month by 0.8%.

Read more at The Guardian


Industrial Real Estate Demand Rising

the spectacular growth in e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with previously forecasted organic growth, is driving a boom in industrial real estate, including warehouse and distribution center construction. The industrial real estate services firm CBRE has added some hard numbers to those projections.

E-commerce is expected to grow to represent a total of 26% of all retail sales by 2025 in the United States, creating the need for an additional 330 million sq. ft. of distribution space just to handle the increase in online ordering in that timeframe, CBRE believes. That anticipated e-commerce-generated demand for distribution space represents 27% of the projected overall demand for industrial real estate in the U.S. through 2025, CBRE Econometric Advisors calculates. The broader category of industrial real estate includes warehouses for traditional retail distribution, manufacturing, R&D space and data centers.

Read more at Material Handling and Logistics


Shippers Look for Alternatives to Costly Packaging

Prices for corrugated cardboard and other packaging materials have been rising due to increased e-commerce demand and supply chain disruptions, so shippers are looking for more economical and environmentally friendly ways to package products. Right-sized packaging and box alternatives such as padded envelopes are among tactics companies are using.

Surging direct-to-consumer sales and related last-mile delivery demands are also to blame, according to Gartner research from late 2020. When asked to rank their strategies for controlling final-mile delivery costs, more than 400 supply chain executives surveyed placed “packaging optimization” in their top three.

Read more at DC Velocity


Another 373,000 Filed New Unemployment Claims

New weekly jobless claims unexpectedly ticked higher last week in another sign of the labor market’s choppy recovery.

  • Initial jobless claims, week ended July 3: 373,000 vs. 350,000 expected and a revised 371,000 during prior week 
  • Continuing claims, week ended June 26: 3.339 million vs. 3.350 million expected and a revised 3.484 million during prior week 

Despite the past week’s slight bump higher, initial unemployment claims have been on the decline for months now, as vaccinations enabled re-openings that in turn fueled a need for workers across industries to keep up with consumer demand. 

Read more at Yahoo Finance


 

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Daily Briefing – 337

U.S. Job Openings Held at Record Level

The Labor Department yesterday said job openings rose at the end of May by 16,000, pushing the total to a new high of 9.2 million jobs in records dating back to 2000. The number of available jobs nearly matched the 9.3 million Americans who were unemployed but actively seeking jobs in May, reflecting an unusual tightness in the job market. 

Workers continued to quit jobs at a high rate as businesses competed to fill positions. The seasonally adjusted quit rate fell from a record 2.8% in April to 2.5% in May, after steadily increasing since January.

Read more at the WSJ


NYSDOL Publishes Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standards and Model Plans For Various Industries

Council of Industry Associate member Bond Schoeneck and King report that on the evening of July 6, 2021, the NYS Department of Labor (DOL) published the long awaited “Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard” (Standard), a general “Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan,” and several industry specific model prevention plans as well. 

Private employers in New York State now have 30 days, or until Aug. 5, 2021, to either adopt one of the model plans or develop an alternative plan that meets or exceeds the requirements in the Standard. Employers that choose to develop an alternative plan must adopt a plan pursuant to an agreement with the collective bargaining representative (if any), or where there is no collective bargaining representative, with meaningful participation of employees, for all aspects of the plan. Employers should carefully review the Standard and the applicable model prevention plan(s) and determine whether to adopt one of the model plans or develop and adopt a compliant alternative prevention plan.


10-Year Treasury Yield Drops Amid Signs of Economic Growth Slowing

The 10-year Treasury yield fell to its lowest level since February on Tuesday amid signs that the economic recovery from the pandemic could be slowing. While economic growth boomed in the first half of 2021 and is set to keep expanding rapidly the rest of the year, investors digested signals that much of the comeback has already occurred.

The latest numbers showed growth in the service sector of the economy slowed by more than expected in June from a record level the prior month. This follows a tick-up in the unemployment rate on Friday. “All that seems to be implying that perhaps not only was the inflation transitory, but maybe some of the growth has been transitory,” Kathy Jones, Schwab’s chief fixed income strategist, told CNBC.

Read more at CNBC


Kaseya Cyber Attack Lesson… Never Rest, Focus on Prevention

Kaseya, a provider of IT and security management solutions for managed service providers (MSPs) and small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), suffered a ransomware attack on its VSA customers. “This attack is man versus machine”said Stel Valavanis of onShore Security.rs. “Maybe we just can’t yet see that no code can be trusted.  My point is that machines are dumb. They can be fooled. They can be manipulated. They can’t be trusted. Humans will find ways to trick them and bash them around.” 

Organizations can avoid becoming victims by stopping malware at the exploitation stage through increasing resilience, reducing infrastructure complexity, and streamlining security management.  “Prevention is the best strategy; stopping attacks before they execute. This is entirely possible with next generation solutions that use AI to identify and block malware. Organizations must lead with a prevention-first approach using the fullest capabilities of AI.” 

Read more at IndustryWeek


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Wednesday morning:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 60.6% of all New Yorkers – 11,644,869 (plus 18,886 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,236,280 (plus 1,859) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 54.7% of all New Yorkers – 10,662,081 are fully vaccinated (Plus 22,895)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,120,973 (plus 2,141) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Tuesday July 6th.   There were 5 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,998. 

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 354

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.65%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.50%

Useful Websites:


US COVID Update – White House Announces New COVID-19 Strategy as Delta Spreads

President Biden on Tuesday pleaded with Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as the White House signaled a shift toward grassroots tactics to reach those who have yet to get a shot. Biden highlighted door-to-door, community level outreach and mobile vaccination clinics as ways to bring the vaccine to more Americans this summer.

The president laid out a series of steps his administration is taking to make the vaccine more accessible, with a focus on getting the shot to young people in particular. The White House coronavirus response team is planning to direct more vaccines to doctors’ offices and pediatricians so that individuals, specifically those ages 12-18, can have access to the shots.

Read more at The Hill


The Delta Variant is Spiking in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Connecticut

According to data from Scripps Research’s Outbreak.info, the delta variant of the coronavirus is surging in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Connecticut, where it is responsible for a majority of new cases. Ninety-six percent of Missouri’s new COVID-19 cases have been traced to the delta variant — the highest percentage of new cases caused by this strain for any U.S. state.

These surges in delta cases are occurring in areas that have a lower-than-average vaccination rate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average vaccination rate is 47.5 percent. Missouri’s vaccination rate is 36.8 percent, Arkansas is 32 percent, and Kansas is just below 40 percent, as reported by the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Tracker. Neighboring Connecticut is the exception. Its vaccination rate is 61.3%.

Read more at The Hill


COVID Lessons From the AIDS Crisis

It took 15 years from the emergence of AIDS to find the first effective treatments for the disease. In 1996 antiretroviral drugs, which can keep symptoms at bay indefinitely, became the standard of care (though a true cure remains elusive). As a result, AIDS was gradually subdued, going from the leading cause of death for young people to a largely manageable condition.

Nowadays, people can live long lives with HIV. American mortality data bear that out. Analysis published this week in Annals of Internal Medicine, a journal, compared the likelihood of death within five years of 83,000 people entering clinical care for HIV or AIDS with the general population. There was an 11.1% gap between the two at the beginning of the millennium. Since 2011 it fell to just 2.7%.  This is good news as researchers look at similar drugs to battle COVID. 

Read more at the Annals of Internal Medicine


Double-Digit Increase in Hudson Valley Home Sales

The City of New York was ground zero for the coronavirus pandemic leading many downstate residents fleeing to the northern suburbs and exurbs. That has been borne out by a sharp increase in home sales in the Hudson Valley counties, according to the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.

The largest percentage of single-family home sales was experienced in the second quarter of this year in Sullivan County with a 71.9 percent increase. Sales in the first six months of the year, sales rose by 67.7 percent. The median sale price rose by 31.4 percent.

Read more and see the County by County numbers at Mid Hudson News


German Industrial Production Fell in May – Supply Issues to Blame

German industrial output fell in May, data showed on Wednesday, another hint that semiconductor supply bottlenecks are slowing the recovery in Europe’s largest economy. The fall was driven by a plunge in the production of capital goods, such as machinery and vehicles, which fell 3.4%, the data showed. Consumer, intermediate goods and construction output rose.

The Federal Statistics Office said industrial output decreased by 0.3% on the month after an upwardly revised decline of 0.3% in April. A Reuters poll had pointed to a rise of 0.5%.

Read more at Reuters


Samsung Profit Jumps More Than 50% on Strong Chip Demand

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. said Wednesday morning in South Korea that its second-quarter operating profit has likely increased by 53% on a year-over-year basis, surpassing analyst estimates.

The increase was thanks to strong demand and high prices for its memory and server chips, which account for the bulk of the company’s revenue. That helped offset a slight decline in its smartphone business. Reuters reported that the company’s chip division likely saw profit jump by about 20% thanks to the strong prices of flash memory chips and higher demand for consumer electronics and data center server processors.

Read more at Silicon Angle


Real US 10-Year Bond Yield Drops to  -1.00 Percent

For months now, long-end rates have been more minded to test lower than higher. The US 10yr hit 1.75% in March, and since then, there have been some ups and some downs but mostly the latter. That same 10yr rate is now closer to 1% than it is to 2% – a remarkable state of affairs given the strength of the recovery, and more to come. At the same time, the bond market has been in a state of extremes. On the one hand it was pricing in more inflation, but on the other it did this partly through deep negative real market rates.

Yesterday the 10-year real yield (the nominal yield of a bond minus the rate of inflation) reached -1.00 percent. 

Read more at Seeking Alpha


The New Rules Of Risk, How to Dominate the Next Crisis

The global pandemic and recession will be followed by new challenges in the years to come. “There are so many moving parts,” says Leo Tilman, author of Financial Darwinism. and one of the key questions is, what are the changes—in the market environment, in consumer behaviors, in the B2B landscape—that are permanent and which ones are transitory. A lot of conversations about strategy and big-picture pivotal decisions are based on the answer to this question.”

But given the many new risks facing companies, including the proliferation of cybercrime, the heightened focus on ESG and the reputational and brand risks in the era of cancel culture, boards must work with management to find opportunity in the uncertainty. “It’s not, how do you assume a better fetal position so you can withstand the next outrage, but how can we dominate environments like this?” says General (Ret.) Charles H. Jacoby Jr., Fifth Commander of United States Northern Command and the 22nd Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Read more at Corporate Board Member


 

 

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Daily Briefing – 336

Oil Prices Hit Six-Year High Amid OPEC Standoff, Retreat on Other Producers Opening Up

Futures for West Texas Intermediate, the main grade of U.S. crude, jumped 2.4% from Friday’s close to $76.95 a barrel—their highest level since the energy-price crash of late 2014. Brent crude, the benchmark in global energy markets, rose 0.8% to $77.77 a barrel having rallied when the OPEC meeting was called off on Monday.  Prices quickly retreated, however, as traders focused on the possibility that the strife will cause some national producers to open the taps and start exporting more barrels.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, led by Russia, have continued to hold millions of barrels a day in the ground each day, limiting supplies. The U.S. has pushed the cartel to reach a deal that would allow output to rise, cooling the surge in prices. Analysts expect U.S. producers to start adding supply due to higher prices after months of subdued activity. U.S. production is currently around 11 million bpd, so output has room to increase before nearing the U.S. record of nearly 13 million bpd reached in 2019.

Read more at the WSJ


IndustryWeek’s 500 Largest US Manufactures List – COVID’s Impact Felt

Typically, the IndustryWeek U.S. 500 serves as a vital market index, measuring the impact of a full fiscal year’s worth of activity in the manufacturing sector. Typically, tallying year-end bottom- line metrics and key profitability and operational factors for the 500 largest public U.S. manufacturers provides clear and unmistakable insight into the real-world results of any micro or macroeconomic events in the industry

But 2020 was anything but typical, and the numbers it recorded serve as a stark reminder of just how painful it was.  Total revenue for this block of the industry dropped over $390 billion from 2019 and net income fell nearly $201 billion, losses felt most heavily in the petroleum and coal, motor vehicle and parts, rubber and machinery industries, which all saw revenue declines in double-digit percentages.

Read more at IndustryWeek


Problem Solvers Caucus Backs Senate Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework

Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus announced on Tuesday announced their support of the $973 billion bipartisan deal announced last month by a bipartisan group of senators.  The caucus’ decision to approve passed with 75% of the vote, with each party passing 50% in support. The caucus endorsed the infrastructure bill as a stand-alone bill and not tied to any reconciliation package. 

Democrats want the bill tied to a reconciliation package that some have said could cost $6 trillion with a focus on climate change. Republicans, led by Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, want both bills unattached.

Read more at The Hill


No Quick Fix for Semiconductor Shortage

The global microchip shortage dominating headlines for the past few months is now estimated to last well beyond 2022. Overordering, growth in 5G automation and limited production are all ongoing factors.  Greater global manufacturing capacity is the only real solution. Both TSMC and Intel are investing major capital to build out their capacities. TSMC is also promising a new foundry in the United States in order to be closer to production.

The Biden administration is attempting to inject money into this area of need and incentivizing leading companies like Intel to build new factories. But the real emphasis must be on building capacity where the consumption is taking place. Eradicating the necessity for chips to travel long distances and potentially cross testy borders will reduce exposure to a risk like this in the future.

Read more at IndustryWeek


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Tuesday morning:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 60.5% of all New Yorkers – 11,625,983 (plus 11,799 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,234,421 (plus 1,555) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 54.6% of all New Yorkers – 10,639,186 are fully vaccinated (Plus 17,816)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,118,832 (plus 2,010) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday July 5th.   There were 7 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,993. 

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 347

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.58%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.46%

Useful Websites:


US COVID Update – Hospitalizations Continue Decline – Even ad Delta Variant Gains Traction

To chart the extent of the coronavirus pandemic, The Wall Street Journal’s trackers show the areas where Covid-19 infections are rising fastest, and trends in new U.S. cases and deaths. They also show vaccine distribution in the U.S.

The graphics below are updated regularly, using the latest data available from Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Visit the WSJ COVID Tracker


Delta, Lambda Variant and Masks

The spread of  the Delta Variant is cause for concern and has led to some discussion and disagreement and if and when to mask up to prevent its spread. More than 156 million people in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated. But even though the Covid-19 vaccines are very effective against all the known coronavirus variants, including the highly transmissible delta variant that is spreading rapidly, some communities and physicians are urging a return to masking.

Here is a sample of the opinions based on what we know  about COVID and Delta so far.

Read more and NBC News


Delta, Lambda Variant and Vaccines

In research from Israel the Pfizer Covid Shot’s Effectiveness Falls To 64%.  The fall is largely due to Variants such as delta and lambda.

Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine was less effective at keeping people from getting the coronavirus in Israel in recent weeks, but it continues to provide a strong shield against severe Covid-19, according to government data. The vaccine protected 64% of people against the illness between June 6 and early July, down from a previous 94%. The drop was observed as the delta variant was spreading in Israel, the Health Ministry said. It also coincided with the lifting of virus restrictions at the start of June. (Odenheimer and Shepherd, 7/5)

Read more at Bloomberg


Eurozone Manufacturing PMI Revised to New Record

The IHS Markit Eurozone Manufacturing PMI was revised higher to a new record high of 63.4 in June 2021, from a preliminary estimate of 63.1, marking a twelfth successive month of expansion in the sector. Overall production growth remained elevated during June, close to the survey records registered earlier in the year, while new orders experienced their third-fastest ever reported increase, with new export orders again increasing sharply over the month. In addition, the pace of job creation was the fastest on record.

Manufacturers struggled to meet higher sales, as evidenced by a near series record increase in backlogs of work. Moreover, supply-side constraints again placed some restrictions on production and average lead times deteriorated to the second-greatest degree in the survey history. On the price front, input and output cost rose at an unprecedented degree. Finally, confidence about future output edged higher in June reaching a level that was close to April’s survey record

Read more at Trading Economics


Cashless Tolling Begins Today on Newburgh-Beacon Bridge

Cashless tolling begins on the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge today, July 7. Motorists will be able to drive under the gantries non-stop while overhead censors will capture either their E-ZPass ID number or their license plate. If they don’t have E-ZPass, they will receive a bill in the mail.

The other four bridges operated by the New York State Bridge Authority will convert to the new system over the next several months, said Bridge Authority spokesman Christopher Steber.

Read more at Mid-Hudson News


Boris Johnson Says England Will Lift Most Covid-19 Curbs

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said England was on track to lift almost all Covid-19 restrictions as planned on July 19, even as the highly transmissible Delta variant of coronavirus drives a new surge in infections. “This pandemic is far from over,” Mr. Johnson said at a news conference Monday, adding that the U.K. must reconcile itself to more Covid-19 deaths. But vaccines have changed the balance of risks between the burden of disease and the cost to the economy and society of continuing restrictions, he said

The move puts the U.K. in the vanguard of countries betting that vaccines will provide a durable route back to normalcy, despite the circulation of dangerous new variants. Mr. Johnson said the U.K.’s experience of Delta shows the shots have weakened, though not eliminated, the link between rising caseloads, swelling hospital numbers and spiraling deaths that characterized earlier stages of the pandemic.

Read more at the BBC


China’s State Metals Reserves Auctioned off in Double-Quick Time

In a rare move aimed at cooling a rally in metal prices that has pushed up raw material costs for Chinese manufacturers, the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration said last month it would sell 50,000 tons of aluminum, 30,000 tons of zinc and 20,000 tons of copper on July 5-6. The first round needed only one of two days allotted for all the copper and aluminum on offer to be sold.

The aluminum was sold at around 18,075 yuan ($2,797) a ton, a 5.3% discount to aluminum’s settlement price SAFcv1 on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) on Monday. For copper, bidding began at 8 a.m. Beijing time (0000 GMT)and the last lot of 146 tons was auctioned just 75 minutes later. The sale price at around 67,700 yuan a ton, a 1.6% discount to the price of ShFE copper SCFcv1 for delivery in August.

Read more at NASDAQ.com


What Companies Paid Workers in the Pandemic – Wall Street Journal Analysis Shows What Changed… and What Didn’t

While the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted millions of jobs and most businesses, many workers kept their jobs and their salaries—and some saw pay rise. Median pay changed by 5% or less either way at about a third of S&P 500 companies. It rose by more than 5% at 184 companies, and fell by more than 5% at 125.

Nearly 140 companies in the S&P 500—including Netflix Inc. NFLX 1.43% and railroad CSX Corp. CSX -0.55% —said their median worker was paid at least $100,000 last year. Four dozen, including Starbucks Corp. and Amazon.com Inc., said their median worker made less than $30,000 last year. The wages from those four companies were little changed from 2019.

Read more at the WSJ


EEO-1 Filing Deadline Is Now Aug. 23

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has pushed back the deadline for employers to submit and certify 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 data to Aug. 23. Earlier this year, the commission had set the deadline to be July 19. The EEO-1, Component 1 form collects workforce data from employers with 100 or more employees and federal contractors with 50 or more employees. These employers are expected to submit demographic information about the race, gender and the ethnicity of members of their workforce, broken down by job category.

Because of the high number of company support requests for reporting mergers, acquisitions and spinoffs and support requests to obtain user registration and login information, EEOC has a backlog of outstanding support requests, often taking up to four weeks to respond.

Read more at EHS Today


 

 

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Daily Briefing – 335

Economy Adds back 850,000 Jobs, Manufacturing Higher By 15,000

The U.S. economy added back jobs for a sixth straight month in June, with job growth picking up speed alongside the reopening economy. The biggest payroll gains in the leisure and hospitality industries. However, the labor deficit across these industries — with leisure and hospitality still down by 2.4 million jobs compared to February 2020 levels — comprises the plurality of the nearly 6.8 million total jobs the economy still has left to recover from before the pandemic. Public-sector jobs soared in June, with government payrolls up by 188,000. 

  • Change in non-farm payrolls: 850,000 vs. 720,000 expected and an upwardly revised 583,000 in May
  • Unemployment rate: 5.9% vs. 5.6% expected and 5.8% in May
  • Average hourly earnings, month-over-month: 0.3% vs. 0.3% expected and a downwardly revised 0.4% in May
  • Average hourly earnings, year-over-year: 3.6% vs. 3.6% expected and a downwardly revised 1.9% in May

Manufacturing job growth slowed more than expected, with payrolls rising by 15,000 after a gain of 39,000 in May

Read more at Yahoo Finance


OPEC+ Abandons Oil Policy Meeting Aer Saudi-UAE Clash

OPEC+ ministers called off oil output talks on Monday after clashing last week when the United Arab Emirates rejected a proposed eight-month extension to output curbs, meaning no deal to boost production has been agreed. OPEC’s Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said in a statement on Monday the meeting had been cancelled, without a date for the next one being agreed. The UAE is upset about the low baseline from which its production cuts are calculated and wants it raised. Abu Dhabi says its baseline was set too low when OPEC+ originally forged their pact.

The failure of the talks, which had partly been about an increase in oil output from next month, helped to drive up international benchmark Brent crude, which was trading 1.1% higher at above $77 a barrel.

Read more at Reuters


ISM: Prices Paid By Manufacturers at Record High

The ISM survey’s measure of prices paid by manufacturers jumped to a record 92.1 last month from a reading of 88.0 in May. Consumer prices have been surging, with the Federal Reserve’s main annual inflation measure rising by the most in 29 years in May.

Though higher inflation is generally viewed as transitory, Americans should expect to pay more for goods and services until the demand-supply imbalance eases. A global shortage of semiconductors is undercutting production of motor vehicles, electronics and household appliances. The scarcity of raw materials is driving up costs for both manufacturers and consumers, contributing to an acceleration in inflation in recent months. 

Read more at Reuters


Small Manufacturers Struggle with Increased Commodity Prices

Optimus Technologies CEO Colin Huwyler joined Yahoo Finance to discuss recent supply chain pressures.

“Our industry, the broader trucking industry, is seeing significant production delays from chip shortages and things like that. And for us, we’re being impacted as well and there’s been a little focus on helping smaller manufacturers weather some of these storms. And I think that more broadly… the key takeaway is I think there needs to be investment in domestic manufacturing and I think it needs to be broad-based, can’t just focus on specific industries.”

Read more/watch at Yahoo Finance


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Monday morning:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 60.5% of all New Yorkers – 11,614,184 (plus 6,951 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,232,866 (plus 557) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 54.6% of all New Yorkers – 10,621,370 are fully vaccinated (Plus 7,089)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,116,822 (plus 594) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday July 4th.   There were 2 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,986. 

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 330

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.56%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.43%

Useful Websites:


US COVID Update – Cases Rise Slightly, Deaths Decline Sharply

The US CDC reported 33.5 million cumulative COVID-19 cases and 602,401 deaths. Daily incidence has increased over the past week or so, up from a low of 11,281 new cases per day on June 20 to 12,514 on June 30, an increase of 11% over that period. Daily mortality continues to decline, down to 206 deaths per day, the lowest average since March 26, 2020.

With vaccination progress slowing and increasing prevalence of multiple variants of concern (VOCs), including Delta, there is growing concern that the US could face localized COVID-19 surges in the coming months. While the national daily incidence is increasing only slightly, some parts of the country are exhibiting steeper trends.

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


DiNapoli: Transfer Receipts Bolster Personal Income, Cause for Concern

Recently released data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis show personal income in New York State has surpassed pre-pandemic levels by 12.8 percent. Personal income, which is comprised of wages, income earned by business owners or members of a partnership (“proprietors’ income”), dividends, interest and rent, and transfer receipts to individuals, totaled nearly $1.6 trillion in the first quarter of 2021, an increase of 51.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2020 on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. While this is a positive development, there are two causes for concern:

  • The growth is primarily due to transfer receipts, which account for more than 20 percent of personal income, well above the pre-pandemic share, and account for most of the quarter-over-quarter increase in personal income.
  • Earnings in seven industrial sectors, including the leisure and hospitality sector that was hardest hit during the pandemic, have not yet returned to pre-2020 levels.

Read more at the Comptroller’s website


US Manufacturing Activity Grows in June, But Slightly Slower

Growth in U.S. manufacturing slowed slightly in June, as supply chain problems persist and businesses say they are still struggling to find workers to keep up with demand.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Thursday that its index of manufacturing activity ticked down in June to a reading of 60.6 from 61.2 in May.

Read more at ABC News


Jobless Claims:  364,000 New Unemployment Claims, Continuing Claims at 3.7 Million

New weekly jobless claims fell back below the 400,000 level for the first time in three weeks, resuming improvements after a brief bump higher in initial filings. 

  • Initial jobless claims, week ended June 26: 364,000 vs. 388,000 expected and an upwardly revised 415,000 during prior week.
  • Continuing claims, week ended June 19: 3.469 million vs. 3.340 million expected and an upwardly revised 3.413 million during prior week.

Read more at Yahoo Finance


US Carmakers Report Higher 2Q Sales, Inventories Shrink

General Motors and Toyota saw impressive increases compared with the same quarter of 2020 when large parts of the U.S. economy remained under tight Covid-19 restrictions. GM said U.S. sales soared 40% this spring to 688,236 units.  The firm continued to see robust appetite for larger vehicles, especially pickup trucks. Just two pickup brands — the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra — accounted for about 35% of all sales.

Toyota scored a 73% increase in U.S. auto sales to 688,813 compared with the second quarter of 2020.  Both GM and Toyota have low inventories of popular models, prompting some consumers to defer purchases because they could not find what they wanted, or were put off by elevated prices. Automakers have been forced to dial back or alter production due to the semiconductor crunch, which analysts say is hitting sales as well.

Read more at IndustryWeek


Micron Expects Memory Demand to Remain Strong, Will Sell Utah Plant to Texas Instruments

Micron Technology Inc. expects memory-chip demand to remain high even as the supply of other types of computer chips meets customer needs, the company said late Wednesday as its earnings and an outlook surpassed Wall Street expectations. In a separate release, Micron said that it was selling its fabrication plant in Lehi, Utah, to Texas Instruments Inc. for $1.5 billion

On a call with analysts, Micron Chief Executive Sanjay Mehrotra said that as semiconductor supply shortages subside, memory demand will still remain high. “As that semiconductor shortage gets alleviated over time, that actually is going to create more demand for memory and storage because every end application today, you know, whether it’s analog IC related or memory, CPU cores related, all of them actually require memory and storage.” 

Read more at MarketWatch


 “Digital Covid Certificate” The EU Vaccine Passport Goes Into Use This Week

Last Week the European Union launched its “digital covid certificate”, which it hopes will facilitate freer travel around the bloc (though individual countries will ultimately determine their own restrictions). EU citizens and residents (and those of non-EU Schengen countries) can apply for a pass if they have been vaccinated, have recovered from covid-19 or have recently tested negative.

There are concerns about the scheme. One is that it is discriminatory. Only the four vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency are included, yet some European countries have opted for others, including Hungary, which has administered the Russian Sputnik V jab. Critics also worry it is risky. No one knows how long vaccine-induced protection lasts and much remains unknown about new variants. And yet, the EU is desperate to help pandemic-crippled economies by boosting tourism. As so often during the pandemic, it is a trade-off.

Read more at USA Today


Business Council/NYS DOL Workforce Survey Results

In March the New York State Department of Labor and The Business Council of New York State partnered to conduct a comprehensive survey of New York State businesses focused on workforce development. They received 1,950 unique businesses responses to the survey, representing 8,355 business locations that employ more than 130,000 workers.  The goals of this survey were to:

  • Understand the current and anticipated future needs of the business community, specifically as they relate to hiring needs, skills gaps and training.
  • Better outline, based on data, where and how to position resources related to training and hiring programs and initiatives.

The Business Council has Extended an invitation to Council of Industry members to attend the Mid-Hudson remote regional stakeholder meeting.  The virtual meetings will begin with the survey results, followed by a facilitated discussion of workforce development opportunities.

The Mid-Hudson meeting is Tuesday, July 13, 2:00 – 3:30 PM

Click here to Register at the Business Council


U.S. Chamber Poll: Hiring Bonuses Help Bring Back Workers

Earlier this week, the U.S. Chamber released new polling data revealing some of the most impactful and immediate solutions employers and elected officials can deploy in helping address the country’s deepening worker shortage crisis. At the top of the list? Hiring bonuses.  Among other insights, the data shows that:

  •  39% of unemployed Americans who lost their jobs during the pandemic and are not actively looking for work say that a $1,000 hiring bonus would increase their urgency to return to full-time employment.
  • Other incentives or developments that would encourage unemployed Americans to re-enter the workforce include work-from-home flexibility (32%) and worker vaccination requirements (23%).
  • The percentage who say hiring bonuses could attract them back to the job market was particularly high among unemployed workers age 25-34 (53%) and those with some college education but not a degree (49%).

Read more at the US Chamber of Commerce 


The Economist Offers a Global Normalcy Index

The Economist has devised a “normalcy index” to track how behavior has changed, and continues to change, because of the pandemic. the index comprises eight indicators, split into three domains. The first grouping is transport and travel: public transport in big cities; the amount of traffic congestion in those same cities; and the number of international and domestic flights. The second looks at recreation and entertainment: how much time is spent outside the home; cinema box-office revenues (a proxy measure for cinema attendance); and attendance at professional sports events. The third is retailing and work: footfall in shops; and occupancy of offices (measured by workplace footfall in big cities).

The index covers 50 of the world’s largest economies that together account for 90% of global GDP and 76% of the world’s population. 

Read more and view the graphs at The Economist


 

 

 

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Daily Briefing – 334

Jobs Are Hard to Fill, and Ideology Makes It Hard to Understand Why

The U.S. is still 7.6 million jobs short of what it had before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.  The problem isn’t a dearth of jobs. As of the end of April there were 9.3 million job openings by the Labor Department’s count, and businesses all over are complaining about how hard it is to get workers.

Some of the more popular explanations are that enhanced and extended jobless benefits have reduced recipients’ incentives to look for work and that ongoing difficulties obtaining child care have dissuaded many women in particular from returning to work. Arguments blaming one or the other fall along predictable ideological lines, but there is evidence that both are weighing on the job market. More than one thing can be true about the job market at once, and, considering the unusual set of circumstances the pandemic brought about, other factors could be contributing to hiring difficulties too.

Read more at the WSJ


Ford to Idle or Curb Output at More Plants Because of Chip Shortage

Ford said Wednesday that its pickup truck factories in Michigan, Kentucky and Missouri will reduce or stop production for much of July, while an Explorer plant in Chicago will be idled for the entire month. Other models that will see production cut or scrapped in July include the Lincoln Nautilus and Ford Escape SUVs and the Ford Mustang sports car.

The closures signal that the chip shortage will hamstring the industry well beyond the second quarter, a period that some auto executives had said would mark the worst of the supply problem.

Read More at the Detroit News


COVID-19 Vaccination Sites Run by the Government Across the U.S. are Starting to Shut Down

Covid-19 vaccination sites run by the government across the U.S. are starting to shut down. The vaccines are no longer a scarce commodity in the U.S. as supply now outstrips waning demand, and there is easier access to shots at retail pharmacies.

The shift comes as the U.S. is set to fall short of Mr. Biden’s goal for 70% of the adult population to receive at least one dose by July 4.

Read more at the WSJ


COVID-19 and US Life Expectancy

The morbidity and mortality associated with COVID-19 have resulted in decreased life expectancy* in the US, although the exact degree remains uncertain. Research recently provides evidence that these effects have disproportionately affected racial and ethnic minority populations.

One study, published in The BMJ, estimates that life expectancy in the US fell 1.87 years between 2018 and 2020 (78.74 to 76.87 years)**, compared with an average of 0.22 years of life lost in 16 other high-income countries. Compared to peer countries—including the UK, Israel, France, Denmark, Switzerland, and South Korea—the US life expectancy was 1.88 years lower in 2010, and the gap increased to 3.05 years by 2018. Based on the 2020 estimates, the gap widened again to 4.69 years. 

Read more in the BMJ


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Wednesday morning:

One Vaccine Dose

  • 59.9% of all New Yorkers – 11,524,279 (plus 27,417 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,224,246 (plus 2,714) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 53.9% of all New Yorkers – 10,510,855 are fully vaccinated (Plus 30,266)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,107,270 (plus 3,321) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday June 28th.   There were 5 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,972. 

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 364

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.40%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.33%

Useful Websites:


US COVID Update – The Latest on Vaccine Distribution

The US has distributed 381 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and administered 324 million, and it is administering approximately 614,000 doses per day. A total of 180 million individuals in the US have received at least 1 dose of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, equivalent to 54.1% of the entire US population.

Among adults, 66.1% have received at least 1 dose as well as 8.8 million adolescents aged 12-17. A total of 154 million individuals are fully vaccinated, which corresponds to 46.3% of the total population. Among adults, 57.0% are fully vaccinated, and 6.5 million adolescents aged 12-17 years are fully vaccinated.

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


Search for COVID’s Origins Leads to China’s Wild Animal Farms

A crucial next step in the hunt for Covid-19’s origins is to examine farms that supplied wild animals to the market where many early cases were found.  There’s one big problem: Almost all the animals are gone. Farmers who bred or trapped wild animals for food, fur or traditional medicine in China, including in a hilly region near the border with Laos and Myanmar, say they killed, sold or released their stock after Chinese officials ordered them early last year to stop their trade.

Scientists say the closing of such operations made sense as a precaution to stop the virus from spreading, but should be done only after thorough testing of animals and workers. If such research occurred, it hasn’t been made public. Now, the shutdown is complicating the search for the pandemic’s source and compounding mistrust between China and much of the democratic world.

Read more at the WSJ


Vaccine Mix and Match

A mix-and-match approach to Covid vaccines – using different brands for first and second doses – appears to give good protection against the pandemic virus, a UK study has found. The Com-Cov trial looked at the efficacy of either two doses of Pfizer, two of AstraZeneca, or one of them followed by the other. All combinations worked well, priming the immune system.

This knowledge could offer flexibility for vaccine rollout, say experts. The trial results also hint that people who have already received two doses of AstraZeneca vaccine could have a stronger immune response if they were given a different jab as a booster if recommended in the autumn.

Read more at the BBC


The Race is on Between Vaccines and Delta Variant – Masks May Be Coming Back

The World Health Organization has said that the transmission of covid-19 is now outpacing vaccinations. In America, the spread of the more infectious delta variant has prompted Los Angeles County to reinstate guidance that people, including those who have been vaccinated, wear masks in indoor public spaces. Moderna said that its covid-19 vaccine seems to work well against variants including the delta strain.

The variant, first detected in India, has been identified in at least 92 countries and is considered the “fittest” variant yet of the virus that causes Covid-19, with its enhanced ability to prey on the vulnerable – particularly in places with low vaccination rates.

Read more at the New York Times


CDC Director: Vaccinated People ‘Safe’ from Delta Variant, Do Not Need Masks

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday that fully vaccinated people are “safe” from the current variants and do not need to wear masks, doubling down on CDC guidance as some others call for a return to mask wearing. Walensky said that the CDC’s guidance has not changed and that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks, echoing other health experts who note that the vaccines are highly effective even against the delta variant.

The question of mask wearing has come back to the forefront given recommendations from Los Angeles County health officials, and from the World Health Organization, that even fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks indoors in public as a precaution due to the rise of the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus.

Read more at the Hill


Why Wall Street is Not (Overly) Concerned with Delta Variant

The Delta coronavirus variant, first detected in India, is now causing cases to surge in the United Kingdom. Health experts are increasingly concerned about its spread in Europe and the United States. But investors have largely brushed off the risks, confident that vaccination campaigns will prevent the need for new lockdowns.

The muted market response is largely attributable to faith in vaccines. Moderna announced on Tuesday that its coronavirus vaccine was found in lab experiments to work against emerging variants including Delta. Shares of the US biotech company jumped 5% on the news.  A study by Public Health England this month also found that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective at preventing hospitalizations from the Delta variant after two doses.

Read more at CNN


Cybersecurity Meets the Three M’s

Council of Industry Associate Member FuzeHub writes that criminologists say there are three key factors in solving crimes: motive, means, and opportunity. Motive is the reason, means are the tools, and opportunity is the occasion for criminal behavior. With cybercrime, the method also matters.

This third M, method, can provide investigators with important clues. For U.S. manufacturers, a frequent target of hackers, the way to avoid becoming a target of opportunity begins with understanding all three M’s – motives, means, and methods – of potential cyber attackers.


Survey: Workers Should Still Wear Masks in the Workplace

A survey of 2,066 U.S. adults aged 18 and up conducted June 10-14 by The Harris Poll found that a majority of Americans believe employees working on-site should wear masks even if they are vaccinated.

These attitudes highlight divergent beliefs and comfort levels among the workforce. Employers must continue to carefully navigate and incorporate these attitudes when crafting and enforcing COVID-19 safety protocols to protect all workers.

Read more at EHS Today 


Ports in Southern California Expect Another Boom Year in 2021 to 2022

What began as a crippling year as trade tariffs and the COVID-19 pandemic torpedoed imports and exports through the Port of Long Beach (POLB) and the Port of Los Angeles (POLA), the twin ports of San Pedro Bay, California, turned out to be a record-breaker by year’s end with another boom fiscal year expected to follow in 2021. 

A TEU, short for “twenty-foot equivalent unit,” is a measurement commonly used in the shipping industry that refers to the capacity of 20-foot-long steel shipping containers used to carry goods globally. After shipping rates tumbled early in the year when the pandemic first struck, both Southern California ports rebounded with a vengeance to reach a 2020 volume of 8,113,315 TEUs for the POLB, ranking it at the third place for U.S. ports, and 9,213,395.95 TEUs for the POLA, snagging the coveted No.1 slot. 2020 marked a record-breaking year for both.

Read more at Shipping News


 

 

 

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Daily Briefing – 333

Biden Touts Bipartisan Infrastructure: ‘This is a Generational Investment’

President Joe Biden argued in Wisconsin on Tuesday that the bipartisan infrastructure proposal he agreed to last week would benefit working and middle-class families around the country. Biden said: “This is a generational investment… to modernize our infrastructure, creating millions of good-paying jobs … and positions America to compete with the rest of the world in the 21st century, because China is way outworking us in terms of infrastructure.”

The fate of the infrastructure package in Congress remains uncertain. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week the House won’t take up the bipartisan infrastructure bill until the Senate passes the Families Plan through budget reconciliation, which would only require Democratic votes. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called on Democrats to back off of that plan and warned both efforts could collapse if they carry through with Pelosi’s goal.

Read more at CNN


Home Prices Surged in April

Home prices in April saw an annual gain of 14.6% in April, up from a 13.3% increase in March, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index.

Among larger cities covered by the index, the 10-city composite was up 14.4% year over year, from 12.9% the previous month. The 20-city composite was 14.9% higher, up from 13.4% in March. “April’s performance was truly extraordinary. The 14.6% gain in the National Composite is literally the highest reading in more than 30 years of S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data,” said Craig Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Read more at CNBC


Fed Officials: Employment Still Below Pre-Pandemic Levels

U.S. economic growth “has come roaring back” and some metrics including consumption, housing, and manufacturing are now “extremely healthy,” Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker said during a virtual event as part of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum.

While some workers are seeing their incomes rise, there are still nearly 7.6 million fewer people working than before the pandemic, he said. The jobs hole grows to 10.6 million jobs if you factor in the job growth taking place before the pandemic, when the economy was adding about 200,000 jobs a month, Harker said.

Read more at Reuters


NIH Study: COVID-19 Prevalence Far Exceeded Known Early Pandemic Cases

In a new study, National Institutes of Health researchers report that the prevalence of COVID-19 in the United States during spring and summer of 2020 far exceeded the known number of cases and that infection affected the country unevenly.

For every diagnosed COVID-19 case in this time frame, the researchers estimate that there were 4.8 undiagnosed cases, representing an additional 16.8 million cases by July alone. The team’s analysis of blood samples from people who did not have a previously diagnosed SARS-CoV-2 infection, along with socioeconomic, health, and demographic data, offers insight into the undetected spread of the virus and subgroup vulnerability to undiagnosed infection.

Read more at the NIH


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Tuesday morning:

One Vaccine Dose

  • 59.7% of all New Yorkers – 11,496,862 (plus 20,145 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,221,532 (plus 2,015) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 53.7% of all New Yorkers – 10,480,589 are fully vaccinated (Plus 24,933)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,103,949 (plus 2,467) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday June 28th.   There were 3 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,967. 

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 362

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.39%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.34%

Useful Websites:


US COVID Update – U.S. Poised to Fall Behind Europe on Vaccine First Doses

Some European Union countries, including Italy, Denmark and Belgium, have already passed the U.S. by the number of people who have received at least one vaccine dose, according to figures compiled by Our World in Data, an Oxford University project tracking the global vaccine rollout. 

A quick vaccine rollout is key for keeping infection rates down and deaths to a minimum, and opens the prospects to a faster economic rebound. The speed with which people are vaccinated has become even more critical in recent weeks as the highly transmissible Delta variant spreads rapidly across Europe, threatening to upend progress made in lowering the infection rate and the economy’s rebound.

Read more at the WSJ


WHO: Global Community Should Mask Up, Share Vaccines

Rising coronavirus cases in Africa and the continuing spread of the delta variant have created a dangerous situation that can only be addressed if wealthy countries share vaccine supplies with poorer countries, says World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, calling on developed countries to “just give us the vaccines.”

The WHO is also urging people to continue to wear masks and socially distance, whether they are vaccinated or not.

Read more at U.S. News & World Report


Africa: Concern Grows over Third Wave of Infections

The WHO says the number of cases and deaths in Africa has increased by almost 40% in the past week, and in some countries the number of deaths has tripled or quadrupled. Cases are on an upward trend in at least 12 countries with Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Zambia, Rwanda and Tunisia among the countries worst affected.

“This is driven by a mix of public fatigue, social mixing, ineffective use of public health and social measures, and vaccine inequity, and the spread of new variants,” according to WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. As of 20 June, which is 48 days in to the new wave, Africa had recorded around 474,000 new cases – a figure 21% higher than the increase for the same period in the second wave.

Read more at the BBC


More From the Deloitte CEO Survey – Travel and Real Estate

In the latest Deloitte CEO poll half the CEOs responding said they plan to reduce their real estate spending over the next twelve months. Only 10% see an increase. Why spend money on big city real estate if your employees are spending half their work time at home?

But on business travel, the message is more mixed. Some 55% see an increase in travel costs over the next 12 months, while only 28% see a decrease. That, of course, could mainly reflect depressed travel levels during the pandemic. But both airline and hospitality CEOs say they see signs pointing to a much more rapid business travel recovery than generally expected.

Read more at Fortune


Defining the Skills Citizens Will Need in the Future World of Work

Research by the McKinsey Global Institute has looked at the kind of jobs that will be lost, as well as those that will be created, as automation, AI, and robotics take hold. And it has inferred the type of high-level skills that will become increasingly important as a result.

The need for manual and physical skills, as well as basic cognitive ones, will decline, but demand for technological, social and emotional, and higher cognitive skills will grow. Some work will, of course, be specialized. But in a labor market that is more automated, digital, and dynamic, all citizens will benefit from having a set of foundational skills that help them fulfill the following three criteria, no matter the sector in which they work or their occupation:

  • Add value beyond what can be done by automated systems and intelligent machines
  • Operate in a digital environment
  • Continually adapt to new ways of working and new occupations

Read the results


UBS Survey – CEO’s Wary of Remote Work

UBS said last week that a survey of 675 senior executives across the UK and Europe found more leaders want to get staff back in the office full-time. “European CEOs’ support for WFH is eroding, ie 40% expect a full workweek in the office from their staff over the next 2-5 years (+3 points vs December),” UBS analysts wrote in a note sent to clients.

The survey found 88% think productivity suffers when people work from home. However the attitude of US banks contrasts sharply with the tech sector, where leaders have been far more relaxed about letting staff work remotely. Twitter (TWTR) last year introduced a “work from anywhere” policy and Facebook (FB) chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has said he plans to work remotely for at least half of the next year.

Read more at Yahoo Finance


United Airlines Places Biggest Ever Jet Order in Push for Growth

United Airlines confirmed its largest-ever order for Boeing and Airbus jets on Tuesday, lining up 270 planes in a push for post-pandemic growth with bigger jets for domestic flying. The order for 200 Boeing 737 MAX and 70 Airbus A321neo jets, worth $30 billion at list prices, will boost United’s seating capacity across it domestic network by almost 30%, allowing it to better compete for both premium and low-cost travel.

The deal builds momentum for planemakers seeking to turn the page on the COVID-19 pandemic that ravished global travel and signals a strong bet on a recovery in hard-hit business travel.

Read more at Reuters


 

 

 

 

 

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Daily Briefing – 332

Politico: Messy Budget Fight Could Upend Infrastructure Deal

President Joe Biden and Senate negotiators took their first big step toward an infrastructure deal last week. Now comes the real monster: approval of the budget that makes it all happen.

To secure the votes for a bipartisan accord, Democrats must achieve total Senate unity while walking a political tightrope in the House — where internal spats are already unfolding on immigration, climate and the debt as the party shapes a second spending bill designed to pass alongside the infrastructure compromise. 

Read more at Politico


Infrastructure Spending Promises Boost for Construction Companies, Suppliers

Plans to pump money into rebuilding the nation’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure could give companies with ties to the construction industry a solid foundation for growth.

Companies such as Caterpillar, with its heavy machinery, and construction materials company Vulcan Materials could see years of additional business as roads and bridges are rebuilt and buildings are modernized. Makers of cranes, bulldozers and other machinery are still only part of the bigger picture. Companies that make asphalt, concrete and other road and building materials are in a good position with any future infrastructure spending. Vulcan Materials and Martin Marietta Materials are among the biggest makers of aggregates in the U.S.

Read more at the AP


What We Know About the Origins of Covid-19

It is among the world’s most consequential mysteries: Where did the coronavirus that killed millions of people and shattered the global economy come from?

The Wall Street Journal has covered the global quest for answers, tracking the World Health Organization, doctors and scientists in China and around the world, the U.S. intelligence community and the vast network of disease specialists, all struggling to piece together a puzzling set of disparate clues.

Here are some of the Journal’s key findings:


Natural Gas Prices Jump To 29-Month High On Extreme Weather

U.S. natural gas prices jumped last week and early on Monday amid a tight natural gas market and expectations of high demand for electricity in hotter than usual weather in many parts of the United States. On Thursday last week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported net injections into storage of 55 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ending June 18, lower than analysts had expected. The median estimate was 62 Bcf injection into storage of natural gas stocks. The lower-than-expected stockpiles of natural gas signaled a tighter market just as the Pacific Northwest is scorching in a heatwave and high temperatures are expected to continue into July in many parts of the U.S.  

As of 8:19 a.m. EDT on Monday, the U.S. benchmark natural gas price at the Henry Hub was trading at above $3.50 per million British thermal units (MMBtu)—at $3.549, up by 1.52 percent. This was the highest price for the prompt futures in 29 months.  

Read more at OilPrice.com


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Monday morning:

One Vaccine Dose

  • 59.7% of all New Yorkers – 11,476,717 (plus 11,623 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,219,517 (plus 992) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 53.7% of all New Yorkers – 10,455,656 are fully vaccinated (Plus 14,603)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,101,482 (plus 1,531) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday June 27th.   There were 3 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,964. 

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 346

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.39%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.34%

Useful Websites:


US COVID Update – Delta Variant May Cause “Very Dense Outbreaks’

The Delta variant, a strain of Covid-19 believed to be more transmissible and dangerous than others, is likely to break out in some US communities, a health expert told CBS’s Face the Nation. “It’s not going to be as pervasive,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, told the station Sunday. “It’s going to hyper-regionalized.”
 
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 46.1% of the total US population has been vaccinated against Covid-19. Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Wyoming are among the states with the lowest vaccination rates, with less than 35% of their population fully vaccinated.

Read more at CNN


Americans Seek Mental-Health Support as Covid-19 Crisis Ebbs

In the pandemic, a wave of mental-health crises has grown into a tsunami, flooding an already taxed system of care. As the U.S. appears to be emerging from the worst of the Covid-19 crisis, emergency departments say they are overwhelmed by patients.

Doctors say it could be years before we see the full impact of the pandemic on mental health, but a host of studies indicate how strained the system has become. Emergency visits for patients seeking help for overdoses and suicide attempts rose 36% and 26%, respectively, between mid-March and mid-October of last year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in March. And U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveys have found that 38% of respondents reported symptoms of anxiety or depression between April of last year and February, up from about 11% in 2019.

Read more at the WSJ


Sydney and Darwin in Lockdown as COVID-19 Cases Pop up Across Australia

Australia’s states closed their borders as new clusters of covid-19 emerged across the country. Around 80% of Australians are now living under restrictions and their “travel bubble” with New Zealand has been suspended. Infections had been kept in check and lockdowns limited, throughout the pandemic. But the delta variant moves fast and the country’s vaccination program has been slow.

“I would rather regret us going too hard, too early than go too easy and risk it all,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner said at a news briefing after imposing an immediate 48-hour hard lockdown on Darwin and some surrounding areas.

Read more at Reuters


Hudson Valley Airport, DCC Open New Educational Facility

A plethora of officials from all levels of government gathered on the tarmac of the Hudson Valley Regional Airport, formerly known as the Dutchess County Airport, as the $16 million state-of-the-art aviation education facility was formally introduced to the community.

DCC’s Acting President Ellen Gambino hosted the opening of the “DCC@HVR” just a few weeks before the arrival of the new president at the college. “The DCC@HVR Airport facility represents our commitment to broadening aviation education in the region, said Gambino. “…with the addition of our new aviation maintenance technician programs and this outstanding education center, we are even more strategically positioned to meet the workforce needs of the aviation industry, now and in the years to come. Students who finish their training with us will be on a pathway to great jobs and successful careers.”

Read more at Mid-Hudson News


Dr. Peter Grant Jordan Appointed as President of Dutchess Community College

Dr. Peter Grant Jordan has been appointed by the State University of New York Board of Trustees to serve as DCC’s new president, effective August 2, 2021. He will succeed Dr. Pamela R. Edington, who retired in July 2020. Jordan currently serves as president of Tarrant County College-South Campus in Texas. He has a passion for the mission of community colleges, as well as being committed to access, diversity, academic quality, planning, innovation and student success.

Jordan’s appointment is the culmination of a comprehensive national search process to recruit, in the words of the chair of the DCC Board of Trustees, Michael Dupree, “a leader who will listen to all our key campus constituencies and build a vision of what that will look like. Then, to also create it. “Dr. Jordan has been at the forefront of anticipating such changes in his last role,” said Dupree. “We are fortunate to have his experience at this challenging but potentially transformative juncture.”

Read the College’s press release


DiNapoli Statement on Former Orange County IDA Officials Guilty Plea

“Industrial Development Agencies exist to economically benefit their communities, not the officials running them. The defendants corrupted the Orange County IDA through a web of conflicts of interest, false statements and pay-offs,” said DiNapoli. “Although their scheme was complex, their motives were simple: greed. We must have zero tolerance for public corruption. Thanks to our partnership with Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler and the New Windsor Police, we were able to bring their crimes to light and recover their ill-gotten gains.”

Read more at the Comptroller’s website


EEO-1 Filing Deadline Extended until August 23, 2021

Associate member Jackson Lewis Reports that the EEOC has announced the deadline for filing EEO-1 Reports has been extended.  The new filing deadline is NOW Monday, August 23, 2021.

As a reminder this year’s reporting is for both the 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 forms.

Read more at Jackson Lewis


DiNapoli Report: Albany’s Balanced Budget a Gimmick

It seems a distant memory that the Governor’s January budget contemplated significant spending cuts. Since then, an avalanche of Federal aid and a gusher of unanticipated tax revenue—most recently a $4 billion upside surprise in May’s tax receipts—put the budget outlook back in the black. A report issued by Comptroller DiNapoli last Thursday, however, flashes trouble ahead.

Extending the budget window—as does a chart on page nine of the Comptroller’s report, shown below—reveals large, yawning budget gaps growing from nearly $8 billion in 2026 to nearly $20 billion by the end of the decade. The dual expiration of American Rescue Plan funds in 2026 and a temporary hike in the PIT in 2027 sends the budget deep into the red.

Read more at the Empire Center


 

 

 

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Daily Briefing – 331

Infrastructure: Deal… No Deal… Deal…

President Joe Biden struck a major bipartisan deal on infrastructure — or did he?

“We have a deal,” Biden said on Thursday, announcing a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package that had the support of key Republicans and centrist Democrats. “We made serious compromises on both ends.” Then, Biden also said he was so committed to a second, separate infrastructure bill containing liberal policy priorities they planned to pass with only Democratic votes that he would not sign the compromise legislation unless the other passed too.

Why would Republicans vote for a $1 trillion bill some conservative activists already oppose if its passage is contingent on the enactment of a package containing many of the provisions they had stripped out during the negotiation process?  The president has since walked back his “tandem” comment, and some Republicans have accepted that, but the damage appears to have been done. 

Read more at Yahoo News


Unemployment Roles Drop Faster in States that Reduced Benefits

The number of unemployment-benefit recipients is falling at a faster rate in Missouri and 21 other states canceling enhanced and extended payments this month, suggesting that ending the aid could push more people to take jobs. Other economists and many Democrats say other factors, including lack of child care and fear of Covid-19, are also keeping many potential workers out of the labor force.

Midas Hospitality, a St. Louis-based hotel company with 44 locations around the U.S., started holding job fairs to increase staffing as coronavirus restrictions eased about two months ago. In many cases, no one showed up, said Linda Eigelberger, senior vice president for operations and marketing. Then a few weeks ago, things began to change at its Missouri locations. “It’s crazy how quickly” things seem to be ramping up, she said, noting that workers in other states where Midas operates and the federal benefits are still in place appear reluctant to re-enter the workforce.

Read more at the WSJ


Consumer Prices Surge Again

A key measure of U.S. inflation rose sharply again in May and showed prices rising at the fastest annual pace since 2008, signaling consumers can expect to pay more for goods and services over the summer as the economy recovers from the pandemic. The so-called PCE prices index climbed 0.4% in May to mark the third straight big increase, new government figures show. Over the past year consumer prices have shot up 3.9%, reflecting the biggest gain since 2008. 

A separate measure of inflation that strips out food and energy also climbed to the highest level since 1992. The core PCE price index moved up 0.5% in May. That nudged the increase over the past 12 months to 3.4% from 3.1%.

Read more at MarketWatch


US Consumer Spending Flat in May

U.S. consumer spending paused in May as shortages weighed on motor vehicle purchases, but the supply constraints and increased demand for services helped to boost inflation, with the Federal Reserve’s main inflation measure posting its biggest annual increase since 1992.

The Commerce Department said on Friday that the unchanged reading in consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, followed an upwardly revised 0.9% jump in April. Consumer spending was previously reported to have increased 0.5% in April. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast consumer spending would rise 0.4% in May.

Read more at Reuters


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – Number of Patients in ICU Statewide Falls Below 100 For First Time Since Pandemic Began

Vaccine Stats as of Sunday morning:

One Vaccine Dose

  • 59.6% of all New Yorkers – 11,465,094 (plus 18,709 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,218,525 (plus 1,503) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 53.1% of all New Yorkers – 10,441,053 are fully vaccinated (Plus 59,643)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,099,951 (plus 2,157) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Saturday June 26th.   There were 4 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,961. 

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 330

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.38%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.34%

Useful Websites:


US COVID Update – CDC: Delta Variant Increasingly Present

The CDC updated its SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance data, adding official data for May 23-June 5 and projections for June 6-19. Including the new projection period, the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) prevalence has increased from less than 1% to 20.6% over a period of 8 weeks, more than doubling in every 2-week period. Based on the current projection, the Delta variant is now the #2 variant nationwide.

Gamma variant (P.1) prevalence also continues to increase steadily, now up to 16.4% of new cases. While still technically dominant based on the estimated prevalence, Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) prevalence has noticeably decreased over the past 2 reporting periods, down from a high of 70% to 52.2% in the June 6-19 projection.  These genomic data provide further evidence that the Delta variant is poised to become the dominant variant in the US over the coming weeks. In fact, the projection indicates that Delta is already the dominant variant in HHS Regions 7 (Central; 47.5%) and 8 (Mountain; 46.4%).

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


Moderna Applies to F.D.A. for Full Vaccine Authorization

Moderna last week became the latest pharmaceutical company to apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for full approval for its Covid-19 vaccine for use in people 18 and older. F.D.A. approval would allow the company to market the shot directly to consumers, and could also help raise public confidence in the vaccine.

Full approval could also make it easier for schools, employers, government agencies and the U.S. military, which has encountered resistance to coronavirus vaccines, to mandate vaccinations. Last month Pfizer and BioNTech applied to the agency for full approval of their vaccine for use in people 16 and older.

Read more at the New York Times


Where Might a Future Coronavirus Pandemic Begin?

Scientists fear dramatic land-use changes could spur the evolution of zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19. A new map identifies where these future outbreaks might occur—which could be a valuable tool in preventing them.

Researchers analyzed more than 28.5 million square kilometers of land densely populated by Asian horseshoe bats, which live in tropical and temperate regions and are named for their large, lance-shaped noses. In total, the researchers studied more than 10,000 locations. They found areas in China to be the hottest spots, and say some areas in other parts of Asia—including Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines—and Europe could turn into hot spots.

Read more at Nat Geo


The Post-Pandemic Comeback: How Far Are We From “Normal?” E.J. McMahon Offers Some Answers

Now that the COVID-19 “emergency” is officially in the rearview mirror, how far is New York’s economy from its pre-pandemic normal level of employment and business activity? And how does this compare to other states?

In normal times, the economic rebound from some recessionary low point can be most closely tracked by focusing on monthly federal and state employment statistics that have been “seasonally adjusted” to reflect the economy’s well-established cycles of production and consumption. However, those cycles were severely disrupted during the pandemic, as the economist Alan Blinder pointed out in this recent Wall Street Journal commentary. The subhead on his piece sums up the problem: “How do you seasonally adjust for a socially distanced Christmas?”

Read more at the Empire Center


Deloitte Survey: CEOs Remain Optimistic About the Economy

Fortune has a new poll of CEOs out conducted in collaboration with Deloitte. The big takeaway is surprising optimism about the economy. Some details:

  • 53% of the CEOs believe the business effects of the pandemic “will largely be over by the end of 2021.”
  • 77% of CEOs expect their organizations growth to be “very strong” or “strong” over the next 12 months.
  • 82% expect to increase spending on technology modernization.
  • Asked in an open-ended question to name the biggest challenge they face, the CEOs mentioned “talent” more than anything else.
  • Cybersecurity was also top of mind, with 86% saying it is “highly” or “moderately” relevant to their agenda. Cryptocurrency ranked at the bottom, with only 16% ranking it “highly” or “moderately” relevant.
  • Three-quarters of CEOs believe corporate taxes are likely to rise, but concern over tax issues (only 60% said it was “highly” or “moderately” relevant) was significantly below concern over social issues (73%), and only modestly higher than concern over climate (56%).

Read more at Fortune


Timmons: Manufacturers Face Labor, Supply Hurdles

Labor shortages and outsized demand are contributing to increased prices and supply disruptions, a trend that is “causing bottlenecks in a lot of the supply chain for manufacturers who make the finished goods,” says National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons.

Manufacturing saw open positions decline initially during the pandemic, but that figure has more than doubled in recent months, Timmons says. The nation’s manufacturing skills gap, which is expected to result in 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030, could cost the U.S. economy as much as $1 trillion, according to a new study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. Manufacturers in the U.S. need to fill 4 million jobs by 2030, the study showed.

Read more/watch at CNBC


411,000 Americans Filed New Unemployment Claims Last Week, Continuing Claims Fall

New weekly jobless claims resumed declining last week but by a smaller than expected margin, underscoring the still-choppy recovery in the U.S. labor market. Thursday’s report reflects a back-to-back week with new jobless claims above the psychologically important 400,000 level. The four-week moving average for new claims also moved up slightly, rising by 1,500 to 397,750.

  • Initial jobless claims, week ended June 19: 411,000 vs. 380,000 expected and an upwardly revised 418,000 during prior week.
  • Continuing claims, week ended June 12: 3.390 million vs. 3.460 million expected and an upwardly revised 3.534 million during prior week 

Read more at Yahoo Finance


The Natural-Gas Glut Has Evaporated, Driving Prices Higher

Natural-gas prices are starting the summer air-conditioning season nearly twice as high as they were a year ago. Demand for the fuel is picking up as the world’s economies reopen and as Americans dial down their thermostats for what is expected to be a hot summer. Meanwhile, U.S. producers have stuck to the skimpy drilling plans they sketched out when prices were lower, eliminating the glut that was keeping them depressed.  

Natural-gas futures ended Friday at $3.215 per million British thermal units, up 96% from a year ago and the highest price headed into summer since 2017. Futures traded even higher—and regional spot prices jumped—when triple-digit temperatures baked the Southwest earlier this month. Analysts expect prices to be even higher later in the year when it is time to fire up furnaces.

Read more at the WSJ


Business Groups Diplomats Urge Biden to Lift Europe Travel Ban

The Biden administration is under pressure from a major business group and diplomats to scrap a travel ban on Europeans, as investment from the continent in the United States plunged by nearly a third last year. The US Chamber of Commerce on Friday urged Washington to allow the return of European travelers “as soon as possible.”

While countries in the European Union have reopened their borders to Americans who are vaccinated or test negative for Covid-19, the United States has not reciprocated, to the frustration of the business world.

Read more at France 24


Perseverance Rover Begins Its Search for Life on Mars

NASA’s latest Mars rover is done with its testing and has embarked on its first scientific mission. After landing on the planet in February, the Perseverance rover has been busy trying out its many instruments—converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into oxygen that would be needed for manned missions, flying a helicopter and taking photos.

The rover is packed with 23 cameras, sensors, a laser and a drill-equipped robotic arm. NASA scientists will spend the next two years using the instruments to learn more about Jezero Crater and home-in on areas they might like to study in greater depth.

Read more at the WSJ


How COVID-19 is Inspiring Education Reform

Covid-19 disrupted education on a scale never seen before. By mid-April 2020 more than 90% of the world’s learners had been locked out of classrooms. Closures have lasted months, harming children’s learning (see chart 1), safety and well-being. Yet as youngsters in rich countries—the focus of this briefing—return to their classrooms, reformers hope the shock will lead to changes that will make schools more efficient, flexible and fair.

The experiences of covid-19 will probably embolden reformers who argue that schools need to do more to develop resilience in children to help them cope with shocks. Pupils who were spoon-fed by their teachers before the pandemic have found remote learning hardest, thinks Andreas Schleicher of the oecd. He says this shows that schools should be helping children learn independently, in preparation for a future in which technological disruption forces professionals to retrain frequently.

Read more at the Economist


 

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Daily Briefing – 330

Governor Cuomo Announces End to State of Emergency Effective Today

Governor Cuomo announced at a press briefing yesterday that New York State will end the Temporary Disaster Emergency established to respond to the COVID-19 crisis by Executive Order 202 and subsequent Executive Orders, effective tomorrow, June 24th. This will end the suspensions and modifications of law, and all directives contained in the Executive Orders relating to the State’s Disaster Emergency.

The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance requiring masks for unvaccinated individuals, and for all individuals on public transportation and certain other settings remains in place. Local Governments may continue to enforce mask rules in these settings.

Read the press release 


The Post-Pandemic Income Bounce Was Lower in NY Than in Most States

In a further sign of the Empire State’s weak recovery from the pandemic-induced recession of 2020, personal income in New York bounced back more slowly than the national average during the first quarter of this year, according to data released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Personal income in New York from January through March, measured on an annualized basis, was up 51.9 percent. By comparison, the 50-state change in personal income in the first quarter was 59.7 percent.

In both cases, nearly all of the income gain (91 percent in New York; 93 percent nationally) was categorized as transfer receipts to individuals, reflecting “new government pandemic relief payments provided by the [federal] Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act and the American Rescue Plan Act,” the BEA noted. The rest of the increase would have flowed through personal earnings from employment, dividends, interest and rent.

Read more at The Empire Center


Euro Zone Business Growth at 15-Year High – Price Pressures Rise

Euro zone business growth accelerated at its fastest pace in 15 years. The IHS Markit’s Flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index jumped to 59.2 from 57.1, its highest reading since June 2006. The expansion in euro zone manufacturing activity meanwhile matched May’s blistering record pace, with the June flash PMI estimate holding steady from May’s final reading of 63.1.

supply side disruptions and huge demand have made it a sellers’ market for the raw materials factories need. The manufacturing input prices index rose to 88.0 from 87.1, the highest since the survey began in June 1997.

Read more at Reuters


U.S. Factory Activity Rises to Record High in June – IHS Markit

Data firm IHS Markit said on Wednesday its flash U.S. manufacturing PMI rose to a reading of 62.6 this month. That was the highest since the survey was expanded to cover all manufacturing industries in October 2009 and followed a final reading of 62.1 in May.

Additionally the IHS Markit report found:

  • The survey’s measure of prices paid by manufacturers rose to the highest level since the series started.
  • Firms raised their selling prices at a quicker rate in an effort to pass on these higher costs.
  • The survey’s new orders measure slipped, noting also that firms struggled to find staff or entice workers back to employment.

Read more at Reuters


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – State of Emergency Ends Today

Vaccine Stats as of Wednesday morning:

One Vaccine Dose

  • 59.1% of all New Yorkers – 11,369,732 (plus 23,674 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,209,337 (plus 2,653) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 52.3% of all New Yorkers – 10,204,627 are fully vaccinated (Plus 32,174)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,081,267 (plus 3,971) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Tuesday June 22nd.   There were 6 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,942. 

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 486

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.36%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.33%

Useful Websites:


US COVID Update – Entering the “Long Tail”

The rate of decline in the United States’ COVID-19 incidence is beginning to taper off. This was inevitable as the US appears to be entering the “long tail” of its COVID-19 epidemic, but there is some concern that the slowing progress could be a function of increasing prevalence of the Delta variant of concern (B.1.617.2; VOC).

The US CDC publishes genomic sequencing data, both at the national and regional levels, and this week, Johns Hopkins will analyze trends in VOCs, including Delta, that could potentially impact COVID-19 incidence. At the regional level, the Alpha variant remains the dominant strain in all 10 HHS regions as of May 22, but the Nowcast projection potentially signals major changes in the coming weeks. For the period ending May 22,  the Alpha variant still represents more than 50% sequences in all but 1 region, with only Region 2 (New Jersey/New York) projected to be 49.7%. 

Read more at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security


Covid-19 Vaccine Boosters May be Necessary

Researchers and health officials suspect that the immunity against Covid-19 from the three coronavirus vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States might wane over time — possibly after a year or more — and might not protect as well against coronavirus variants that could emerge and evolve. Therefore a booster of some kind will be necessary.

Scientists at a number of companies that make Covid-19 vaccines have predicted the need for boosters within a year — but the scientific community is not in widespread agreement on this. So far, studies have shown that mRNA vaccines — those made by Pfizer and Moderna — maintain more than 90% efficacy six months after getting vaccinated. And scientists say it’s likely much longer.

Read more at CNN


Business Groups Urge Biden to Embrace Bipartisan Infrastructure Package

Business groups such as the US Chamber and Business Roundtable oppose tax hikes included in Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal and are lobbying Biden to back a bipartisan bill that pays for itself in other ways, such as user fees and unspent federal dollars instead.  The groups cited a bipartisan proposal from the moderate House Problem Solvers Caucus that would spend $1.25 trillion primarily on traditional infrastructures such as highways, roads and bridges and a $1.2 trillion bipartisan proposal backed by 21 senators as another avenue to a bipartisan bill.  

The groups launched a coalition of over 130 former government officials, trade groups and business executives calling for a bipartisan bill and are urging Biden to reject congressional Democrats’ proposal to pass infrastructure legislation through budget reconciliation without Republican support. 

Read more at the Hill


Powell Plays Down Inflation Threat

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said it’s highly unlikely that inflation will rise to levels seen in the 1970s but acknowledged significant uncertainty as the economy reopens. Mr. Powell said Tuesday on Capitol Hill that while the increases in prices have been larger than central bankers had expected and may prove more persistent, he underscored his view that shortages—including of used cars, computer chips and workers—will fade over time, bringing inflation closer to the Fed’s 2% long-run target.

Mr. Powell said that while he has “a level of confidence” in the prediction that inflation will start to subside, “it’s very hard to say what the timing of that will be.”

Read more at the WSJ


Record-High U.S. House Prices, Tight Supply Slow Sales

U.S. home sales fell for a fourth straight month in May as record-high prices amid low inventory frustrated potential buyers, a trend that could persist for a while, with builders unable to deliver more houses because of expensive lumber.

Existing home sales dropped 0.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.80 million units last month. The median existing house price accelerated a record 23.6% from a year ago to an all-time high of $350,300 in May, with sales remaining skewed towards bigger and more expensive homes.

Read more at Yahoo Finance


Boeing Awarded $169M for US Army Helicopters

Boeing Defense, Space, & Security has drawn a new U.S. Army contract in support of long-leadtime activities for full-rate production for the AH-64 Apache helicopter. The Army awarded $169,460,000 for FY 2021, though production is expected to continue through May 31, 2027. Work will be conducted at Boeing’s operation in Mesa, Ariz.

The Boeing AH-64 Apache is an attack helicopter powered by twin-turboshaft engines and armed with a 30-mm M230 artillery system, as well as facility for a mixture of missiles and rocket pods.

Read more at American Machinist


Settlement Reached in Suez Canal Ship Case

The insurers and the company that owns the Ever Given cargo ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week earlier this year announced on Wednesday that they have reached a settlement with the Egyptian government.

The Ever Given’s insurance company, the UK P&I Club did not state what the monetary terms of the settlement were. The SCA had initially demanded $900 million in compensation before lowering their demand to $550 million. Egyptian authorities seized the Ever Given in April, ordering the ship’s owner, Japanese chartering company Shoei Kisen Kaisha to cover the losses incurred over the ship’s blockage. The ship and its crew have been stuck in Egypt this entire time as the terms of compensation were settled.

Read more at The Hill


OSHA Updates N95 Mask FAQs

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the use of N95 facemasks in the workplace with the intention of reducing the potential for workers of contracting the COVID-19 virus.

The agency also has addressed its standards regarding respirators and particle size, and at the same time it explained how N95 respirators effectively protect wearers from coronavirus exposure given rumors that they are not effective in blocking the virus.


$25 Million in Child Care Scholarships for Essential Workers

Governor announced yesterday that New York State will provide $25 million in child care scholarships to all essential workers starting June 23, 2021. Essential workers include first responders such as health care providers, pharmaceutical staff, law enforcement, firefighters, transportation workers, food delivery workers, grocery store employees and others. The funding comes from federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and American Rescue Plan Act.

Child care costs will be covered for essential staff whose income is less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level (or $79,500 for a family of four) and will be paid up to market rate for each region statewide for children aged six weeks through 12 years.


Euro 2020 Final Will Stay in London

In spite of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi call on Monday for the EURO 2020 final to be moved out of London because of the spread of the Delta variant, the game will be played in Wembley Stadium.  Draghi told reporters in Berlin that he wants “to ensure that the final of the European championship does not take place in a country where contagions are growing rapidly.” Britain recorded more than 10,630 new COVID-19 infections on Monday. 

The 60,000 fans will need to be masked as part of the agreement to keep the game in London. 

Go Wales


 

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Daily Briefing – 329

Wage Gains at Manufacturers Fall Behind Growth in Fast Food

Pay for factory jobs has grown so slowly in the U.S. that manufacturers are having trouble competing with fast-food restaurants. For years, factory jobs paid significantly more than those in many other fields, especially for less-educated workers. That is changing, according to economists, manufacturers and federal data.

Since the start of 2020, jobs in many industries including restaurants and retail have posted their highest-ever hourly wages relative to wages in manufacturing, according to an analysis of federal data by The Wall Street Journal. The $23.41 that hourly factory workers made on average in April is 27% more than average pay for retail workers, according to the Labor Department, down from a 40% premium for factory workers 10 years ago. Factory work pays 56% more than restaurant and fast-food jobs, the data shows, down from 83% a decade ago. 

Read more at the WSJ


Three Plead Guilty in Orange County IDA Corruption Probe

A four-month investigation into potential corruption at the Orange County Industrial Development Agency burst into public view on Monday with three people pleading guilty. The are the agency’s former managing director, Vincent Cozzolino, its former CEO, Laurie Villasuso, and Edward Diana, a three-term county executive who served on the IDA’s oversight board for the last six years. 

At a press conference after the pleas played out over more than two hours before Judge Robert Prisco, District Attorney David Hoovler, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and others laid out what they described as a scheme of self-enrichment, facilitated by an IDA board and attorney that paid no attention.

Read more at the Times Herald Record


Economy Is Showing Sustained Progress, Powell Says

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in testimony prepared for delivery to Congress this week that the economy is growing but faces continued threats from the coronavirus pandemic. As the economy recovers from the pandemic, he also pledged continued support from policies the Fed put into place in the early days of the Covid-19 threat.

One worry is that inflation is rising at its fastest pace since the financial crisis and might force the Fed into raising interest rates faster than it wants. Powell said price pressures have increased “notably,” but repeated his belief that after special factors ease, inflation will drift back to the Fed’s longer-term 2% target.

Read more at CNBC


Some New York Mass Vaccination Sites will Downscale as the State Shifts Resources 

The State announced that \, given the statewide progress on vaccinations, certain State-run mass vaccination sites will begin to downscale and shift their resources for localized vaccination efforts. Over the course of weeks and months, a number of sites will downscale based on demand, proximity to other vaccination sites, and other locally-focused efforts. The transition reflects the State’s plan to focus resources on areas where zip code data shows the vaccination rate is lower than the statewide average.

Read more at Spectrum News


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – Pop-Up Vaccine Sites to Open at Primary Polling Places

Vaccine Stats as of Tuesday morning:

One Vaccine Dose

  • 59.0% of all New Yorkers – 11,346,058 (plus 21,525 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,206,684 (plus 2,274) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 52.2% of all New Yorkers – 10,172,453 are fully vaccinated (Plus 26,342)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,077,296 (plus 2,663) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday June 21st.   There were 8 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,936. 

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 486

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.36%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.34%

Useful Websites:


US COVID Update – CDC Study: Vaccination Coverage and Intent Among Adults – Income, Education and Ethnicity Main Factors

Overall, 34% of adults aged 18–39 years reported having received a COVID-19 vaccine. Adults aged 18–24 years, as well as non-Hispanic Black adults and those with less education, no insurance, and lower household incomes, had the lowest reported vaccination coverage and intent to get vaccinated. Concerns about vaccine safety and effectiveness were commonly cited barriers to vaccination.

Among persons who were unsure about getting vaccinated or probably going to get vaccinated and those who were probably or definitely not going to get vaccinated, the most frequently reported trusted information sources were CDC (44.5% and 22.7%, respectively) and primary health care providers (39.0% and 23.1%, respectively), whereas employers (4.3% and 3.0%, respectively), social media (4.2% and 3.4%, respectively), and religious organizations (2.5% and 5.2%, respectively) were the least frequently reported sources.

Read more at the CDC


US to Fall Short of Global COVID-19 Vaccine Sharing Goal

President Joe Biden is expected to fall short of his commitment to shipping 80 million COVID-19 vaccine doses abroad by the end of June because of regulatory and other hurdles. Officials said that while the U.S.-produced doses are ready, deliveries have been delayed due to U.S. and recipient legal, logistical and regulatory requirements. 

The White House announced the final allocations for the doses, with 60 million shots going to the global COVAX vaccine sharing alliance and 20 million being directed to specific partners. But fewer than 10 million doses have been shipped around the world, including 2.5 million doses delivered to Taiwan over the weekend, and about 1 million doses delivered to Mexico, Canada and South Korea earlier this month.

Read more at Fortune


More Than 80 million People, a Record Number, Have Health Coverage Through Medicaid and CHIP

Almost 10 million Americans enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), according to data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Monday afternoon.

CMS found that enrollments increased by nearly 14% from February 2020, which the PHE was declared, through January 2021. The total enrollment for both Medicaid and CHIP programs topped 80.5 million people by the end of January, including more than 38.3 million children. 

Read more at Health Leaders


Supply Crunch Risks Extending Into 2022, Stoking Inflation

Economists and business executives now say those supply-chain disruptions, key labor shortages and resurgent demand driven by multiple rounds of fiscal stimulus will persist through the end of the year, if not longer.  

The squeeze on U.S. businesses shows little sign of letting up, particularly in the manufacturing sector.  The pace of manufacturing production and hiring slowed in May from the prior month even though new orders and order backlogs accelerated, according to the May Purchasing Managers Index published by the Institute for Supply Management.

Read more in the WSJ 


Pending Legislation Would Revamp Strategic National Stockpile

US Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) on June 8 unveiled the bipartisan Strengthening America’s Strategic National Stockpile Act of 2021, S. 1974, which would amend the Public Health Service Act to improve the SNS. US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) on May 28 introduced the companion bill, H.R. 3635, in her chamber with 15 original cosponsors.

Maintained by the United States government, the SNS is the nation’s repository of antibiotics, vaccines, chemical antidotes, antitoxins, medical countermeasures, and other critical medical supplies. The role of the SNS is to supplement state and local medical supplies and equipment during public health emergencies when the immediate supply of these materials may not be available or sufficient, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  The proposed  legislation would overhaul the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), expand domestic manufacturing of medical supplies and improve America’s preparedness for public health emergencies. 

Read more at Homeland Preparedness News


Exxon Prepares to Cull U.S. White-Collar Ranks Through Performance Reviews

Exxon Mobil Corp. is preparing to reduce headcount at its U.S. offices by between 5% and 10% annually for the next three to five years by using its performance-evaluation system to suss out low performers, according to people familiar with the matter. Exxon had 72,000 employees globally at the end of last year, of which 40% worked in the U.S..

The cuts will target the lowest-rated employees relative to peers, and for that reason will not be characterized as layoffs, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public. While such workers are typically put on a so-called performance improvement plan, many are expected to eventually leave on their own. This year’s evaluation is happening now but affected employees have not yet been notified, the people said.

Read more at Yahoo Finance


Survey: Employees Lax Cybersecurity Habits Major Concern

A third of employees picked up bad cyber security behaviors while working from home, according to Tessian’s Back to Work Security Behaviors report. Most employers are wary that the post-pandemic hybrid workforce would bring those bad cybersecurity behaviors to the office.

More than half (56%) of employers believed that employees had picked bad security practices while working remotely. Similarly, nearly two-fifths (39%) of employees also admitted that their employee behaviors differed significantly while working from home compared to the office.

Read more at CPO Magazine


Hudson Valley Unemployment Rates

The May 2021 unemployment rate for the Hudson Valley Region is 4.6 percent.  That is down from 5.2 percent in April 2021 and down from 12.2 percent in May 2020.  In May 2021, there were 51,300 unemployed in the region, down from 58,000 in April 2021 and down from 135,000 in May 2020.  Year-over-year in May 2021, labor force increased by 3,300 or 0.3 percent, to 1,108,800.

Below are the County rates for May 2021.

  • Putnam County 4.2 percent
  • Rockland County 4.3 percent
  • Dutchess County 4.4 percent
  • Ulster County 4.6 percent
  • Orange County 4.7 percent
  • Westchester County 4.8 percent
  • Sullivan County 5.1 percent

County Unemployment Rate Rank


 

 

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Daily Briefing – 328

Tight Labor Market Returns the Upper Hand to American Workers

Low-wage workers found something unexpected in the economy’s recovery from the pandemic: leverage. Kyle Mathews, 27 years old, is among the workers benefiting. He had worked at a large grocery store for about four years in various positions. He said he was frustrated by the pay of about $14 an hour, the top of the store’s pay scale, and the long hours. 

In February, he visited a staffing firm and quickly lined up several interviews. He quizzed potential employers about company culture and advancement opportunities. He landed a half dozen offers and accepted a position at ColorHub, which prints graphics on packaging, store displays and signage.  His new job pays $16 an hour, plus overtime, and he is training for a role as a higher-skill machine operator that would pay an additional $2 an hour. “The company is growing, and I’m excited to see where it takes me,” he said. 


Economist Intelligence Unit: North America Will Not See Significant Reshoring

There is growing optimism among policymakers in the US around developing a North American alternative to Asia-based supply chains. The EIU believes these expectations are overblown, with businesses favouring the convenience, reliability and cost-effectiveness of Asia.

North America boasts several advantages—including years of economic integration, a large free-trade area, short travel times and new opportunities for policy coordination under USMCA. However, a number of obstacles will prevent businesses and investors from viewing North America as a realistic production substitute for Asia, at least through the medium term. Of particular relevance will be Asia’s more successful mitigation of coronavirus disruptions to production and trade, as well as Asia’s established, reliable and low-cost manufacturing capabilities. 

Read more at EIU


Biden’s CDC Chief Isn’t Sure About Return to “Normal” 

During the first months of the Biden era, the CDC has scrambled to clearly communicate some of the most critical federal policies on Covid-19, and to balance the narrative that life is returning to normal for those fully vaccinated and that Covid-19 still posed an incredible risk to those who were not.  Now the agency faces its biggest test since Walensky was installed: loosening its public safety guidance as the pandemic recedes, while simultaneously trying to prevent infection rates from spiking in undervaccinated communities. Adding to the difficulty, the highly transmissible Delta virus variant is gaining ground across the country.

Getting it right requires synthesizing complex virology and public health and behavioral science findings about Covid-19 in an easy-to-understand way for the public, while ensuring that the White House is on board with the CDC’s conclusions.

Read more at Politico


Border Closures with Canada, Mexico Extended Through July 21

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending restrictions on nonessential travel between the United States and Mexico and Canada through July 21 in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The restrictions on nonessential travel between the U.S. and Mexico and Canada were set to expire Monday, after the department last month decided to continue the pandemic-era regulations until June 21.

The department said there have been “positive developments in recent weeks,” adding that it is working with “other U.S. agencies in the White House’s expert working groups with Canada and Mexico to identify the conditions under which restrictions may be eased safely and sustainably.”

Read more at The Hill


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – Pop-Up Vaccine Sites to Open at Primary Polling Places

Vaccine Stats as of Monday morning:

One Vaccine Dose

  • 58.9% of all New Yorkers – 11,324,533 (plus 12,168 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,204,410 (plus 1,098) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 52.0% of all New Yorkers – 10,146,111 are fully vaccinated (Plus 21,640)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,074,633 (plus 2,247) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday June 20th.   There were 10 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,928. 

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 491

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.37%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.33%

Useful Websites:


US  COVID Update- ‘Two Americas’ May Emerge as Delta Variant Spreads and Vaccination Rates Drop

With Covid vaccination penetration in the US likely to fall short of Joe Biden’s 70% by Fourth of July target, pandemic analysts are warning that vaccine incentives are losing traction and that “two Americas” may emerge as the aggressive Delta variant becomes the dominant US strain.

Efforts to boost vaccination rates have come through a variety of incentives, from free hamburgers to free beer, college scholarships and even million-dollar lottery prizes. But of the efforts to entice people to get their shots some have lost their initial impact, or failed to land effectively at all. “It’s just not working,” Irwin Redlener at the Pandemic Resource and Response Initiative at Columbia University, told Politico. “People aren’t buying it.”

Read more at The Guardian


NY Fed Study – Market Concentration Among Large US Firms and Foreign Competition

A number of studies have documented that market concentration among U.S. firms has increased over the last decades, as large firms have grown more dominant. In a new study, we examine whether this rising domestic concentration means that large U.S. firms have more market power in the manufacturing sector. This research argues that increasing foreign competition over the last few decades has in fact REDUCED U.S. firms’ market power in manufacturing.

In light of the predictions of many trade models, the  study’s findings suggest that the market power of large U.S. firms has actually fallen in many industries since their share in the overall market has declined. In sum, the analysis suggests that the increasing concentration among U.S. firms themselves is entirely consistent with lower markups of these firms because of tougher import competition.

Read more at the NY Fed


CNH Industrial to Acquire Raven Industries

CNH Industrial N.V. yesterday announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of the capital stock of Raven Industries, Inc. leader in precision agriculture technology for $58 per share, representing a 33.6% premium to the Raven Industries 4-week volume-weighted average stock price, and $2.1 billion Enterprise Value. The transaction will be funded with available cash on hand of CNH Industrial. Closing is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including approval of Raven shareholders and receipt of regulatory approvals.

The acquisition builds upon a long partnership between the two companies and will further enhance CNH Industrial’s position in the global agriculture equipment market by adding strong innovation capabilities in autonomous and precision agriculture technology.

Read more at Global News


ITIF Study: the United States Needs a National Advanced Industry and Technology Agency

With the rise of China and other economic competitors, the United States requires a national advanced technology strategy, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) reports.  While there are many steps Congress and the Biden administration should take, the most important is the creation of a dedicated national technology agency. Well over 50 nations have already established such bodies

This new agency, ideally at least as large as the National Science Foundation (NSF), would lead a number of core tasks, including analyzing U.S. industry strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and responding with well-resourced solutions, including support for domestic research and development (R&D) and production partnerships and investment in advanced research facilities.  Such reorganization is difficult, but doing so is critical. NSF and the academic science community play a key role in the advancement of basic science, but that is different than supporting technological innovation and value capture in the United States.

Read more at ITIF


Newest Boeing 737 MAX Makes First Test Flight

The newest version of Boeing’s 737 MAX made its first test flight over Washington state on Friday, just months after the plane returned to service following a worldwide grounding after two fatal crashes.  Boeing currently projects commercial deliveries of the MAX 10 will commence in 2023. Between now and that time, there will be additional test flights, as well as back-and-forth between the company and regulators at the US Federal Aviation Administration.

“The 737-10 is an important part of our customers’ fleet plans, giving them more capacity, greater fuel efficiency and the best per-seat economics of any single-aisle airplane,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Read more at IndustryWeek


Analysts See a Return to $100 Oil—Will Faltering Re-Openings Slow the Rise? 

According to some analysts, oil prices lurching back to $100/barrel is now a distinct possibility.  Both major contracts, Brent and WTI, are now sitting at highs last seen in late 2018, above $70/barrel, and are up between 40% and 45% this year, a clip so rapid it’s contributing to fears of rising inflation.  Medium term, several analysts warned that resurging demand paired with a lack of investment in new production by energy majors under pressure to shift capital away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy—was likely to lead to higher prices.

Not everyone is convinced that $100 oil is an imminent possibility. Per Magnus Nysveen, head of analytics at Rystad Energy in Oslo, argues that predictions of a price spike to $100/barrel are based on the idea of a continual reopening as vaccinations roll out, and adds there is plenty of spare capacity to ramp up production if need be. “We don’t see this happening, because oil demand still has 5 million barrels to go before it goes back to normal,” he said.

Read more at Fortune


First Look at ‘Creators Wanted — Making the Future Immersive Experience ‘

There are now 851,000 job openings in the U.S.  So, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), along with the Manufacturing Institute, is taking their Creatives Wanted program on the road. On June 16, the immersive experience was previewed by executives on NAM’s board.

“The immersive, interactive Creators Wanted experience is truly incredible,” Jay Timmons, CEO of NAM told IndustryWeek. “The pictures only capture part of what is going to be an amazing tool for manufacturers as we open minds and eyes to the possibilities of modern manufacturing.”

View the Slideshow


Moderna Plans to Expand Production to Make Covid-19 Vaccine Boosters

Moderna Inc. is adding two new production lines at the rebuilt former Polaroid plant where it manufactures its Covid-19 vaccine, part of a push to prepare for making booster shots and the future of the pandemic. The additions will help Moderna increase overall production capacity by 50% at its plant in the Boston suburb of Norwood, company officials said.

Moderna and its manufacturing partners also are expanding production capacity outside the U.S., with a goal to roughly triple the annual global output of Covid-19 vaccine doses to about 3 billion in 2022 from as many as 1 billion this year. “Our plan and our hope is that, as soon as the U.S. has enough doses, we’re allowed to export so we can help as many countries as we can around the world,” Moderna Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel said.

Read more at the WSJ


 

 

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Daily Briefing – 327

Momentum Grows for 2-Step Strategy on Infrastructure

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators that’s working to make a deal on infrastructure with President Joe Biden’s administration has made progress, as their ranks late Wednesday swelled to 21 senators from just 10 previously. That new figure includes 11 Republicans, up from five and enough potentially for the Senate to approve the bipartisan group’s package if all 50 of the chamber’s Democrats back it.

“Under this approach a traditional infrastructure-centric PAVE, -1.91% bill would be passed under regular order (60 votes) satisfying moderate Democrats’ demand for Republican inclusion. Then, in parallel, the Democrats would pass a reconciliation bill including core climate-centric pieces based on the American Jobs Plan,” he added, referring to Biden’s infrastructure proposal, which his administration has scaled back during negotiations from an initial price tag of $2.3 trillion.

Read more at Market Watch


Commodities Futures from Copper to Corn Tumble on China Reserve Release, Rising Dollar

The prices of commodities were falling sharply late last week, cutting into months of gains and weighing on equity markets, as China takes steps to cool off rising prices and the U.S. dollar strengthens. The decline in commodities was widespread, with futures prices for palladium and platinum falling more than 11% and 7%, respectively, along with declines of nearly 6% for corn futures and 4.8% for contracts tied to copper. Oil prices were also down more than 1%.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, has risen about 1.6% since the Fed’s updated projections were released. Commodities often move inversely to the greenback since they are mostly priced in U.S. dollars globally.

Read more at CNBC


Initial Jobless Filings Unexpectedly Rose to 412,000

Initial unemployment claims unexpectedly rose last week to end a six-week streak of improvements, even as economic activity ramped further and reopenings broadened out. But in the coming weeks, a phase-out of enhanced unemployment benefits across many states may decrease the total number of claimants.  

Here were the main metrics from the report, compared to consensus data compiled by Bloomberg:

  • Initial jobless claims, week ended June 12: 412,000 vs. 360,000 expected and a revised 375,000 during prior week 
  • Continuing claims, week ended June 5: 3.518 million vs. 3.425 million expected and a revised 3.517 million during prior week 

Read more at YahooFinance


Debt Ceiling Battle Looms in Congress

Congress is barreling toward a fight as soon as next month over raising the debt ceiling, creating a huge challenge for President Biden and Democratic leaders in Congress. Under a 2019 deal during the Trump administration, Congress agreed to let the government borrow through July 31. 

In the Senate, raising the debt ceiling is subject to the filibuster, meaning Democrats will need GOP support. But GOP senators say they don’t expect their caucus to provide the 10 votes needed to hike the borrowing limit, which would set up a high-profile financial showdown with dramatic implications for the world’s economy. 

Read more at The Hill


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – Pop-Up Vaccine Sites to Open at Primary Polling Places

Governor Cuomo announced Saturday that nine new pop-up vaccination sites will open at or near early voting locations, focusing on areas where zip code data shows the vaccination rate is lower than the statewide average.  These sites are made possible through partnerships with local governments and medical partners and are aimed to make the vaccine convenient and accessible in those areas most in need

Vaccine Stats as of Sunday morning:

One Vaccine Dose

  • 58.8% of all New Yorkers – 11,312,365 (plus 23,768 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,203,312 (plus 2,233) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 51.8% of all New Yorkers – 10,124,471 are fully vaccinated (Plus 39,896)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,072,386 (plus 4,073) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Saturday June 19th.   There were 4 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,918. 

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 491

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.38%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.33%

Useful Websites:


US  COVID Update – US to Invest More Than $3 Billion in Covid-19 Antiviral Development

The Biden administration will invest more than $3 billion on developing and manufacturing antiviral pills to treat coronavirus, the Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday.

The $3.2 billion investment will be allocated from the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Mr. Biden signed into law in March. In a briefing Thursday, Dr. Fauci said the funding could accelerate clinical trials “already in progress” for some antiviral pills and potentially make some of them available by year’s end. The oral antiviral medicines would be designed to be taken at home and to treat symptoms early in the course of infection.

Read more at the WSJ


Regeneron Antibody Therapy is Effective, Expensive and In Short Supply

An antibody therapy from Regeneron, a firm in upstate New York, improves the survival of patients with covid-19 and offers renewed hope for the treatment of those most seriously ill with the disease. This new weapon in the war against SARS-CoV-2 is welcome, but it is expensive and in short supply.

Regen-Cov is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies, known as casirivimab and imdevimab. Antibodies are immune-system proteins that disable pathogens by locking specifically onto them. Both casirivimab and imdevimab bind to different sites on the coronavirus’s “spike” protein, preventing the virus from infecting cells. Using two antibodies instead of one reduces the risk of the virus evolving resistance to the treatment.

Read more (or Listen) at The Economist (Covid coverage remains free)


WHO Says Delta is Becoming the Dominant Covid Variant Globally

Delta, the highly contagious Covid-19 variant first identified in India, is becoming the dominant strain of the disease worldwide, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist said Friday. Studies suggest delta is around 60% more transmissible than alpha, the variant first identified in the U.K. that was more contagious than the original strain that emerged from Wuhan, China, in late 2019.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on Friday urged Americans to get vaccinated against Covid, saying she expects delta to become the dominant coronavirus variant in the United States. “As worrisome as this delta strain is with regard to its hyper transmissibility, our vaccines work,” Walensky told the ABC program “Good Morning America.” If you get vaccinated, “you’ll be protected against this delta variant,” she added.

Read more at CNBC


NY HERO Act Imposes Safety Obligations on Employers

New York recently enacted the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (the “HERO Act”), which requires private employers in New York State to take certain measures to prevent occupational exposure to an airborne infectious disease. We summarize the two main employer obligations under the HERO Act, based upon the amendments that were recently enacted.

  • Industry Specific Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan (“Prevention Plan”) must be distributed to all employees.
  • Workplace Safety Committee

Employers should start preparing to become compliant with relevant requirements under the two main components of law; this includes reviewing their existing COVID-19 related workplace guidelines to evaluate areas that may need to be reconfigured to comply with minimum safety standards and deciding how to comply with the specific rules for establishing safety committees.

Read more at Greenwald Doherty


US Refinery Throughput Rising Faster than Demand

US refiners are increasing gasoline production faster than demand is growing and delaying maintenance work, raising concerns of a potential oversupply and causing a series of failures at refining units from California to Texas.

Refinery runs climbed to their highest level since February 2020 in the week through June 4, while capacity utilization reached 91.3%, the most since January 2020, pushing gasoline supplies above the seasonal five-year average.

Read more at Bloomberg (Canada)


Hudson Valley  Employment Up Year on Year, Still Well Off  Pre-Pandemic Levels

Private sector jobs in the Hudson Valley rose over the year by 95,300, or 14.6 percent, to 747,300 in May 2021.  Job gains were largest in leisure and hospitality (+30,500), trade, transportation and utilities (+26,600), educational and health services (+13,500), professional and business services (+9,900), natural resources, mining and construction (+7,500), other services (+6,900) and manufacturing (+2,700).  Job losses were greatest in financial activities (-2,300). While the region’s private sector has regained a large portion of the jobs lost, it remains 75,300, or 9.2 percent below the pre-pandemic levels of May 2019.

Manufacturing employment in the region now stands at 41,000 (plus 100 from April).  Within the region, the Kingston MSA’s private employment sector grew the fastest year-over-year, up 17.2 percent.  The second fastest growth was recorded in the Orange-Rockland-Westchester labor market area (+15.3 percent), followed by Sullivan County (+13.3 percent), and the Dutchess-Putnam MSA (+10.8 percent).

Labor Market Profile (Hudson Valley) – MAY 2021


McMahon: At Current Pace, NY is Still Years Away from Pre-Covid Payrolls Peak

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the statewide private-sector payroll job count swelled last month to just under 7.5 million, up 13.2 percent from the (historically deflated) level of the same month a year ago. Nationally, private employment in May was up 10.4 percent, according to initial estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

Those numbers are a bit misleading in isolation, however.  New York’s job loss last spring was much worse than the national average—bottoming out in April at nearly 23 percent (-1.87 million jobs) below the prior year’s level, compared to a national decline of 15 percent in the same period. As of last month, the U.S. private job count of 123.4 million was just 3.8 percent below the May 2019 level, while New York’s total was still down 10 percent from two years ago. To put it another way, in employment terms, New York has come a bit more than halfway back—still 825,000 jobs below its employment level in the comparable “before time” of May 2019.

Read more at the Empire Center


UK Joins EU in Suspending Boeing Tariffs

Britain on Thursday said it had agreed a truce with the United States over a 17-year long tariffs dispute involving European planemaker Airbus and U.S. rival Boeing. It comes in the wake of a similar deal between the European Union and U.S. announced Tuesday.

The dispute, the longest-running in the history of the World Trade Organization, has seen damaging retaliatory tariffs levied on products on both sides of the Atlantic owing to disagreements over support for large civilian aircraft, the UK government explained in a statement Thursday. But both sides have finally agreed “to suspend retaliatory tariffs for five years,” it added.

Read more at IndustryWeek


 

 

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Daily Briefing – 326

Federal Reserve Now Projects Rate Increases in 2023 

Fed policymakers expect to make two interest rate increases by the end of 2023, the central bank’s updated summary of economic projections showed Wednesday. Previously, the median official had anticipated that rates would stay near zero — where they have been since March 2020 — at least into 2024. The Fed now sees rates rising to 0.6 percent by the end of 2023, up from 0.1 percent.

Inflation data have come in faster than officials had expected, and consumer and market expectations for future inflation have climbed. Employers have been hiring more slowly than they were this spring, as job openings abound but it takes workers time to flow into them. The Fed continued to call that inflation increase largely “transitory” in its new statement. It has consistently pledged to take a patient approach to monetary policy as the economic backdrop rapidly shifts.

Read more at the New York Times


China to Release Metal Reserves in Effort to Tame Commodities Rally

China said it would begin to sell major industrial metals from state stockpiles, an effort to squelch factory-gate price increases that have hit a 13-year high and are stoking fears of global inflation. China’s latest move targets copper, aluminum and zinc, among other metals, and outlines a program of public auctions to domestic metal processors and manufacturers, the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration said Wednesday. 

As the world’s biggest buyer of a range of industrial commodities, China is using its market heft to try to quell the sharp rise in global metal prices over the past 12 months, including a 67% surge in copper, a bellwether for macroeconomic health. Economic stimulus measures and a broad resumption of global economic activity from pandemic lows have spurred a spree of buying in China and elsewhere. Much of the effectiveness of Beijing’s metal auctions will depend on the amount of metals it releases—or that it is able to release—into the market. The government doesn’t disclose its holdings.

Read more at the WSJ


Liberal Unrest Threatens Bipartisan Infrastructure Talks

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer set out an aggressive timetable on Tuesday, promising to try and pass both a budget resolution setting up a party-line spending bill and a bipartisan infrastructure bill in July, hoping to satisfy his diverse coalition of 50 Democrats.

Though centrists have dominated the last few weeks of infrastructure discussions, progressive members are flexing their muscles. Senate Budget Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced his opposition on Monday, and other liberals are threatening to join him. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) are vowing to oppose any infrastructure accord that lacks major policies to tackle climate change. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who leads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, says her members will oppose a deal unless Democrats also commit to a broader, separate bill.

Read more at Politico


U.S. Housing Market Needs 5.5 Million More Units, Says New Report

Construction of new housing in the past 20 years fell 5.5 million units short of long-term historical levels, according to a new National Association of Realtors report, which is calling for a “once-in-a-generation” policy response. U.S. builders added 1.225 million new housing units, on average, each year from 2001 to 2020, according to the report, which was prepared for NAR by Rosen Consulting Group LLC. That figure is down from an annual average of 1.5 million new units from 1968 to 2000. 

The 5.5 million-unit deficit includes about two million single-family homes, 1.1 million units in buildings with two to four units and 2.4 million units in buildings of at least five units, the report says.

Read more at the WSJ


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

The 7-day average positivity is 0.40%  Vaccine Stats as of Wednesday morning:

One Vaccine Dose

  • 58.1% of all New Yorkers – 11,200,556 (plus 33,425 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,191,686 (plus 2,892) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 50.6% of all New Yorkers – 9,941,713 are fully vaccinated (Plus 54,590)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,053,459 (plus 6,453) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Tuesday June 15th.   There were 9 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,891. 

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 650

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.40%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.38%

Useful Websites:


US COVID Update – US Buying Additional 200M Moderna Doses

The U.S. government is buying another 200 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, the company said Wednesday, which could be used for vaccinating children or to address variants of the virus if necessary.   The deal allows the Biden administration to receive different versions of the vaccine if necessary, for example if a modified vaccine is needed to fight a variant of the virus. The purchase is exercising an option for additional doses from the original contract with Moderna. 

“Importantly, the agreement gives the United States flexibility to choose which type of vaccine we will receive from Moderna if Moderna adjusts its formulation, for example, for pediatric vaccines or to address variants,” an administration official said. 

Read more at The Hill


Do Incentives of Cash or Gifts for COVID-19 Vaccines Work?

To encourage greater vaccinations, some governments and employers have begun to sweeten the deal with cash or gifts for those who get inoculated. But will these kinds of incentives convince the sceptics?  Similar incentives can work in health care. Small fees are common in medical trials and money has been shown to nudge people to donate blood, quit smoking, lose weight and monitor their blood-glucose levels. It can work for vaccination too.

A study of teenage girls in England found those who were offered £45 ($64) were more likely to be inoculated against human papillomavirus. For one group, uptake more than doubled with the cash offer. Intravenous drug users in America were more likely to receive hepatitis B shots if offered an incentive. Cash also boosted tetanus-vaccination rates in Nigeria. But there are ethical considerations. People who need the money might be more swayed by covid-19 vaccine incentives than their richer peers.

Read more at The Economist


Aflac CEO: Expects Cancer Diagnosis Spike Post-COVID

Dan Amos, chairman and CEO of Aflac (NYSE:AFL), said Wednesday that low interest rates have forced the insurer to reprice new policies in order to make up for lost investment income.  In an interview with CNBC, Amos also explained that the company has taken additional reserves in anticipation of increased doctor’s visits now that COVID restrictions are easing.

The Aflac CEO said that people have been slow to go to the doctor amid pandemic worries, meaning that the diagnosis of some diseases, like cancer, has been delayed. The company has put additional money aside, anticipating a new wave of medical visits post-COVID.

Read more at Seeking Alpha


NY Fed Survey: Businesses Expect a Strong Second Half of 2021

Supplemental survey questions to the June 2021 Empire State Manufacturing Survey
and Business Leaders Survey focused on how sales compared to normal pre-pandemic levels, current and desired employment counts, and the extent of recent and expected remote working arrangements. 

  • On average, manufacturers report that sales were 1 percent above normal in the first half of the year and expect a 4% increase in the second half.
  • On average, employment was down 9 percent among manufacturers. However, when asked about desired employment levels, on average, manufacturers would
    employ about 9 percent more than current levels, which would bring employment back in line with pre-pandemic levels.
  • Manufacturers report that before the pandemic, only about 5 percent of workers worked.  Once conditions return to normal, manufacturers expect remote working arrangements to be only slightly more common than before the pandemic.

Read more at the NY Fed


Senate Passes Juneteenth as the 11th National Holiday

The Senate passed a bill Tuesday to establish Juneteenth, the day marking the end of slavery in the United States, as a national holiday.  After passing by unanimous consent, the bill now heads to the House of Representatives, where its passage is all but assured, then on to President Biden’s desk for signature into law.  If the bill is passed in the House and signed by the president, Juneteenth would become the 11th annual federal holiday.

Celebrated on June 19, Juneteenth, or Freedom Day, recognizes and marks the emancipation of formerly enslaved African Americans, commemorating the date in 1865 when slaves in Galveston, Texas, learned of their freedom.

Read more at Yahoo News


China Ends Renewable Subsidies

China will stop subsidizing new solar and wind power projects. According to China’s chief central planning authority, the country’s government will no longer subsidize any new solar farm projects, distributed solar projects for commercial users or onshore wind farms. The change will go into effect on Aug. 1.

According to OilPrice, “The motivation behind the cut was that Beijing wanted to ensure the local solar industry was sustainable in the original sense of the word over the long term. Yet, the reasons for the cut—and this year’s end of subsidies—were not exactly altruistic. China has amassed a massive debt pile in subsidies owed to wind and solar companies as a result of its previously generous support for new projects. The pile, according to a Bloomberg  report from July last year, is worth about $42 billion.”

Read more at OilPrice


GM Ups its Planned Investment in EVs, Will Build Two New Battery Plants

In a wide-sweeping announcement Wednesday, GM said it will increase its investment in EV and autonomous vehicle technologies to $35 billion through 2025, a 75% boost from its initial commitment in early 2020.

GM also said it will build two new battery cell manufacturing plants in the United States by mid-decade but declined to disclose the locations. The battery plants will be in an “optimal location to achieve volume,” GM CFO Paul Jacobson told the media Wednesday.  GM is presently building an Ultium Cells LLC battery plant in northeast Ohio near its former Lordstown Assembly plant and one in Tennessee near its Spring Hill Assembly plant, where it will build the Cadillac Lyriq electric SUV.

Read more at the Detroit Free Press


After Shake Up Lordstown Motors On Track for Pall Production

Embattled electric truck company Lordstown Motors has enough funding to operate through May 2022 and remains on track to begin limited production of its Endurance pickup in late September following an executive shake-up that ousted the start-up’s CEO and chairman, executives said Tuesday.

The company’s new chairwoman, Angela Strand, called it a “new day” for the aspiring automaker, which raised bankruptcy concerns after warning investors last week that it had “substantial doubt” about its ability to continue as a going concern in the next year.

Read more at CNBC


 

 

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Daily Briefing – 325

The 70 Percent Solution – State Reaches Vaccine Threshold Set By Governor for Broad Reopening

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday announced that COVID-19 restrictions are lifted immediately as 70 percent of New Yorkers aged 18 or older have received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccination series. 

With the removal of the State’s minimum standard for reopening, businesses are free to choose to lift all or some restrictions, continue to adhere to the State’s archived guidance, or implement other health precautions for their employees and patrons. Businesses are also authorized to require masks and six feet of social distancing for employees and patrons within their establishments, regardless of vaccination status. Any mask requirements that businesses choose to implement must adhere to applicable federal and state laws and regulations, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Boeing-Airbus Trade Battle Set to End After 17 Years

The US and the EU have agreed a truce in a 17-year trade dispute over subsidies for Boeing and Airbus.  Under the agreement, both sides will remove taxes on $11.5bn (£8.2bn) of goods, including wine, cheese and tractors, for five years. Those tariffs, imposed by both sides as punishment in the escalating dispute, had already been suspended in March while they tried to resolve matters.

The dispute between the US and EU has escalated over many years, with both sides accusing the other of unfairly propping up their flagship planemakers. In 2019, the World Trade Organization ruled that the EU had illegally provided support to Airbus, clearing the way for the US to respond with tariffs worth up to $7.5bn (£5.4bn) in annual trade. Roughly one year later, in a parallel case, it ruled that the US benefits to Boeing also violated trade rules, authorizing the EU to hit the US with tariffs worth roughly $4bn.

Read more at the BBC


Producer Prices Climb 6.6% in May, Largest 12-month Increase on Record

Producer prices rose at their fastest annual clip in nearly 11 years in May as inflation continued to build in the U.S. economy, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. The 6.6% surge was the biggest 12-month rise in the final demand index since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking the data in November 2010. On a monthly basis, the producer price index for final demand rose 0.8%, ahead of the Dow Jones estimate of 0.5%.

Goods inflation continued to be the dominant inflation force, rising 1.5% as opposed to a 0.6% increase in services. In the pandemic economy, goods have run well ahead of services as economic lockdowns constrained consumer demand for services-related purchases. Excluding food and energy, the 12-month final demand PPI rose 5.3%, which also was the biggest increase since that the BLS started tracking that number in August 2014.

Read more at CNBC


Empire Manufacturing Survey: Continued Growth at a Slower Pace, Prices Rise

Business activity continued to expand in New York State, though at a slower pace than last month, according to firms responding to the June 2021 Empire State Manufacturing Survey.

  • The headline general business conditions index fell seven points to 17.4.
  • New orders and shipments increased moderately, and there was a rise in unfilled orders.
  • Delivery times lengthened at a record-setting pace, and inventories edged lower.
  • Employment levels and the average workweek continued to grow modestly, and
  • Both input prices and selling prices continued to rise sharply.

Looking ahead, firms remained optimistic that conditions would improve over the next six months, with the index for future employment reaching a record high.

Read more at the NY Fed


US COVID Update – Covid-19 Ranged From Illinois to Massachusetts Well Before States Reported First Cases

The Covid-19 virus infected people in five U.S. states in December 2019 and early 2020 before those states reported their first cases, according to a large new government study, providing new insights into the first, unseen weeks of the nation’s deadly epidemic.

Scientists analyzing blood samples taken for a National Institutes of Health research program identified seven people in states from Mississippi to Wisconsin to Pennsylvania who were infected with the new virus days or weeks before the first cases were confirmed in their areas. At least a couple had mild symptoms.


NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – 70% of NYS Adults With at Least One Dose

State landmarks were lit blue and gold yesterday, June 15 in celebration of reaching 70 percent of New York adults receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition to these lightings, firework displays will be held at ten sites across the state beginning at 9:15 pm.  The 7-day average positivity is 0.41% and is now the lowest in the nation.

Vaccine Stats as of Tuesday morning:

One Vaccine Dose

  • 58.0% of all New Yorkers – 11,167,131 (plus 39,435 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,1188,794 (plus 5,554) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 50.3% of all New Yorkers – 9,887,123 are fully vaccinated (Plus 79,050)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,047,006 (plus 11,802) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday June 14th.   There were 9 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,882. 

Hospitalizations:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 650

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.40%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.38%

Useful Websites:


UK Study Finds Vaccines Offer High Protection Against Hospitalization from Delta Variant

COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer (PFE.N) and AstraZeneca (AZN.L) offer high protection of more than 90% against hospitalization from the Delta coronavirus variant, a new analysis by Public Health England (PHE) showed on Monday.

PHE said that the Pfizer/Biontech COVID-19 vaccine was 96% effective against hospitalization from the Delta variant after two doses, while Oxford/AstraZeneca’s offered 92% protection against hospitalization by Delta. They also said that those levels of protection were comparable to that against the Alpha variant, first identified in Kent, southeast England.

Read more at Reuters


Chinese Scientist at Center of Virus Controversy Denies Lab-Leak Theory

The Chinese scientist at the center of theories that the coronavirus pandemic originated with a leak from her specialized lab in the city of Wuhan has denied her institution was to blame for the health disaster. “How on earth can I offer up evidence for something where there is no evidence?” Dr. Shi Zhengli told The New York Times in rare comments to the media.  

According to The New York Times, in 2017 Shi and her colleagues at the Wuhan laboratory published a report on an experiment “in which they created new hybrid bat coronaviruses by mixing and matching parts of several existing ones—including at least one that was nearly transmissible to humans—in order to study their ability to infect and replicate in human cells.” But in an email to the paper, Shi said her experiments differed from gain-of-function experiments since they did not seek to make a virus more dangerous. Instead they were trying to understand how the virus might jump across species.

Read more at Medical Express


74% of Fortune 500 CEOs Say it is Likely They Will Reduce Office Space

To figure out how the big dogs will play their cards, fortune conducted a poll of Fortune 500 chief executive officers last month.

  • 53% expect their revenues to be significantly stronger this year than what they expected before the pandemic. 
  • 74% say they expect to need less office space in the future. 
  • 53% say two or three days per week in the office is the optimal set-up. 39% say four or five days, while 3% say one day or less.  
  • 10% say they plan to require vaccinations for staffers returning to the office. 59% won’t require it, while 31% are still considering the policy. 
  • 50% agree that CEOs have recently gotten too involved in commenting on social and political issues. While 50% said CEOs have a responsibility right now to speak out on important social and political issues.

Read more at Fortune


Manufacturing Output Accelerates in May on Autos

Production at U.S. factories increased more than expected in May as motor vehicle output rebounded, but shortages of raw materials and labor continue to cast a shadow over the manufacturing industry. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast manufacturing output increasing 0.6% in May.

Manufacturing, which accounts for 11.9% of the U.S. economy, is being underpinned by massive fiscal stimulus, low interest rates and continued strong demand for goods even as spending is shifting towards services amid a vastly improved public health situation.  But robust demand is straining the supply chain, with shortages of raw materials and labor across the industry.

Read more at Reuters


Retail Sales Fall

U.S. retail sales dropped more than expected in May, with spending rotating back to services from goods as vaccinations allow Americans to travel and engage in other activities that had been restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Retail sales fell 1.3% last month, the Commerce Department said. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales declining 0.8%. Retail sales surged 28.1% on a year-on-year basis.

“Activity decelerated likely on a shift from goods spending to services,” said Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in White Plains, New York. “Despite the slowdown, sales are rising at a strong pace in the second quarter.”

Read more at Reuters


UBS: Price Surge for Steel Will Continue Into 2022

The price for U.S. steel has been exploding this year in what has been an enormous turnaround for one of the country’s most important commodities—used to make everything from buildings and bridges to cars and spoons.

UBS reckons the U.S. steel price, may continue rising into the first half of next year. Good news for the likes of Nucor; not such good news for the construction and manufacturing industries. 

Read more at Fortune


CDC Study of COVID-19 Hospitalization of Adolescents Aged 12–17 in 14 States Finds No Deaths, But Some Need for Intensive Care 

COVID-19 adolescent hospitalization rates from peaked at 2.1 per 100,000 in early January 2021, declined to 0.6 in mid-March, and rose to 1.3 in April. Among hospitalized adolescents, nearly one third required intensive care unit admission, and 5% required invasive mechanical ventilation; no associated deaths occurred.

Recent increased hospitalization rates in spring 2021 and potential for severe disease reinforce the importance of continued COVID-19 prevention measures, including vaccination and correct and consistent mask wearing among persons not fully vaccinated or when required. 

Read more at the CDC


GE Aviation, Safran Launch Next-Gen Jet Engine Project

General Electric Aviation and Safran S.A. will work together on the next generation of aircraft engines. The companies announced June 14 they would extend their joint venture CFM International through 2050 and launch a program dedicated to developing new, more efficient aircraft engines with novel designs. The companies say the first-available CFM engines produced by the new program could be available by the mid-2030s.

The next generation of jet engine will look different from today’s. For one, the companies say the engine will include an open-fan architecture that shows off its turbine blades. Other technologies the companies teased would be used included composite fan blades, heat resistant metal alloys, and additive manufacturing.

Read more at IndustryWeek


Natural Gas Trades Highest Since Oct 2020 – Crude Hits 3 Year High

NYMEX Henry Hub natural gas spot prices continue to show strength. The benchmark traded at $3.30/mmbtu on Monday and has been climbing steadily since March, reaching its highest print since October 2020 when it hit $3.31/mmbtu.

Also, Crude oil  rose to its highest price in almost three years Monday as demand rebounds and restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted.  Crude oil in the U.S. was $71.50 per barrel on Monday, its highest price since October 2018 and around $23 more expensive per barrel than it was in January.

Read more at The Hill


 

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