Category: Trade

Daily Briefing – 268

Post: Mar. 22, 2021

COVID Update – 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Sunday March 21st. 

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


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,370
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 499

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,085
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 396

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.29%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.62%

Useful Websites:

NYS Vaccine Update – Vaccine Eligibility Expands to 50-Plus Age Group Today

The governor announced at a press event yesterday that the age requirement for COVID-19 vaccines was dropping from 60-plus to 50-plus, beginning Tuesday.  “Tomorrow morning, 50 and above, make your appointment and get your vaccine,” Gov. Cuomo said. 

 As of 11 am Monday 5,198,113 (plus 65,947 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 2,692,691 are fully vaccinated (Plus 38,557).  In the Hudson Valley 511,939 (plus 8,134) have at least one dose and 242,125 (plus 2,231) are fully vaccinated. 

U.S. Cases Falling Overall, But Rising in Several Northern States

The Johns Hopkins database reports 33K new cases yesterday, down
13% from Sunday last week. Hospitalizations and deaths are still falling, thanks to vaccination. There is some upward pressure  concentrated in northern states where the weather is still cool. Michigan remains the most troubling state; cases have almost tripled over the past month, and the rate of increase is accelerating. Cases are rising steadily in New Jersey, up 36% from their late February low, and the trend also is clearly increasing in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Delaware, and New Hampshire. 

The most open southern states are performing better, with cases flat in Florida and falling in Texas and Mississippi. It seems likely that warmer weather is helping,

Read more at US News and World Report

AstraZeneca Vaccine Is Safe, 79% Effective in U.S. Trials

AstraZeneca’s vaccine was shown to be safe and 79% effective in preventing symptomatic disease in U.S. clinical trials involving more than 32,000 people, the U.K. drugmaker said.

The company said it would prepare to request emergency authorization in the U.S., a move that—if approved—will add another vaccine available for Americans.

Read more at the AP

Chip-Plant Fire Spreads Concerns About Global Auto Production

A fire at a factory of one of the world’s leading auto chip makers has added to the troubles of car makers that already have slashed production because of a semiconductor shortage. The fire Friday left a swath of charred equipment in the factory owned by a subsidiary of Renesas Electronics Corp.  in Hitachinaka, northeast of Tokyo. The company said it would take at least a month to restart the damaged operations.

Car makers have already been struggling with a shortage of semiconductors stemming in part from an unexpectedly strong comeback after the coronavirus pandemic hit last year. That left factories ill-prepared to increase production quickly.

Read more at the WSJ

Covid-19 Vaccine Manufacturing in U.S. Expanding

After a slow start, Pfizer Inc., its partner BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc. have raised output by gaining experience, scaling up production lines and taking other steps like making certain raw materials on their own.  Pfizer figured out how to stretch scarce supplies of special filters needed for the vaccine production process by recycling them. Moderna shortened the time it needed to inspect and package newly manufactured vials of its vaccine. The companies—along with Johnson & Johnson, which recently launched a Covid-19 vaccine—also are teaming up with other firms to further increase production.

In addition, the U.S. government has helped vaccine makers access supplies under the Defense Production Act, suppliers and government officials say. The Biden administration this month said it used the act to provide $105 million in funding to help Merck & Co. make doses of J&J’s Covid-19 vaccine and to expedite materials used in its production.

Read more at the WSJ

Vaccine Battle Heats Up With EU Ready to Halt U.K. Shipments

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said that the EU will not share its vaccine supply with poorer countries until it has achieved “a better production situation”. Her volte-face on the spirit of the bloc’s commitment to COVAX, an international initiative to provide poor countries with vaccines, comes as many EU members face a third wave of covid-19 infections (see main stories). Meanwhile, Britain will reportedly go on a diplomatic drive this week to persuade individual member-states to veto any move to block exports of vaccines across the English Channel.

Read more at Bloomberg

Stimulus Checks Have Left U.S. Households Flush to Spend

Last week a third round of relief payments started showing up in the accounts of millions of Americans, $1,400 payments so far sent to roughly 90 million adults totaling about $242 billion. That is on top of $600 per recipient payments sent in December and $1,200 sent earlier last year and in all will add up to more than $800 billion.

It turns out there is a lot we already know to answer that. Americans have spent some of it, saved a lot of it and used large portions to pay down burdensome debt. That leaves the economy primed for a consumer boom once business fully reopens and poses risks that worry some people on Wall Street, including higher inflation and an asset bubble. Moreover, it leaves a different debt overhang — federal debt — that poses new uncertainties for business, households and Uncle Sam himself.

Read more at Morningstar

DOL Creates New Whistleblower Protocols

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that OSHA will now be responsible for overseeing worker retaliation complaints that are filed under the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act (CAARA) and the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA). In addition to enforcing whistleblower protections for workers regarding federal health and safety laws, over the years OSHA also has been made responsible by Congress for overseeing the enforcement of the whistleblower provisions of 25 different statutes. In fact, only about 62% of the whistleblower claims OSHA investigates deal with safety and health violations.

OSHA’s staff handles complaints of retaliation arising from—among other things—employees reporting violations of securities and tax laws as well as violations of consumer product, food, nuclear industry, motor carrier, pipeline and maritime safety, and health insurance reform laws.

Read more at EHS Today

McMahon: Tax Increases On The Highest Earners 

A year after the Empire State was clobbered by the coronavirus, New York’s Legislature confronts an embarrassment of revenue riches. State taxes have rebounded more strongly than expected from the pandemic meltdown — capped by a massive injection of $12.6 billion in no-strings-attached federal stimulus funds. 

Yet among their budget priorities for the fiscal year starting April 1, the Democratic super-majorities in the state Assembly and Senate want to raise $7 billion or $8 billion more in new taxes — mostly from a few thousand multimillionaire earners.

Read more at the Empire Center

NY Income Tax Deadline Extended

The Department of Tax and Finance will be extending the New York State income tax deadline to May 17. This aligns with the federal decision to do the same and provides New Yorkers still coping with the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic ample time to file. 

Read more at the Department of Taxation and Finance

Some Schools Have Been Open for Months – Here’s What They Learned

Teachers and administrators whose buildings have been open for many months have come to some hard-earned conclusions about how to make it all work. Some of what they learned is consistent with what many scientists have been touting—that masking, ventilation, distancing and regular testing when possible are effective ways to reduce transmission of Covid-19 in schools. Other once-lauded tactics, such as daily temperature checks and deep cleaning of surfaces, have become lower priorities.

They also have learned that teachers, not their students, are likely the primary transmitters of the virus in grade schools, that children are likely most at risk of infection during lunch time, and that tools such as portable air cleaners and carbon-dioxide monitors can help.

Read more at the WSJ


Daily Briefing – 267

Post: Mar. 21, 2021

COVID Update – NY Forward Safe Office Initiative 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday March 20th. Friday the Governor  announced  the New York Forward COVID-Safe Offices partnership with major commercial real estate partners to expand access to COVID-19 testing for employers. As part of the initiative, 21 participating landlords have committed to provide space and facilitate access to testing services for tenants interested in conducting regular diagnostic testing of their employees.

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


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,355
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 477

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,136
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 397

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.30%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.63%

Useful Websites:

First Brazilian Variant Discovered in New York State Resident

Governor Cuomo Friday announced the discovery of the first case of a COVID-19 P.1 variant, commonly referred to as the Brazilian variant, in a New York State resident. The case was identified by scientists at Mount Sinai hospital in New York City and verified by the Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center Laboratories. The patient is a Brooklyn resident in their 90’s with no travel history. DOH is working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to learn more information about the patient and potential contacts.

The P.1 variant was first detected in the United States at the end of January, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently reporting 48 cases nationwide. The P.1 variant has been designated a “variant of concern,” which means there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease and the potential for reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines. However, while additional research is warranted, researchers at the University of Oxford recently released non-peer reviewed data that indicates the P.1 variant may be less resistant to the current vaccines than originally thought. 

Read the press release

NYS Vaccine Update – 7.5 Million Doses

7.5 million total COVID vaccine doses have been administered across New York State. 139,209 doses have been administered across New York’s vast distribution network in the last 24 hours, and more than 1 million doses have been administered over the past seven days. The week 14 allocation of 1,284,565 first and second doses was expected to finish arriving yesterday. Delivery of the week 15 allocation begins mid-week.  As of 11 am Sunday 5,132,166 (plus 92,393 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 2,654,134 are fully vaccinated (Plus 51,815).  In the Hudson Valley 503,805 (plus 10,612) have at least one dose and 239,894 (plus 3,242) are fully vaccinated. 

US Vaccine Rollout – Jabs Leveling Off at 2.2 Million Per Day

The US CDC reported 151.1 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses distributed and 115.7 million doses administered. This includes 75.5 million people (22.7% of the entire US population; 29.2% of the adult population) who have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine, and 41.0 million (12.3%; 15.9%) who are fully vaccinated. Among adults aged 65 years and older, nearly two-thirds (66.3%) have received at least 1 dose and 38.6% are fully vaccinated.

The average doses administered appears to be leveling off at approximately 2.2 million doses per day, including 902,781 individuals fully vaccinated. In terms of full vaccination, 20.5 million individuals have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 19.4 million have received the Moderna vaccine, and 2.0 million have received the J&J-Janssen vaccine.

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

Crystal Run Healthcare Provides Some Vaccine Facts

For the last several months, we’ve been looking forward with a hopeful gaze as some of the smartest brains in the world worked to develop vaccines to help stem the pandemic. And to our relief, they’ve been approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). We signed up to get vaccinated ourselves and have encouraged family, friends, and colleagues to get the vaccine as soon as they are able.

What we weren’t expecting is how much concern about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, also known as vaccine hesitancy, we’d be faced with. The country’s history with past vaccines can’t be overlooked – and we understand why people may be hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, but it is important for us to overcome vaccine hesitancy, together. The state of immunity of the world is determined by all of us, and while we wait for the widespread availability of vaccine, whether eagerly or reluctantly, We’d like to take this opportunity to talk about some of the recent good news vaccine studies have been showing.

Crstal Run Health – Vaccines are safe and effective

US Loans AstraZeneca Vaccine to North American Neighbors

The US government is finalizing plans to ship millions of doses of its available AstraZeneca-Oxford SARS-CoV-2 vaccine supply to Mexico and Canada. During a March 18 press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the US has 7 million available doses and plans to send 2.5 million doses to Mexico and 1.5 million doses to Canada. She noted that the shipments would amount to a loan, with the US expected to receive doses of the same or a different vaccine in the future, and that the US government’s first priority remains vaccinating the US population. The US has faced increasing pressure to share its supply of vaccines with other countries, particularly the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which is not yet authorized for use in the US.

Ms. Psaki said the White House continues to engage in conversations regarding requests from other countries, but providing the vaccine to US neighbors to the north and south is in the country’s best interest. The plan could be finalized as soon as today.

Read more at the US News

CDC Eases Physical-Distancing Recommendation for Schoolchildren

In guidelines updated Friday, the nation’s public-health agency said K-12 students should remain at least 3 feet apart in classrooms rather than the 6 feet it had recommended previously, a change it said was made possible by new scientific findings.  The agency also removed a recommendation that schools install physical barriers such as sneeze guards, partitions or tape and urged schools to consider Covid-19 symptom screening for sports and extracurricular activities.

The reduced distance applies to students only, not teachers and staff, the CDC said, because transmission rates of Covid-19 are higher among adults. Also, students should remain 6 feet apart in communities where transmission of Covid-19 is high if they cannot be divided into cohorts, the CDC said.

Read more at the AP

Forecasters Raised Growth Predictions for US Economy As Consumers Gain Confidence

The U.S. economic recovery is picking up steam as Americans increase their spending, particularly on in-person services that were battered by the coronavirus pandemic. The rising number of Covid-19 vaccinations, falling business restrictions, ample household savings and injections of federal stimulus funds into the economy are fueling the surge, economists say.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal this month raised their average forecast for 2021 economic growth to 5.95%, measured from the fourth quarter of last year to the same period this year, from a 4.87% projection in February’s survey. The higher figure would mark the fastest such pace in nearly four decades.

Read more at the WSJ

DiNapoli: Four Out of Five Small Businesses in NY Continue to Report a Negative Overall Impact From COVID-19

One year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York’s small businesses continue to suffer, even as the economy reopens gradually and employment growth resumes. Seventy-eight percent of small businesses (with less than 500 employees) surveyed reported an overall negative impact in their business in the first week of March 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The share has declined from 94 percent in April 2020 when data were first reported, but has plateaued at approximately 80 percent since October 2020.

The share of New York’s small businesses reporting negative impacts has been consistently greater than the national average, which has also declined more quickly. In April 2020 almost 90 percent of small businesses nationally reported a negative impact; by the first week of March that figure declined 18 percent to 72 percent.

Read more at the Comptroller’s website

New COBRA Subsidy Requires Quick Action by Plan Sponsors

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, includes a number of provisions designed to assist workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them is a new COBRA premium subsidy that pays for 100% of the applicable COBRA premium for eligible individuals with respect to coverage periods beginning April 1, 2021 and ending Sept. 30, 2021.

In order to comply with the law, employers will face a number of challenges and additional administrative responsibilities, including the identification of premium subsidy eligible individuals, contacting previously terminated employees not currently enrolled in COBRA but who are eligible for the premium subsidy, revising or supplementing existing COBRA notices, and satisfying new notice requirements. 

Read more at Bond Schoeneck & King

The Old Have Become Happier and the Young More Miserable

Covid-19 threatens the old far more than the young, with the risk of death after contracting the disease doubling for every eight years of life. Yet the old have cheered up. Globally, between 2017-19 and 2020 happiness was boosted by 0.22 points on the Cantril ladder among people over the age of 60. Meanwhile the young have had a rough year. Many lost their jobs—in America the unemployment rate for people aged 20 to 24 shot up from 6.3% in February 2020 to 25.6% two months later (it fell back to 9.6% last month). In some rich countries young women have had a particularly hard time. They often work in sectors, such as hospitality, which have been shut down. When schools close, many are lumbered with more than their fair share of child care.

Read more at The Economist


Daily Briefing – 266

Post: Mar. 18, 2021

COVID Update – Travel for Sports and Fans In-Person for Baseball Season

Governor Cuomo held a press briefing yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Wednesday March 17th. The Governor also announced New York Yankees and New York Mets (Let’s Go Mets) to Start the Season with Fans in the Stands Beginning April 1 at 20% capacity. Also, beginning March 29, statewide travel for sports and recreational activities will be permitted. Currently, travel for sports and recreation is limited to contiguous counties and regions in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidance.  

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


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 4,536
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 499

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,229
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 397

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.28%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.66%

Useful Websites:

New York State Launching “Excelsior Pass” to Securely Present Proof of Vaccination or Negative Test 

In the coming days, New York State will be launching Excelsior Pass, a tool that allows New Yorkers and visitors to securely present proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results. This unique app provides venues and patrons with a secure method to easily present, scan and confirm test and vaccine information to ensure convenient event flow-through.

Additionally, to make COVID-19 diagnostic testing even more available for New Yorkers, the State recently launched the New York Forward Rapid Test Program. This is a unique public-private partnership to make low-cost rapid testing available to the public to support enhanced economic activity, including weddings, catered events and arts and entertainment venues.

NYS Vaccine Update 

As of 11 am Wednesday 4,790,894 (plus 99,637 from yesterday) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 2,493,242 are fully vaccinated (Plus 53,165).  In the Hudson Valley 463,752 (plus 13,313) have at least one dose and 229,619 (plus 3,721) are fully vaccinated. 

US Vaccine Rollout – Vaccines Across America

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday about 73.7 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, including about 40 million people who have been fully vaccinated by Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine or the two-dose series made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Providers are administering about 2.47 million doses per day on average. Figures show the date shots were reported, rather than the date shots were given.

Read more at the New York Times Vaccine Tracker

Another 770,000 Americans Filed New Unemployment Claims

The Department of Labor released its weekly report on new jobless claims on yesterday. Here were the main metrics from the report, compared to consensus data compiled by Bloomberg:

Initial jobless claims, week ended March 13: 770,000 vs. 700,000 expected and an upwardly revised 725,000 during the prior week
Continuing claims, week ended March 6: 4.124 million vs. 4.034 million expected and 4.144 million during the prior week.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

UK Vaccine Supply Hit by India Delivery Delay

An expected reduction in the UK’s Covid vaccine supply in April is partly due to a delay in a delivery from India of five million Oxford-AstraZeneca doses.
The shipment, produced by the Serum Institute of India, has been held up by four weeks, NHS England warned of a reduction in supply in April in a letter to local health organizations on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for the Serum Institute said: “Five million doses had been delivered a few weeks ago to the UK and we will try to supply more later, based on the current situation and the requirement for the government immunization program in India.”

Read more at the BBC

AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Vaccine Cleared by EU After Blood-Clot Concerns

The European Union’s health agency said that the Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca PLC was “safe and effective” and didn’t increase the risk of blood clots, a decision that could clear the way for the resumption of inoculation campaigns that have been halted in much of the region.

The European Medicines Agency said that new expert analysis concluded that the benefits of using a Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca outweigh its potential risks and inoculations with it should proceed.

Read more at the WSJ

The Fully Vaccinated Employee: What the New CDC Guidelines Mean for Employers

As employers consider whether to require vaccinations for employees and how to handle employees who refuse to be vaccinated, the CDC has given employers some clarity … and new issues to navigate. On March 9, the CDC issued its first set of recommendations for fully vaccinated people, providing guidance for everyone who has been patiently wondering what types of pre-COVID activities they can safely resume now that vaccines are here.

For employers navigating the constantly changing landscape of COVID-19 policies, the guidelines offer new options and potential new challenges, whether due to easing workplace restrictions or continuing them.

Read more at the National Law Review

CDC Issues Interim Guidance for Testing in Non-Healthcare Workplaces

The purpose of the guidance is to provide employers with considerations for incorporating testing for SARS-CoV-2 into a workplace COVID-19 preparedness, response, and control plan in select non-healthcare workplaces. The guidance includes descriptions of different types of SARS-CoV-2 tests; scenarios where SARS-CoV-2 testing may be used;  considerations for screening testing (testing asymptomatic workers with no known or suspected exposure to SARS-CoV-2)

The guidance says that screening testing could be effective in helping to prevent transmission for select workplace settings and are based on what is currently known about the transmission and severity of COVID-19 

Read the guidance at the CDC website

COVID-19 “Extension” of COBRA Deadlines May End Sooner Than Expected

In recently issued joint guidance, the Department of Labor, the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service confirmed the indirect extension of the COVID-19-related deadlines for electing and paying for COBRA coverage that were first announced in March 2020. In what may have been a surprise to some, the agencies also confirmed that the mandated extensions do not extend beyond 12 months. For former employees who faced one or more COBRA deadlines early in 2020, the mandated extensions may have already expired or may expire sooner than expected. 

Read more at Bond Schoeneck & King

CFOs Express Increased Optimism and Expectations for Economic Growth

Deloitte’s quarterly CFO Signals survey is out this morning, and while financial chiefs are usually a dour lot, their confidence currently is soaring.  Some 67% report rising optimism about their company’s financial prospects—the highest in a decade.

Fewer than one-fifth (18%) of CFOs say they plan to require employees to get a vaccine before returning to on-site work. 41% say they won’t require vaccinations. 35% are still undecided.  More than a third said they expect post-COVID travel expenditures to remain at 60% or lower than pre-COVID spending.

Read the results at Deloitte

Democrats, Republicans Hope Biden Will Take a Harder Line on China as Summit Begins

As the Biden administration holds its highest-level meetings with China since taking office, it enjoys broad bipartisan support for taking a tough stance toward Beijing but also faces skepticism about whether the talks will bring real policy changes.  The Biden administration plans to use that rare consensus as leverage when Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan meet Thursday and Friday in Alaska with China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Senior administration officials said the U.S. plans to outline some specific areas where China must take steps to change course before the relationship can move forward in a substantive way.

Read more at NBC News

SMIC Is Building a New Factory in Shenzhen Costing $2.35 Billion.

Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), China’s largest and most important chipmaker, is building a new factory in Shenzhen that will cost $2.35 billion.  The company and the government of the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen will jointly put capital into the project. Shenzhen is known as a huge technology hub in China and houses the headquarters of giants such as Tencent and Huawei.

SMIC is key to China’s plans to boost self-sufficiency in the semiconductor industry amid tensions with the U.S., which has exposed the world’s second-largest economy’s reliance on foreign technology in the field.

Read more at CNBC

Honda to Briefly Suspend ‘Most’ North America Auto Production

Japanese automaker Honda will be “suspending production” for one week at most of its plants in the United States and Canada due to factors that include a shortage of parts, the company said Tuesday.

The company is dealing with “a number of supply chain issues related to the impact from COVID-19, congestion at various ports, the microchip shortage and severe winter weather over the past several weeks,” especially in Texas, a Honda spokesperson in Japan told AFP. Since the situation is “fluid,” the timing and length of “production adjustments could change.”

Read more at IndustryWeek


Daily Briefing – 258

Post: Mar. 8, 2021

COVID Update 

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

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


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

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

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

Other Data

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

Useful Websites:

Cuomo Signs Bill “Limiting” Emergency Powers

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

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


NYS Vaccine Update – 10  Additional Mass Sites to Open

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

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

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

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

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

Visit the NPR Vaccine Tracker

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

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

Visit the directory

House Poised To Pass $1.9 Trillion Relief Bill On Today

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

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

Read more at NPR

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

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

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

Read more at the WSJ

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

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

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

Read more at MarketWatch

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

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

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

Read more at Reuters

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

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

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

Monday Economic Report 0308 2021

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

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

Read more at Reuters

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

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

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

Read more at Fortune


Daily Briefing – 244

Post: Feb. 16, 2021

COVID Update – Positivity Rate Continues to Decline

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Monday February 15th.  As part of that update, the Governor announced that New York State’s 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to 3.71 percent, the lowest since November 28.

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


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 6,620
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 697

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,216
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 408

Other Data

  • Statewide Transmission Rate (R0):  .88
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 3.71%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 4.47

Useful Websites:

NYS Vaccine Update – 1 Million New Yorkers Fully Vaccinated With Second Dose

As of 11AM Monday, New York’s health care distribution sites have received 2,192,675 first doses and already administered 91  percent or 1,992,575 first dose vaccinations. In total the state has administered  and 85 percent of first and second doses (2,862,984) of the 3,371,025 received. 

In the Mid-Hudson Region a cumulative total of 316,155 FIRST and SECOND doses have been distributed, 250,716 have been administered (80%).

US Vaccination Rollout – Biden Says US Will Surpass Goal of 100 Million Shots in 100 Days

President Joe Biden expressed optimism Tuesday that the U.S. vaccine rollout will surpass forecasts, although a massive winter storm was stalling efforts to deliver shots this week. “Before I took office, I set a big goal of administering 100 million shots in the first 100 days,” Biden tweeted Tuesday. “With the progress we’re making I believe we’ll not only reach that, we’ll break it.”

Biden’s goal had been considered conservative by experts. Dr. Anthony Fauci said last week that it would be “open season” for all Americans who want the vaccine by April. 

Read more at USA Today

Rapid Covid-19 Tests Are Going Unused

The U.S. government distributed millions of fast-acting tests for diagnosing coronavirus infections at the end of last year to help tamp down outbreaks in nursing homes and prisons and allow schools to reopen. But some states haven’t used many of the tests, due to logistical hurdles and accuracy concerns, squandering a valuable tool for managing the pandemic. The first batches, shipped to states in September, are approaching their six-month expiration dates.

At least 32 million of the 142 million BinaxNOW rapid Covid-19 tests distributed by the U.S. government to states starting last year weren’t used as of early February, according to a Wall Street Journal review of their inventories.

Read more at the WSJ

NIH Experts Discuss SARS-CoV-2 Viral Variants

The rise of several significant variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has attracted the attention of health and science experts worldwide. In an editorial published last week in JAMA, experts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, outline how these variants have arisen, concerns about whether vaccines currently authorized for use will continue to protect against new variants, and the need for a global approach to fighting SARS-CoV-2 as it spreads and acquires additional mutations.

The article was written by NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.; John R. Mascola, M.D., director of NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center (VRC); and Barney S. Graham, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director of NIAID’s VRC. 

Read the NIH press release

World Likely to Pay More for Meat as Food Inflation Deepens

There are signs that the food inflation that’s gripped the world over the past year, raising prices of everything from shredded cheese to peanut butter, is about to get worse. The COVID-19 pandemic upended food supply chains, paralyzing shipping, sickening workers that keep the world fed and ultimately raising consumer grocery costs around the globe last year. Now farmers — especially ones raising cattle, hogs and poultry — are getting squeezed by the highest corn and soybean prices in seven years. It’s lifted the costs of feeding their herds by 30% or more.

To stay profitable, producers including Tyson Foods, Inc. are increasing prices, which will ripple through supply chains and show up in the coming months as higher price tags for beef, pork and chicken around the world.

Read more at Business World

Senate Bill Introduced to Address Shortages in PPE, Testing Supplies

US Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) introduced legislation to address shortages of personal protective equipment and testing supplies. The Protecting Providers Everywhere (PPE) in America Act would boost domestic PPE and testing supply production. It would also promote a more sustainable supply chain by ensuring dedicated funding from the Strategic National Stockpile to American manufacturers of applicable medical supplies.

Read more at Homeland Preparedness News

GAO Report: Operation Warp Speed Accelerated COVID-19 Vaccine Development

The General Accounting Office (GAO) analyzed the the Operation Warp Speed program’s vaccine candidates and found that their development followed traditional practices, with some adaptations. For example, some clinical trial phases overlapped with each other and with animal studies to accelerate development.

Two vaccines were authorized for emergency use— the GAO  tracker shows all the candidates. GAO also found that agencies are working to help mitigate vaccine manufacturing challenges. 

Read the press release (Includes a link a GAO Podcast on Vaccine Manufacturing Challenges)

Empire State Manufacturing Survey: Growth Accelerates, Prices Increase, Employment Steady

Manufacturing activity grew at its fastest pace in months in New York State in February according to the New York Fed’s monthly survey. The general business conditions index rose nine points to 12.1, its highest level since July of last year. Thirty-two percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 20 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index rose four points to 10.8, indicating that orders increased, and the shipments index fell to 4.0, pointing to a small increase in shipments. Delivery times rose at the fastest pace in a year, and inventories were higher.

The same survey indicates that employment at manufacturers in the region grew slightly and that both prices paid and prices received increased at the fastest pace in a decade. 

Read more at the NY Fed

Bottom Story: IRS Says There Are No Plans to Extend Tax-Filing Deadline Beyond April 15

Last year, in the midst of Covid-related shutdowns, the agency ended up pushing the deadline for 2019 returns to July 15, giving individuals and businesses an extra 90 days to file and pay any amount owed. The IRS also had delayed the 2020 due dates for first- and second-quarter estimated payments.

Read more at CNBC


Daily Briefing – 239

Post: Feb. 9, 2021

COVID Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Monday February 8th. “Our post-holiday surge reduction is continuing, and that is the direct result of the toughness of New Yorkers who have sacrificed and done what is needed to beat back this invisible enemy. Our infection rate is the lowest it has been since December 1, so we’re back to where we started on the holiday surge,” Governor Cuomo said.

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


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 7,875
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 875

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,320
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 427

Other Data

  • Statewide Transmission Rate (R0):  .88
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 5.12%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 5.34

Useful Websites:

NYS Vaccine Update – Allocation to the States Increasing 5%

The White House announced a 5 percent increase in vaccine allocations to the states for the next three weeks. The state has administered over 2,228.567 vaccine doses through the state’s vaccination program. New York’s health care distribution sites have received 1,874,975 first doses and administered 90 percent (1,684,233) 56 percent of the 933,850 second doses (522,605) have been administered. Delivery of the week 9 allocation from the federal government begins mid-week.

In the Mid-Hudson Region a cumulative total of 264,710 FIRST and SECOND doses have been distributed, 201,953 have been administered (76%).

US Vaccination Progress 

The US CDC reported 59.31 million vaccine doses distributed and 42.42 million doses administered nationwide. The US has administered 71.5% of the distributed doses, an increase of more than 10 percentage points since Friday (61.2%). In total, 32.34 million people (nearly 10% of the entire US population) have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine, and 9.52 million (2.9%) have received both doses. The average daily doses administered is once again increasing, now up to a record high of 1.46 million doses per day.

A total of 4.95 million doses have been administered at long-term care facilities (LTCFs) through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care (LTC) Program*, including residents and staff. This covers 3.78 million individuals with at least 1 dose and 1.15 million with 2 doses. Approximately 60% of the doses have gone to residents, and 40% to staff.

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

Survey: Lower-Level Workers Are Less Willing to Receive the Vaccine than Senior Leadership

According to a new survey released on Feb. 8 by The Conference Board survey, there is a division based on job titles.  Lower-level workers are less willing to receive the vaccine than senior leadership.  Another issue that could be affecting acceptance of the vaccine is that nearly half of companies have yet to communicate a policy on getting the vaccine. Furthermore, even those companies that are encouraging workers to receive the vaccine are not mandating it as a condition of returning to the office.

Key findings include: One-fifth of US workers—19%—are undecided about whether to get the vaccine.  Three-quarters plan to take an FDA-approved vaccine when available.  Only 6% do not plan to get the vaccine.

Read more at EHS Today

Sen. Warren, Rep. Schakowsky Introduce Bill to Manufacture COVID-19 Supplies

US Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced legislation to publicly manufacture personal protective equipment, prescription drugs, and other medical supplies necessary to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pandemic Emergency Manufacturing Act of 2021 authorizes the federal government to manufacture medical products, including contracting with existing manufacturers, to ensure an adequate supply of critical materials to avoid rationing during this crisis.

Read more at Homeland Preparedness News

CDC Study: Decline in COVID-19 Hospitalization Growth Rates Associated with Statewide Mask Mandates

During March 22–October 17, 2020, 10 sites participating in the COVID-19–Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network in states with statewide mask mandates reported a decline in weekly COVID-19–associated hospitalization growth rates by up to 5.5 percentage points for adults aged 18–64 years after mandate implementation, compared with growth rates during the 4 weeks preceding implementation of the mandate.

Mask-wearing is a component of a multipronged strategy to decrease exposure to and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and reduce strain on the health care system, with likely direct effects on COVID-19 morbidity and associated mortality.

Read the more at the CDC website

WHO: Virus Likely Came From Animal, Not Laboratory

The virus that causes Covid-19 most likely entered the human population through an intermediate animal and is highly unlikely to have leaked from a laboratory, a leader of a World Health Organization investigative team said at a press conference in the Chinese city of Wuhan. In laying out the possibilities for the origin of the pandemic, the WHO team said Tuesday it was also possible that it may have been transmitted to humans through frozen food, a theory heavily promoted by Beijing. But the team said the most likely scenario was one in which the virus spilled over naturally from an animal into humans, such as from a bat to a small mammal that then infected a person.

The preliminary assessment came during a news conference that followed a two-week-long mission to Wuhan, the original center of the pandemic, which included 17 Chinese and 17 WHO experts. It comes more than a year after the virus first began spreading in China and around the globe, killing more than two million people.

Read more at the WSJ

Latest Chinese Vaccine News

The COVID-19 vaccine from China’s Cansino is 90.1% effective at preventing severe illness and 65.7% effective at preventing symptomatic cases, according to Pakistan’s health minister. The good news: it’s another single-shot vaccine, like J&J’s, which makes it easier than most to roll out. The bad news: like the other Chinese contenders, Sinopharm and Sinovac, Cansino has not published much data beyond flashy headline efficacy figures.

Read more at Fortune

Trade Deficit Hit Highest Point Since 2008 Last Year

The deficit between U.S. exports and imports hit a 12-year-high in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic hammered supply chains around the world. Full-year results for 2020 showed a deficit of $678.7 billion, 17.7% more than 2019 and the highest full year deficit since 2008.

That’s despite a slight dip in the monthly deficit in December, which saw a trade deficit of $66.6 billion, down $2.4 billion from November’s $69.0 billion. Pending revisions to the December figures, November had the highest single-month trade deficit of the year, but December’s three-month moving average, $66.5 billion, was the highest deficit period of the year.

Read more at IndustryWeek

CBO: $15 Minimum Wage Would Reduce Poverty, Cost Jobs

Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would increase wages for at least 17 million people, put 1.4 million Americans out of work, and lift some 900,000 out of poverty, according to the nonpartisan CBO.

This higher federal minimum could raise wages for an additional 10 million workers who would otherwise make slightly above that wage rate, the study found.

Read more at NPR


Daily Briefing – 243

Post: Jan. 31, 2021

COVID and “Winter Cluster Plan” Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday January 30th. 

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

Hospitalizations Statewide:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital   =  7,967
  • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Population =  .004%
  • Percent of Hospital Beds Available = 33%

Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 

  • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  940
  • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .004%
  • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 41%

ICU Beds Statewide

  • Total ICU Beds   =  5,909
  • Occupied ICU Beds =  4,365
  • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 26%

ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 

  • Total ICU Beds   =  700
  • Occupied ICU Beds =  422
  • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 38%

Other Data

  • Statewide Transmission Rate (R0):  .91
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 4.44%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 5.10

Useful Websites:

NYS Vaccine Update

As of 11:00 AM Sunday, New York’s health care distribution sites have received 1,554,450 first doses and has administered 88 percent or 1,361,212 first dose vaccinations and 73 percent of first and second doses. Delivery of the week 8 allocation from the federal government does not begin until the middle of this week. The past week New Yok received 410850 vaccines.  In the previous week New York received 678,500 vaccines. 

In the Mid-Hudson Region a cumulative total of 219,420 FIRST and SECOND doses have been distributed, 140,723 have been administered (64%).

US Vaccine Update

The US is continuing to adapt its SARS-CoV-2 vaccination strategy. Last week President Biden expressed confidence that the US will have enough supply to vaccinate 300 million individuals by the end of the summer.  Despite plans to scale up supply and distribution, the White House’s COVID-19 response team is calling for patience from the American people, noting that it will likely be months before everyone who would like a vaccine can get one. 

Even with increased supply and distribution, a number of barriers remain to vaccinating the US population. Notably, the absence of a federal vaccine stockpile has led states to reserve half of their allocation to ensure enough supply for second doses, which is slowing vaccination efforts. Until states can have confidence in longer-term planning for vaccine deliveries, many will likely continue to reserve doses.

Read more at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

Syringe Supply May Hamper Additional Doses

Some of the world’s largest syringe manufacturers warn that the demand for specialized syringes—such as the low-dead volume syringes—may soon exceed production capacity. Without the low-dead volume syringes, vaccinators may not be able to draw extra doses from each vial, which could reduce the number of available doses by 17%. I

Read more at Reuters

Cuomo: Limited NYC Dining Can Start February 14th, Wedding Receptions March 15th

Noting that that the restaurant industry is the lifeblood of New York City the Governor said that, if our current trajectory holds, New York City dining at 25 percent capacity can reopen on February 14th, Valentine’s Day.

Effective March 15th, marriage receptions can be held under limited state guidelines. Events must be approved by the local health department and there will be mandatory testing of all guests before an event. Capacity at weddings and receptions will be limited to no more than 150 people or no more than 50 percent of the venue’s capacity, whichever is lower. All patrons must be tested prior to the event. This upcoming change in guidelines follows the success of the Buffalo Bills program, which allowed fans to attend home games with mandatory testing. 

Read the press release

J&J Vaccine Provides Strong Shield Against Severe Covid

In a study of more than 44,000 people, the vaccine prevented 66% of moderate to severe cases of Covid-19, according to a company statement Friday. And it was particularly effective at stopping severe disease, preventing 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths.

Based on the result, J&J plans to file with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an emergency-use authorization next week. The drug giant’s top scientist said this month he expects a clearance in March, and that it would have product ready to ship then. The company didn’t specify how much of the vaccine would be available immediately, though it reaffirmed that the U.S. would receive 100 million doses by the end of June.

Read more at Bloomberg

AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Vaccine Wins EU Green Light

The European Union’s drug regulator recommended the use of AstraZeneca PLC’s Covid-19 vaccine in people 18 and older, clearing the way for a shot that EU officials have considered critical in turning the tide of the pandemic in the region.

But Friday’s announcement, from the European Medicines Agency, came with a warning that the shot hasn’t been tested enough in people over 55 to be certain the shot works in those age groups. Some European officials have reservations over using the vaccine—which AstraZeneca developed with the University of Oxford—to inoculate people over 65. The shot would likely work in the elderly, the EMA said, but there was limited data available. The result is that Friday’s decision might only slightly accelerate a vaccine rollout that has so far been slow.

Read more at the WSJ

The Latest Technologies to Keep Workers Safe From COVID-19

Outbreaks of the virus – or fear of exposure –  have forced  manufacturers to continue to rethink their processes. Industries ranging from automotive to food processing to consumer-packaged goods have had difficulty following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for social distancing, which is not always possible due to the close proximity of workers that may be required, leading to plant shutdowns and resulting in supply shortages and waste of essential products.

 Manufacturers, however, are learning to adapt to keep plants open and productive and workers safe by implementing new safety protocols. They’re also implementing technology specifically focused on curtailing COVID-19, such as Internet of Things (IoT) wearables, to help them keep track of unavoidable exposures among their workforces.

Read more at EHS Today

Survey: Vaccination Incentives Welcomed by US Workers

Fifty-three percent of US workers said employers shouldn’t mandate vaccinations and 43% would consider quitting if their employer did so, according to a Perceptyx survey. Despite this, 53% said they’d likely get a vaccination if available today, 56% would do so if encouraged by their employer, and 60% would if given an incentive of $100 or more by their employer.

The survey results indicate the challenges HR departments face in counseling executives on planning for workforce vaccination campaigns, but they may also show that a strategy centered around providing incentives for vaccination could connect with employees more broadly than a vaccination mandate.

Read more at HR Dive

Pelosi : House Will Take First Step Toward Passing More Covid Relief  Through Reconciliation

The House will forge ahead next week with the process that would allow Democrats to pass a coronavirus relief bill without Republican support, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday. Pelosi said the House plans to pass a resolution and send it to the Senate that will also have to pass a budget measure. This is the first step toward approving legislation through reconciliation. The process would enable Senate Democrats to approve an aid measure without GOP votes.

The speaker said she hopes Democrats can still win GOP support for President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue package as the White House holds talks with bipartisan lawmakers. But the House wants to prepare in case Democrats fail to win over Republicans skeptical of the price tag.

Read more at CNBC

Vaccine Passports: The Promise and Perils of Proving You’ve Had the Jab

The vaccination rollout has been rocky to say the least, bit it is enough of a start to invigorate a debate about whether people who have been vaccinated should be permitted to move around more freely.

To allow this, those who have been vaccinated need to be able to prove it. And thus has begun a discussion about whether certificates of immunity—or vaccination passports—should be introduced. Some tourism-dependent countries, such as the Seychelles, have already opened to people who have received a covid-19 jab. Opinions differ about how welcome the wider adoption of such a thing would be. Some think it is a quick route back to normal life. Others worry that it will be unfair and divisive.

Read more at The Economist


Daily Briefing – 216

Post: Dec. 21, 2020

British Airways and Delta Airlines Agree to Test All Passengers Before Entering New York State

Governor Cuomo yesterday announced that in the wake of a new, highly contagious variant of the COVID-19 virus found in the United Kingdom, British Airways and Delta Airlines have voluntarily agreed to require a COVID-19 test before allowing passengers to board planes traveling from the United Kingdom to New York. With this move, New York joins the list of 120 countries with a similar requirement on flights from the U.K. The Governor has asked Virgin Atlantic, the other airline that runs flights from the U.K. to New York, to do the same.

Read the press release

COVID and “Winter Plan” Update

Governor Cuomo held a press conference yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Sunday, December 20th.  Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

  • Hospitalizations Statewide
    • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  6331
    • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .003%
    • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in State  = 30%
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 
    • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  745
    • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .003%
    • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 33%
  • ICU Beds Statewide
    • Total ICU Beds   =  5664
    • Occupied ICU Beds =  3945
    • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 32%
  • ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 
    • Total ICU Beds   =  712
    • Occupied ICU Beds =  425
    • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 42%
  • Transmission Rate (R0): 1.09
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 5.75%

Here are some useful websites:

What Is in the $900 Billion Covid-19 Aid Bill

The Wall Street Journal has a nice breakdown of what is in the AID Bill Congress passed yesterday.  It includes help for some sectors that weren’t prioritized the first time around. New York Senator Chuck Schumer announced some additional details to look out for, including $25 billion in rental assistance, $15 billion for theaters and other live venues, $82 billion for local schools, colleges, and universities, and $10 billion for child care. 

Also included are more help for individuals, the unemployed, small businesses and others.

See the breakdown in the WSJ

Cuomo Announces New York Has Administered 38,000 Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine

Governor Cuomo announced yesterday that more than 38,000 vaccine doses have been administered in New York State as of Monday morning – the highest reported total in the nation thus far. Bolstering this effort, the first 346,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected to begin arriving in New York Monday, with an additional 120,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine expected later this week.

The Governor also announced the launch of New York’s Vaccine Equity Task Force chaired by Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, Attorney General Letitia James, National Urban League President & CEO Marc Morial, and Healthfirst President & CEO Pat Wang.

Read the press release

Monday Economic Report – Manufacturing Production Rose for the 7th Straight Month

Manufacturing production increased 0.8% in November, rising for the seventh straight month, led by strength in durable goods. The largest increases in output in November were in motor vehicles and parts, primary metals, paper, miscellaneous durable goods and aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment. Overall, manufacturing production remained 3.7% below the pre-pandemic pace in February.

There is also reports on Manufacturing Production, IHS Manufacturing PMI, Regional Fed Reports, Residential Construction, Consumer Spending, Unemployment Claims, Fed Plans and more.

Monday Economic Report 2020-1221

New York State Manufacturers PPE Survey 

If you are manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and/or looking to access PPE, you are asked to please take this brief surveybelow. As part of the COVID Recovery Initiative, the NYMEP will use your responses to get a better sense of the demand for PPE categories and types, and will then validate competitive suppliers and recommend PPE buying channels to manufacturers statewide.

Survey: 57% of Employees Back Mandated Vaccine

Fifty-seven percent of employees support mandated COVID-19 vaccinations from employers, and that percentage significantly increases among older, white-collar and Democrat-voting workers, according to a survey by CNBC and SurveyMonkey. “For CEOs and human resources professionals, the return to work is already a fraught endeavor, and factoring in political considerations adds yet another challenge,” write Laura Wronski and Jon Cohen.

Read the full story at CNBC 

New Regulations and Fact Sheets on NY Paid Sick Leave Law

Council Associate Member and friend Harris Beach Attorneys write that on December 9th, the DOL published proposed regulations that further implement the Paid Sick Leave Law. Although the regulations answer some questions, employers should note that the regulations are still in “proposed” form and not yet final. Employers and other members of the public have until February 7, 2021, to submit comments and feedback to the DOL regarding the proposed regulations.

The DOL has also issued several topic-specific and industry-specific “Fact Sheets” on the new law, including Fact Sheets specific to restaurants, farm workers, seasonal workers, and unionized employers.

The Fact Sheets and the Proposed Regulations can be found at the bottom of this page

Cutting Tool Orders Rising as Manufacturing Recovers

U.S. machine shops and other domestic manufacturing operations consumption $167.9 million worth of cutting tools during October, according to Cutting Tool Market Report issued jointly by the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute (USCTI) and AMT – the Association for Manufacturing Technology. The total represents a 7.6% increase over September’s result and a -22.4% shortfall of the October 2019 total.

The CTMR presents cutting-tool consumption as an indicator of overall manufacturing activity, as cutting tools are used in production of components used by virtually every industrial sector. 

Read more at American Machinist

The Newest Supplier KPI? Employee Vaccination Rate

The percentage of employees vaccinated against COVID-19 will be the most important supplier key performance indicator of 2021, surpassing the standard KPIs of on-time delivery, quality, and cost management. This according to a column in Supply Chain Dive

Vaccine compliance needs to be a top-line component of a supplier risk assessment. Procurement professionals today should immediately reach out to critical suppliers to learn about their vaccination plans and subsequent efforts to secure a healthy workplace, and workforce, during the pandemic recovery. If there is no established plan, request one. Be an early leader in the supply chain recovery. 

Read more at Supply Chain Dive


Daily Briefing – 213

Post: Dec. 16, 2020

State Website Provides Vaccine Updates

NYS has launched a website to keep New Yorkers informed as vaccines become available.  The State is receiving its first delivery of 170,000 doses this week and the first New Yorkers have begun to be vaccinated. Additional doses of the vaccine will follow later this month.  The first New Yorkers to receive the vaccine will be high-risk hospital workers (emergency room workers, ICU staff and Pulmonary Department staff), nursing home residents, nursing home staff, followed by all long-term and congregate care residents and staff, EMS workers, other health care workers, coroners and medical examiners. Staff at every hospital will have access to the first vaccine allocation.

Visit the site

COVID and “Winter Plan” Update

Governor Cuomo held a press conference yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Tuesday, December 15th. “New York’s goal is to have the best vaccine program in the United States. It’s the most ambitious governmental operation that has been undertaken, period. We have been planning for the vaccine, now we’re implementing that plan and we’re ensuring New Yorkers can access the vaccine free of charge.” The Governor said.

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

  • Hospitalizations Statewide
    • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  6097
    • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .003%
    • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 24%
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 
    • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  722
    • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .003%
    • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 28%
  • ICU Beds Statewide
    • Total ICU Beds   =  5756
    • Occupied ICU Beds =  3815
    • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 33%
  • ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 
    • Total ICU Beds   =  725
    • Occupied ICU Beds =  409
    • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 46%
  • Transmission Rate (R0): 1.09
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 6.21%

Here are some useful websites:

Timmons Calls on Governors to Use Fed Definition of Essential

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons sent a letter to the National Governors Association calling on state leaders to rely on federal definitions of essential businesses when distributing COVID-19 vaccines.

“Manufacturers recommend that governors rely on the sound definitions of essential critical infrastructure workforce offered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. These terms are comprehensive and well understood by the manufacturing community. Moreover, the CISA explanations of the industry sectors that comprise the nation’s critical infrastructure can be applied uniformly in various emergency and response circumstances determined by states and their elected leaders”  It is unlikely New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will adopt this position.

Groundhog Day – Congress Closes in on a $900 Billion Covid Relief Deal

Congressional leaders closed in on a $900 billion coronavirus relief deal Wednesday. The developing aid agreement would not include liability protections for businesses or aid to state and local government, CNBC confirmed. Disagreements over those two issues have blocked lawmakers from crafting a year-end rescue package.

The measure would contain a direct payment to Americans in some amount, as well as enhanced federal unemployment insurance, NBC News reported. In addition, Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana told CNBC that the deal would have roughly $300 billion in small business aid including Paycheck Protection Program loans, money for Covid-19 vaccine distribution and testing and relief for hospitals.

Read more at CNBC

Manufacturing Fuels Industrial Production Rise

Manufacturing increased 0.8% in November, according to the Federal Reserve, following 1.1% growth in October. Production of motor vehicles and parts showed particular strength with an increase of 5.3%.  Overall industrial production rose less in November than October, when it grew by a revised 0.9% after an initial estimate of 1.1%. Output in November remained 5% below pre-pandemic levels.

Economists are seeing “healthy, but not overly impressive” industrial growth that could continue to slow as job growth falls and Congress considers a relatively small federal stimulus.

Read more at the WSJ

Fed Updates Plans for Bond Buying, But Makes No Changes to Asset Purchases

The Federal Reserve provided updated plans Wednesday for its purchases of large amounts of government debt to support the economy, but didn’t change the program to provide more stimulus.  Fed officials also released new projections showing most of them expected interest rates would remain near zero at least through 2023, as the labor market and economy regain their pre-pandemic health.

Since June, the Fed had been buying $80 billion in Treasurys and $40 billion in mortgage bonds per month and had pledged to buy assets at least at that pace for “the coming months.”

Read more at the WSJ

Retail Sales Dropped  1.1% in November 

The November decline, plus a revision that put October sales down slightly, marked the end of several months of growth in retail spending after sharp drops earlier this year when the pandemic triggered widespread business closures. Retail sales for October were revised to a decline of 0.1% from an earlier estimate of a 0.3% increase.  Restaurants, department stores and vehicle dealerships all reported sharp sales declines, with clothing and furniture purchases falling. Purchases of groceries and building materials increased, along with online sales.

Sales were up by 4.1% when compared with the same month a year ago.

Read more at the WSJ

NY Fed: Businesses Report Marked Deceleration in Wages and Benefit Costs

Supplementary questions to the December Empire State Manufacturing Survey and Business Leaders Survey focused on recent and expected changes in the prices paid by firms for several major budget categories, including wages, employee benefits, insurance, energy, and other commodities. In the current survey manufacturers reported an average increase of 3 percent. Looking ahead, Manufacturers said that they expected the prices they paid to rise by 3.3 percent in 2021. In last December’s survey they had anticipated increases of more than 4 percent in 2020.

For wages, service firms reported an average decrease of 1.2 percent—the first reported decline in
the twelve years the Fed has asked this question—while manufacturers indicated an average increase of 2.1 percent. Looking ahead to 2021, both groups projected an average rise of roughly 3 percent. In last December’s survey, increases had been expected to average around 4 percent overall in 2020—a bit higher among service firms, a bit lower among manufacturers.

Read more at the NY Fed

NAM Meets with Yellen

The National Association of Manufacturer’s Executive Committee met with Treasury Secretary–designee Janet Yellen and Deputy Treasury Secretary–designee Wally Adeyemo for a virtual roundtable on Tuesday afternoon.  According to a statement from Biden’s transition team, Yellen described President-elect Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan and his policies for addressing the COVID-19 crisis as well as longer-term problems facing the economy, including job loss, wage stagnation, the decay of critical infrastructure and the need for investment in skills training.

“Dr. Yellen thanked NAM’s leadership for its partnership and support for her and Mr. Adeyemo’s nominations, and expressed the incoming administration’s gratitude for the critical role that manufacturing has played and will continue to play in the recovery, including the production of PPE and consumer goods, maintaining the food supply, and supporting vaccination efforts,” according to the statement.

Read the statement from the Biden Transition

Latest Polling in Georgia Senate Runoff Elections – Both Democrats Still Own Slight Leads

No candidate in either of Georgia’s Senate races won a majority of the vote on Nov. 3, triggering a runoff for both seats, with the top two candidates in each race facing off.  With less than four weeks remaining until the January 5th election the latest polling show very tight races with Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock holding slim leads over their Republican opponents David Purdue and Kelly Loeffler.

Control of the Senate now hinges on the outcome of these two races.

See the polling at 538

Mayo Clinic New York (and other states) COVID-19 Tracker Map

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Mayo Clinic has been tracking COVID-19 trends and predicting hot spots to keep our staff and hospitals safe. Now, They’re sharing the data they monitor.

This map shows a rolling average of daily cases for the past week. This is the best sign of hot spots.

See the map at the Mayo Clinic 


Daily Briefing – 211

Post: Dec. 14, 2020

“Winter Plan” Strategy Laid Out by DOH

Governor Cuomo and the state’s COVID Task Force have worked in consultation with global public health experts, local governments and other stakeholders to create a Winter Plan to combat a COVID-19 surge in New York.  The Winter Plan consists of five targeted strategies focused on mitigating the spread of the virus and bolstering New York State hospital preparedness.

Read the plan

COVID and “Winter Plan” Update

Governor Cuomo held a press briefing yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Sunday, December 13th.  He noted the increasing hospitalization rates may cause some regions’ hospital systems to become overwhelmed if rates do not stabilize. Currently, the areas with the highest risk of hospital systems becoming overwhelmed are New York City and Central New York, as well as Erie and Monroe Counties. Governor Cuomo warned that New York could see 11,000 COVID patients hospitalized (double the current number) if the current infection rate continues.  He warned that if the trajectory of hospitalization rates does not change the State could enter a second shut down of all non-essential businesses. 

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

  • Hospitalizations Statewide
    • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  5712
    • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .003%
    • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 23%
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 
    • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  705
    • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .003%
    • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 26%
  • ICU Beds Statewide
    • Total ICU Beds   =  5731
    • Occupied ICU Beds =  3781
    • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 33%
  • ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 
    • Total ICU Beds   =  741
    • Occupied ICU Beds =  394
    • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 48%
  • Transmission Rate (R0): 1.12
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 5.66%

Here are some useful websites:

First Covid-19 Vaccinations Administered to U.S. Public

A nurse in New York was among the first to receive the shot Monday morning, and health workers throughout the U.S. were also set to receive the newly authorized vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE. Pfizer shipped vaccine vials out Sunday, and hospitals and health departments across the country received them early Monday.

Some 145 U.S. hospitals and other sites were slated to receive vaccine doses Monday, followed by 425 on Tuesday and 66 on Wednesday, according to Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, the federal initiative to deliver Covid-19 vaccines.

Read more at the WSJ

Major Shippers Start Historic Vaccine Distribution

FedEx Express, UPS and Boyle Transportation trucks rolled out Sunday from a Pfizer manufacturing facility in Michigan, with security escorts, carrying shipments of 2.9 million US COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines were expected to arrive today at 145 of 636 distribution centers, with the doses to arrive at the remaining distribution centers by Wednesday.

Read more at Reuters

Cuomo Issues Executive Order 202.82 Which Sets Parameters for Administrations of COVID Vaccines.

The Executive Order is  in force through January 12th and (among  many other provisions) makes the following suspensions and modifications of law:

  • Modifies the Insurance Law to ensure health coverage for COVID-19 immunizations and its administration, including visits necessary to obtain the vaccine.
  • Permits licensed physicians, certified nurse practitioners to issue non-patient specific regimens to nurses, physician assistants, specialist assistants, pharmacists, or other permitted by this Order, as well as non-nursing staff, permitted by law or Executive Order and upon completion of training deemed adequate by the Commissioner of Health, to: (1) collect throat, nasal, or nasopharyngeal swab specimens, as applicable and appropriate, from individuals suspected of being infected by COVID-19 or influenza, for purposes of testing; (2) collect blood specimens for the diagnosis of acute or past COVID-19 disease; (3) administer vaccinations against influenza or COVID-19, and (4) where applicable and to the extent necessary, to perform tasks, under the supervision of a nurse, otherwise limited to the scope of practice of a licensed or registered nurse to provide care for individuals diagnosed or suspected of suffering from a COVID-19 or influenza infection.

Read the full order

US Purchase Another 100M Doses of Moderna Vaccine

The Trump administration announced on Friday that it will purchase another 100 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, according to a release from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  

The vaccine is still pending emergency authorization from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) but approval appears likely. The U.S. had previously ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine earlier this year, and those will begin shipping immediately upon FDA authorization, with 20 million expected by the end of December.  The second batch of 100 million doses purchased by the U.S. will be delivered in the second quarter of next year, according to HHS.

Read more at The Hill

Bipartisan Negotiators Unveil Stimulus Bill as Clock Ticks Down

A bipartisan group of senators finally hit paydirt in its long-running coronavirus relief negotiations. Nearly a dozen centrist senators will present their much-anticipated product on Monday afternoon in two pieces: a $748 billion package boosting funds for education, vaccine distribution, transportation and other areas, and a $160 billion add-on of state and local aid coupled with a short-term liability shield for employers, according to four people familiar with the talks.

McConnell has not commented directly on the bipartisan proposal, though it does meet his general framework after he relented on previous demands for liability reform in any new stimulus measure. Pelosi wouldn’t say Monday whether she’s open to dropping Democrats’ demands for additional state and local funding.”I very much support state and local,” Pelosi said. “We are in negotiations,” she added when asked by reporters if it was still a “red line” for Democrats.

Read more at Politico

Manufacturing Economic Report – Consumer Confidence, Producer and Consumer Price Indexes

The Small Business Optimism Index declined from 104.0 in October to 101.4 in November, with owners continuing to worry about short-term political and COVID-19 uncertainties. Despite some slippage in confidence, the headline index continued to reflect overall strength, with workforce challenges topping the “single most important problem” list once again. Consumer confidence rose in December, according to preliminary data from the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters, but confidence remains well below the levels seen before the pandemic. There were wide disparities along partisan lines.

Consumer and producer prices rose in November, but core inflation remains largely in check for now. Indeed, the Federal Reserve has pursued extraordinary monetary policy measures to help prop up the economy, with little worry about inflation, and it remains committed to its stimulative stance for the foreseeable future. The Federal Open Market Committee meets this week on Dec. 15–16.

Monday Economic Report 2020-1214

De Blasio: NYC Should Prepare for Full Shutdown Possibility

“The governor said we should prepare for the possibility for a full shutdown, I agree with that,” de Blasio said Monday. “We need to recognize that that may be coming, and we need to get ready for that now.”

A shutdown would ultimately be a decision that comes from Cuomo, but “what’s increasingly clear is that all forms of restrictions are on the table,” de Blasio said. “At the current rate we’re going, you have to be ready now for a full shutdown, a pause like we had back at the end of the spring. That’s increasingly necessary to break the back of the second wave, to stop it from growing, taking lives, threatening our hospitals.”

Read more at Bloomberg

U.K., EU Leaders Extend Marathon Brexit Talks

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and top European Union officials decided not to pull the plug from Brexit negotiations Sunday, with officials signaling last-minute progress on some of the issues that have bedeviled the talks. With time running short—a deal has to be in place by Jan. 1 to prevent huge disruption to trade and security cooperation—officials on both sides said negotiators appeared to be finding some common ground though they cautioned much work needed to be done.

Officials on both sides said they were narrowing differences over the question that lies at the center of their dispute: How much will the U.K. be tied to EU norms as the price for a tariff-free trade deal with its largest trading partner? On that question hangs trade worth close to $900 billion a year.

Read more at the WSJ


Daily Briefing – 205

Post: Dec. 6, 2020

Cluster Focus to Shift to Hospitalizations

The State is now primarily focused on hospitalization rates and hospital bed availability rather than positivity rates, though they continue to use that metric to monitor and control outbreaks. “We’re closely monitoring hospital capacity and have implemented triggers to ensure hospitals have what they need.” The Governor said.

  • The Western New York and Finger Lakes regions continue to have the highest percentage of population hospitalized.
  • Hospital capacity can be increased by using a “surge and flex” system which ends elective surgeries, expands hospital capacity, and builds field hospitals.
  • Roughly 40% of the ICU beds in the State are currently available.
  • At the beginning of the pandemic the average stay in the hospital for a COVID patient was 11 days. It’s now five days thanks to improved treatments. In March, 23% of those hospitalized would pass away from COVID-19. Now, it is just eight percent.

Read the press release

COVID and Cluster Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release  yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday, December 5th. 

Tracking data for the Clusters and the rest of the State are below. 

  • Clusters: 6.22%
  • Statewide: 4.71%
  • Mid-Hudson Region: 5.97%
  • Statewide excluding clusters: 4.24%
  • Rockland yellow zone: 5.80%
  • Westchester yellow-zones (Peekskill  10.59, Ossining 8.68, Tarrytown 5.70, Yonkers 5.76 New Rochelle 5.94, Port Chester 11.42)
  • Orange Yellow Zones – (Newburgh 7.88, Middletown 8.16)
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 4,063 (783 in ICU) 
  • Transmission Rate (R0): 1.11

Here are some useful websites:

US Economy Adds 245,000 Jobs, Unemployment Rate Falls to 6.7% – November Jobs Report

The U.S. Department of Labor released its monthly jobs report Friday morning.  Here were the main results from the report, compared to Bloomberg consensus data as of Friday morning:

  • Change in non-farm payrolls: +245,000 vs. +460,000 expected and a revised +610,000 in October
  • Unemployment rate: 6.7% vs. 6.7% expected and 6.9% in October
  • Average Hourly Earnings month-over-month: 0.3% vs. +0.1% expected and +0.1% in October
  • Average Hourly Earnings year-over-year: 4.4% vs. +4.2% expected and a revised +4.4% in October

Read more at Yahoo Finance

Manufacturers Add 27,000 Jobs in November

Manufacturing added 27,000 new jobs in November as compared to 33,000 in October. The number of new jobs created each month in manufacturing has trended downward each month. The manufacturing sector employs 599,000 fewer people than it did before February 2020.

In a troubling sign for the health of the economy and of employers still looking to hire, the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that the 0.2 point drop in the unemployment rate was mainly due to a loss in the number of people participating in the labor force, which means fewer people are looking for a job. About 3.9 million people in November reported that the COVID pandemic prevented them from looking for work, up from 3.6 million in October. That could exacerbate a key stumbling block for manufacturers. In the Institute for Supply Management’s December 1 survey of manufacturers, executives from multiple industries cited labor shortages and suppliers with labor shortages as a challenge in ramping up production while most other factors, including consumer demand, were favorable.

Read more at IndustryWeek

The Bipartisan Stimulus Bill Looks Pretty Close To What Top Economists Think Is Needed

With the slowing pace of the economic recovery and a winter without a widely-distributed vaccine, some economists are feeling exasperated with Capitol Hill: “C’mon, already!” exclaims Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi. “If we don’t get that help, [Friday’s unemployment] report suggests that the economy is going to start backtracking, we’re going to start losing jobs, and unemployment will start rising again,” Zandi tells Fortune.  

Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. economics at Bank of America, is slightly more optimistic: “There’s a clear economic case for the stimulus, but I think it’s important to remember that the economy has continued to recover, has continued to heal,” she tells Fortune. “Another round of stimulus will simply speed up that healing process in a way that could be very powerful for the trajectory of growth once we have the vaccine.”

But what’s on economists’ wish lists for a stimulus bill to bridge the gap between an ailing economy and a vaccine-liberated one?

Read more at Fortune

Meatpacker JBS Removed At-Risk Workers from Beef Plant Amid Covid-19 Surge

U.S. meatpackers are shoring up defenses to keep Covid-19 out of plants that collectively employ hundreds of thousands of workers, supplying meat to fast-food chains and supermarkets. Rapidly spreading infections associated with U.S. meatpacking plants last spring killed dozens of workers, forced widespread shutdowns and led to shortages in some meat products, while backing up livestock on farms.

JBS on Nov. 7 removed 202 Greeley plant workers considered vulnerable to the coronavirus due to age and other factors, a JBS spokesman said. Those workers are getting full pay and benefits and can return to work after community-infection rates decrease, he said. The step has had marginal effect on the plant’s beef production, according to the company.

Read more at the WSJ

States Forge COVID-19 Liability Shields

One of the factors for business owners who are making the decision of whether to reopen while the COVID-19 pandemic waxes and wanes is the prospect of legal liability claims filed by employees, vendors and customers who contract the virus in your premises.

On the federal level there isn’t much to report because partisan differences have reinforced legislative gridlock. States that have already jumped on the bandwagon are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming. Each has chosen to enact COVID liability shields either by taking legislative action or through executive orders issued by their governors.  Legislation is being considered in several other states, including Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and South Carolina, report attorneys Honore Hishamunda and Kevin M. Young of the Seyfarth Shaw law firm. 

Read more at EHS Today

Johns Hopkins Looks at Worldwide Case Fatality Ratio

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have focused separately on incidence and mortality, whether in terms of total or per capita values. Today, we will take a closer look at the relationship between these to metrics by discussing the case fatality ratio (CFR). CFR helps us understand how severe a disease is by determining what percentage of patients ultimately die. The CFR for the vast majority of countries remains below 3%. In fact, 86% of countries (163 of 190) and territories tracked by Our World in Data are reporting CFR of 3% or less, 63% (120) are reporting a CFR 2% or less, and 31% (59) are reporting a CFR of 1% or less. Globally, the cumulative CFR is currently 2.3%.

Johns Hopkins looks at Worldwide case fatality ratio (CFR)

Nat Geo Poll Shows 61 Percent of Americans Likely to Take COVID-19 Vaccine

A National Geographic and Morning Consult poll finds 61 percent of Americans surveyed are likely to do so as well. Of the 2,201 Americans polled, 37 percent responded “very likely” and 24 percent “somewhat likely.” Another 11 percent said “somewhat unlikely” and 19 percent “very unlikely.” Ten percent of respondents said they didn’t know. (The categories of responses were rounded to the nearest percentage).

Men who were polled were more likely (69 percent) to say they would take the vaccine than women (51 percent), with nearly 1 in 4 women responding “very unlikely.” Sixty-two percent of women identifying as Democrats supported taking the vaccine, as opposed to 45 percent of Republican women and 42 percent of female Independents.

Read more and see the charts at National Geographic


Daily Briefing – 201

Post: Dec. 1, 2020

COVID and Cluster Update 

Governor Cuomo held a press briefing yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Sunday, November 29th. The Governor reminded New Yorkers that Thanksgiving was not the end, but just the beginning of the dangerous Holiday Season “You are not just going into the Thanksgiving weekend, you’re starting a 37-day holiday period. It’s not a one- or two-day affair—it’s going to be the entire holiday season. New Yorkers need to stay vigilant, wash their hands, wear masks, socially distance and follow the rules as we move through the next 37 days and beyond.” He said. 

Tracking data for the Clusters and the rest of the State are below. 

  • Clusters: 6.22%
  • Rockland yellow zone: 4.23%
  • Westchester yellow-zones (Peekskill  8.43, Ossining 10.65, Tarrytown 6.38, Yonkers 5.03 New Rochelle 6.19, Port Chester 7.91)
  • Orange Yellow Zones – (Newburgh 7.66, Middletown 4.78)
  • Statewide: 4.57%
  • Statewide excluding clusters: 4.02%
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 3,532 (681 in ICU) 
  • Transmission Rate (R0): 1.11

Here are some useful websites:

China’s Factory Activity Expands at Fastest Pace in More Than Three Years

Upbeat data released on Monday suggests the world’s second-largest economy is on track to become the first to completely shake off the drag from widespread industry shutdowns, with recent production data showing manufacturing now at pre-pandemic levels.

China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) rose to 52.1 in November from 51.4 in October, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. It was the highest PMI reading since September 2017 and remained above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis. It was also higher than the 51.5 median forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Read more at Reuters

OPEC Faces Seismic Demand Split as Cartel Plots Next Move

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to weigh on global oil demand, the OPEC oil producers’ club on Monday began a meeting in which they are expected to decide on an extension of production cuts.

The common goal of the 13 member states, who will be joined by Russia and other allies forming the OPEC+ grouping on Tuesday, is to keep afloat a crude market devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic and which is slowly recovering from the depths into which prices plunged at the end of April. However, most observers expect the cut instead to be extended by three to six months to take into account the ongoing effects of the virus.

Read more at Bloomberg

Moderna Says New Data Shows Covid Vaccine is More Than 94% Effective, Asks FDA for Emergency Clearance

Moderna Monday requested emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for its coronavirus vaccine after new data confirms the vaccine is more than 94% effective in preventing Covid-19 and was safe. The new analysis from Moderna evaluated 196 confirmed Covid infections among the late-stage trial’s 30,000 participants. The company said 185 cases of Covid were observed in the placebo group versus 11 cases observed in the group that received its vaccine. That resulted in an estimated vaccine efficacy of 94.1%, the company said.

Moderna hopes to provide the U.S. government with 20 million doses by the end of the year, and Pfizer says it should have 50 million doses to split between the United States and other countries that made advanced purchase agreements.

Read more at CNBC

How COVID-19 Forced Companies to Reinvent Themselves

Long-term plans for technology, localized supply chains and the ability to quickly pivot production have helped companies such as furniture maker Ethan Allen and pizza maker Domino’s survive the pandemic, write Jennifer Pellet and Dale Buss. “If our focus was three to five years, like most companies, we would do like everyone else and go after higher margins by buying products made in East Asia,” says Ethan Allen CEO Farooq Kathwari.

The Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon on What Democrat Supermajorities in Albany Might Mean To the State’s Fiscal Situation and Economy

When most of the state’s record 1.9 million mail-in ballots were finally counted this week, it became clear that the New York State Senate’s existing 40-member Democratic majority would grow by at least two seats—giving them their first-ever two-thirds supermajority of the 63-member chamber, enough to override gubernatorial vetoes.

“Economic reality doesn’t factor into the rising Albany worldview. On average, the state’s incoming class of legislators are more inclined to tax, spend, and regulate—and far from hesitating to impose more restrictions on a shaky economy, they see the pandemic-driven crisis as an opportunity to be exploited.”

Read more at the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal

GM Revises Nikola Deal, Won’t Build Electric Pickup

General Motors has agreed to a new deal with Nikola under which GM will build the fuel-cell system for Nikola’s Class 7 and 8 semi-trucks. The revision means GM won’t take an equity stake or manufacture Nikola’s planned electric pickup.

In September, the companies announced a deal under which GM would supply batteries, a chassis architecture, fuel cell systems and a factory to build Nikola’s proposed Badger electric pickup in return for an 11% stake and $700 million. But the deal came into question after a short seller criticised Nikola as a fraud, something Nikola has denied.

Read the full story at Reuters

Study: Covid Infections in England Fall By 30% After Lockdown

Coronavirus infections in England have fallen by about a third over lockdown, according to a major study. Some of the worst-hit areas saw the biggest improvements – but, despite this progress, cases remained relatively high across England.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the data showed the country could not “take our foot off the pedal just yet”.  The findings by Imperial College London were based on swabbing more than 100,000 people between 13-24 November.

Read more at the BBC

New York Federal Reserve President John Williams More Optimistic About Economic Recovery

In an interview carried live on the Wall Street Journal’s website, President Williams said the lending facilities stood up earlier this year were effective and that “if we did see a need to use those kinds of facilities again, we could restart them if that was appropriate.” In separate remarks before the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, Williams said he is more optimistic about the economic recovery given positive developments, including a stronger than expected rebound, and developments regarding COVID-19 vaccines. But he noted that the labor force is still down millions of jobs since COVID-19 pandemic first hit and emphasized that Fed’s commitment to help the economy get back to “full strength.”

Watch the Q&A at the WSJ

Two Surveys for New York State Manufacturers From FuzeHub: PPE, and Reshoring & Supply Chain

The New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NYMEP) is helping manufacturers statewide to access Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in response to COVID-19. Grants are available for NYS manufacturers of PPE. Please take this brief survey.

Learn more and take the survey

We continue to listen to New York State Manufacturers on how their Supply Chains have been affected by Covid-19 and Tariffs. We NEED to hear from you! Was your supply chain disrupted by Covid-19? | Are your imported goods falling short on deliver or quality? | Do you want to develop a strategy to better sell to domestic clients? | Have you been impacted by Tariffs? | Were you unaware of the Risks to your supply chain? If YES to any of those, please take part in our Supply Chain Program Survey.

Learn more and take the Survey


Daily Briefing – 192

Post: Nov. 15, 2020

COVID and Cluster Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday, November 14th.  A total 133,202 COVID-19 tests were reported to the State Saturday.

Tracking data for the Clusters and the rest of the State are below.  

  • Clusters: 4.05%
  • Rockland Red zone: 3.21%
  • Westchester yellow-zone: 4.05
  • Orange Orange zone: 2.34%
  • Statewide: 2.74%
  • Statewide excluding clusters: 2.45%
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 1,845 (378 in ICU) 

Here are some useful websites:

New York State Transmission Rate Bumps Up – Now 3rd Highest in the Nation 

The average number of people who become infected by an infectious person with COVID-19 is 1.32 in New York State making it 3rd highest in the U.S. as of November 11th.  New York’s rate is only slower than those of Maine (1.48) and Vermont (1.36.) A number below 1 indicates the spread of the virus is slowing, above 1 means it is accelerating.

See the transmission rates by State at Statista

Consumer Prices Stay Flat

U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in October, the lowest reading in five months, suggesting that a price spike over the summer is beginning to fade as coronavirus cases spread. The flat reading for last month followed a gain of 0.2% in September. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, also showed no changed in October, another indication that inflation remains well-behaved, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Over the past 12 months, overall inflation is up a moderate 1.2% while core inflation is up 1.6%. Both readings are well below the Federal Reserve’s 2% target for annual price gains.

Read more at the AP

DiNapoli: After Five Months, Jobs Recovery Varies Across New York

Total employment in New York State fell in March, and again—much more sharply—in April, with a combined loss of more than 1.9 million jobs. After five months of partial employment recovery since then, figures for September show significant if not severe lingering damage to job counts in every one of the State’s fifteen metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs).

New York City, an early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to feel the sharpest loss, with a net decline of 648,000 jobs, nearly 14 percent of its February total. Figures for the Orange-Rockland-Westchester MSA also show a large decline of 10.7 percent. 

Read more and see the numbers at the Controller website

Moderna Says its Vaccine is 94.5% Effective 

Moderna Inc said on Monday its experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19 based on interim data from a late-stage clinical trial, becoming the second U.S. company in a week to report results that far exceed expectations.
Together with Pfizer Inc’s vaccine, also shown to be more than 90% effective, and pending more safety data and regulatory review, the United States could have two vaccines authorized for emergency use in December with as many as 60 million doses of vaccine available by the year’s end. Next year, the U.S. government could have access to more than 1 billion doses just from the two vaccine makers, more than needed for the country’s 330 million residents.
Read more at Yahoo Finance

Smaller, Faster, Cheaper – Fast Tests for COVID-19 are Coming

To try to slow the pandemic many countries are starting to deploy tests which, at some cost in accuracy, deliver their results much more rapidly than the polymerase-chain-reaction (pcr) tests that were commonplace at the pandemic’s beginning. These rapid tests will allow greater numbers of infected people than previously possible to be detected and quarantined before they can spread the contagion. They are therefore being used in increasing numbers to screen people for the presence of sars-cov-2, the virus that causes covid-19, in settings ranging from airports to nursing homes. In Europe, indeed, they are sometimes used to blitz entire neighborhoods, cities and even small countries, like Slovakia. But will they change the course of the pandemic?

PCR tests look for the genetic sequence of the virus in nose and throat swabs. These swabs have to be processed in laboratories and require machines that take hours to come up with a result. They are extremely accurate. But the delay involved can hobble test-and-trace systems.

Read more at The Economist

Coronavirus Surge Tests the Smallest Employers

Small-business owners are grappling with how to manage their workers as the numbers of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. surge. The questions include everything from reopening the office lunchroom to policing employees’ personal lives.

Delta Systems Inc., a maker of components for outdoor power equipment, thought it had all the proper safety measures in place. The Streetsboro, Ohio, company gives workers the option of cloth masks or plastic face shields. It checks employees’ temperatures daily and asks a handful of questions—about out-of-state travel, exposure to someone diagnosed with the virus and changes in their own health. But after cases jumped again in Ohio and two of Delta’s roughly 200 employees tested positive for the virus in recent weeks, executives have begun looking at next steps. As a manufacturer, the company doesn’t have the luxury of shutting down or sending production workers to do their jobs from home.

Read more at the WSJ

Pfizer Readies ‘Herculean Effort’ to Distribute Coronavirus Vaccine, Corning Ramps Up Vial Production

Pfizer is marshaling a massive new cold-storage supply chain to handle the delicate dance of transporting limited doses of its coronavirus vaccine from manufacturer to any point of use within two days. Experts say it will be a “Herculean effort” requiring several new technologies to work in flawless concert to safely deliver every dose of the drug.

The vaccine will be formulated, finished and placed in cold storage in the pharmaceutical giant’s Kalamazoo, Michigan, facility, its largest such plant in the country. During the shipment and storage, the vaccines must be kept at 94 degrees below zero Fahrenheit in order to maintain optimal efficacy. Each package can contain 1,000 to 5,000 doses. Corning, Inc. has ramped up production of a specialized glass that can withstand such a temperature. Hundreds of millions are in production at the moment. Corning says the $2.4 million deal also added 100 jobs.

Read more at NBC

Cuomo Threatens Trump With Legal Action Over Vaccine Distribution Plan

Governor Cuomo repeated his threat to sue the Trump administration as he invoked Martin Luther King, Jr. during Sunday remarks about the COVID outbreak at historic Riverside Church in Manhattan.

The governor went on to repeat his criticism of the Trump administration’s plans for distributing the coronavirus vaccine once it becomes available, saying that relying on hospitals and the private sector will perpetuate inequalities during the outbreak, which has affected communities of color at disproportionately high rates.

Read more at Yahoo News

Dozens of COVID-19 Vaccines Are in Development – Here Are the Ones to Follow

More than 150 coronavirus vaccines are in development across the world—and hopes are high to bring one to market in record time to ease the global crisis. Several efforts are underway to help make that possible, including the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed initiative, which has pledged $10 billion and aims to develop and deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective coronavirus vaccine by January 2021. The World Health Organization is also coordinating global efforts to develop a vaccine, with an eye toward delivering two billion doses by the end of 2021.

Though it’s too soon to say which candidates will ultimately be successful, here’s a look at the prospects that have reached phase three and beyond—including a quick primer on how they work and where they stand.

Read more at NatGeo


Daily Briefing – 190

Post: Nov. 11, 2020

New York State Rate of  Transmission is One of Highest in the Nation – Deaths Pass 26,000

The average number of people who become infected by an infectious person with COVID-19 is 1.24 in New York State tying it for 5th highest in the U.S. (as of November 9, 2020).  a number below 1 indicates the spread of the virus is slowing, above 1 means it is accelerating.

Meanwhile the 32 COVID deaths Tuesday pushed the state past the grim milestone of 26,000 to 26,005. 

See the transmission rates by State at Statista

COVID and Cluster Update 

Governor Cuomo held a phone call press briefing detailing New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Tuesday November 10th. Tracking data for the Clusters and the rest of the State are below.  

  • Clusters: 4.96%
  • Rockland Red zone: 1.81%
  • Westchester yellow-zone: 4.09
  • Orange Orange zone: 1.74%
  • Statewide: 2.93%
  • Statewide excluding clusters: 2.58%
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 1,628 (304 in ICU) 

Here are some useful websites:

Governor Cuomo Announces New Business Restrictions

In response to the rapidly increasing rate of COVID-19 cases across the country, the region, and New York State, Governor Cuomo announced new restrictions on public activity. Contact tracing efforts have shown that three types of establishments are contributing to community spread. The State is taking new action to limit activities in these establishments which will go into effect on Friday, November 13th at 10:00 p.m.

  • Any establishment with a State Liquor Authority license, including bars, restaurants, and bowling alleys, can remain open, but will be required to close nightly at 10:00 p.m. Restaurants will be allowed to continue curbside pickup after 10:00 p.m., but only for food.
  • Gyms and fitness centers can remain open, but will be required to close nightly at 10:00 p.m.
  • Gatherings in private residences will be limited to ten people maximum. Border states have taken this measure and New York is following suit.

In response to a question from a reporter, Governor Cuomo said that if the positivity rate continues to increase the State will consider additional restrictions on economic activities including limiting indoor dining.  Governor Cuomo stated that he understands restrictions are tough on the affected industries, be that as it may we are closer than ever to a vaccine and restrictions are needed to get through the end of this pandemic

Read the press release

Johns Hopkins Center For Health Security Update

The daily incidence in the US is nearly 110,000 new cases per day and still increasing exponentially. The US is also reporting 976 deaths per day, an increase of nearly 40 percent since October 18. We expect that the average daily mortality will once again exceed 1,000 deaths per day in the coming days. If the US continues on this trajectory, it could surpass 250,000 cumulative deaths in the next 2 weeks.

As we have covered previously, COVID-19 incidence does not tell the full story. In addition to incidence, testing, hospitalizations, and mortality provide important insight into the current state of the US epidemic.  the US test positivity has doubled, from 4.2% to 8.3%, since early-to-mid October, once again putting the US above the WHO’s recommended 5% threshold. COVID-19 hospitalizations are increasing nationwide, with the Midwest exhibiting the most substantial surge over the past several weeks. Looking at mortality, it is clear that COVID-19 deaths continue to follow trends in incidence, with a lag of approximately 3-4 weeks. The national surge in incidence began in mid-September, followed by a corresponding increase in mortality starting in mid-October. Since that time, daily COVID-19 mortality has increased by more than one-third.

Read more at Johns Hopkins

Wearables Can Help Detect COVID-19

Researchers calculated a baseline for each participant’s heart rate, sleep and activity levels. Using that data and self-reported symptoms, they developed a model that was able to predict with 80% accuracy whether a participant who experienced symptoms was likely to have COVID-19. They noted a significant difference in sleep and activity levels for people who tested positive compared to those participants who reported symptoms but tested negative.  The results were published in the journal Nature.

The findings highlight the fact that about 40-50% of those who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 report no symptoms or are pre-symptomatic. These people are still infectious but because they don’t feel sick, they may not seek testing and likely aren’t self-isolating, making it difficult to stop the spread.

Read more at EHS Today

Stimulus Negotiations in a ‘Lame Duck’ Session Likely to Face More Deadlock

With just a few weeks left in Congress’ session the path appears more murky than ever for a deal to be brokered during the “lame-duck session,” the period in November and December before a new Congress and president take power in January.

Congress’ top priority during the short session will be a spending bill to avert a government shutdown in December. Though a coronavirus stimulus deal remains a priority, Congress will have little time to resolve all its policy differences, reach an agreement and then pass it through both chambers before the House and Senate leave in December. The House is done with its year Dec. 10, and the Senate leaves Dec. 18.

Read more at USA Today

Transatlantic Trade Update

Less than 48 hours after Joe Biden pledged to “make America respected around the world again,” the EU reminded him that trans-Atlantic trade relations might be a good place to start, slapping tariffs on $4 billion worth of U.S. imports over illegal subsidies to Boeing. Besides the dogfight over airplane manufacturers. After more than 15 years of litigation, a bitter dispute is winding down. The EU and America have accused each other of unfairly subsidizing their aircraft industries, and both have won their claims at the World Trade Organization. 

But there are signs of a ceasefire. The EU’s tariffs were carefully calibrated to match the American ones. And despite previous American threats to escalate the dispute, a statement from Washington on November 9th suggested that the two sides were negotiating. Both sides realize that, with the strain put on aircraft-makers by covid-19, peace makes more sense than war.
Here is a rundown of the main U.S.-EU trade-related disagreements from Bloomberg

FAA Set to Lift 737 MAX Grounding Order

The Federal Aviation Administration is set to “unground” the Boeing 737 MAX passenger aircraft within days, according to published reports. Reuters cited sources saying the FAA would lift its grounding order by November 18, bringing to a close more than 19 months of investigation, testing, and recertification for the twin-engine aircraft series following two accidents that killed a total 346 passengers and crew members, in October 2018 and March 2019.

The FAA decision comes as other global regulators are also moving closer to decisions on allowing the plane to again resume flights and could approve the MAX around the time U.S. regulators act, the sources said.

Read more at Reuters

Honoring Veterans by Providing Job Opportunities

The Manufacturing Institute has graduated more than 400 military veterans from its Heroes MAKE America program, which has supplied hires at more than 100 companies. This year, the institute added the Heroes Connect service in response to the pandemic, allowing for virtual face-to-face connections between veterans and prospective employers.

The Council of Industry is a proud partner of the Manufacturing Institute

Read more at IndustryWeek


Daily Briefing – 186

Post: Nov. 5, 2020

COVID and Cluster Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release today detailing New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Wednesday November 4th. Tracking data for the hotspots and the rest of the State are below.

  • Hotspot Zones: 3.04e: 0.88%
  • Rockland Hot Zone: 3.81%
  • Orange Orange Zone: 0.75%
  • Statewide: 1.86%
  • Statewide excluding hotspots: 1.70%
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 1,277 (268 in ICU) 

Here are some useful websites:

U.S. Daily Coronavirus Cases Top 100,000 for the First Time

The number of new daily coronavirus cases recorded in the U.S. surpassed 100,000 for the time, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The data showed 102,831 new Covid-19 infections were recorded on Wednesday, up from 91,530 cases on Election Day. 

The data also showed that 1,097 deaths were recorded Wednesday, lower than the 1,134 deaths reported the previous day.  The grim daily record comes after data showed a soaring number of hospitalizations due to the virus in many states, with the surge most pronounced in the Midwest and Southwest.

Read more at CNBC

Election Update – Continued Counting and Lawsuits

Votes continue to be counted  – and counting is a bit slower than past presidential elections due to the high number of absentee ballots. Depending on which news outlet you follow former Vice President Joe Biden is either 6 or 16 electoral votes shy of the 270 needed to win the presidency. President Trump’s campaign is unhappy with what they consider a slow count of ballots and claim they are being excluded from the process making them suspicious of the results. They have filed lawsuits in several states asking to halt counting until they are allowed to monitor counting.

Republicans appear to have held on to control of the Senate though that will likely require them to win run-off elections in Georgia. They may also have gained a few seats in the House.
Markets have rallied on the prospect of a government divided between the two parties.
Read live election updates in the WSJ
Read about market reaction to the results at CNBC

State Senate Races In The Hudson Valley Too Close to Call – Veto Proof Majority May Hang In The Balance

A number of New York state Senate races in the Hudson Valley have not been decided. It could be weeks before constituents know who will represent them next year. The closest races are in districts with first-term Democrats in seats previously in Republican hands for a long time. Democrat Jen Metzger is trailing in the 42nd District, which had been in Republican hands for years before John Bonacic retired in 2018. Republican Mike Martucci has declared victory, saying the margin of victory at the polls was substantial enough to overcome the number of mail-in and absentee ballots on file with the Board of Elections. Metzger says there are about 25,000 absentee ballots that are overwhelmingly from Democratic voters, and she’ll await the final results. The 42nd District includes Sullivan County and portions of Delaware, Orange and Ulster Counties.
Read more at WAMC

McConnell Calls for Coronavirus Package Before End of the Year

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that Congress should approve a coronavirus relief package before the end of the year, a shift from his recent suggestion that a measure was more likely early next year.

During a press conference in Kentucky a day after he won reelection, McConnell expressed optimism that negotiators could reach a deal post-election. The outcome of the presidential contest and control of the Senate remains unknown, though final results are expected within the coming days if not sooner.

Read more at Politico

Jobless claims: Another 751,000 Americans Filed New Claims

The Labor Department’s latest report reflected the tenth straight week that new jobless claims came in below the psychologically important 1 million mark. And the past several months’ worth of weekly new claims have come down significantly from the nearly 7 million new claims filed at the beginning of April. However, improvements have slowed to a trickle compared to the initial legs lower in new weekly claims that ensued after April’s peak, and the latest initial jobless claims tally came in worse-than-expected.

“Overall, the economy appears to be losing a bit of momentum,” Wells Fargo Securities economists including Jay Bryson said in a recent note. “Jobless claims have improved recently but remain elevated.”

Read more at Yahoo Finance

GM Rebounds From Coronavirus-Related Losses

General Motors Co. GM +1.23% ’s efforts to crank up production of pickups and other lucrative models drove a $4 billion profit in the third quarter, the latest automotive company to rebound from earlier Covid-19-related losses, even as the pandemic worsens. The car business has mounted a striking recovery since U.S. auto plants were idled for several weeks last spring. Auto makers have managed to keep their factories bustling without major pandemic-related disruptions, while demand for new vehicles has come back stronger than analysts predicted when the crisis hit.

GM said Thursday net income rose 74% over the same quarter in 2019, when a bruising 40-day strike led by the United Auto Workers union halted work at the company’s U.S. factories, denting earnings.

Read more at Reuters

Most Americans Chose Not to Raid Their 401(k)… Yet

Faced with the prospect of surging unemployment and a declining economy, Congress in March passed a law that temporarily allows Americans to use their retirement money today. But so far, there hasn’t been a rush of funds out of accounts.

Fidelity Investments, the largest 401(k) provider in the country, has seen 4.6% of eligible people take some money out through Sept. 30 due to the virus. An additional 1% have taken a so-called hardship distribution that allows withdrawals for reasons including buying a home, preventing foreclosure or paying medical bills. That is compared with about 2% a year that typically take a hardship distribution.

Read more at the WSJ

Uber, Gig Economy Companies See California Win as National Model

Voters in California on Tuesday approved a ballot proposal by Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft Inc and its allies that cements app-based food delivery and ride-hailing drivers’ status as independent contractors, rather than employees. Uber’s shares rose 12%, while Lyft jumped 9%.

The companies, along with DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates, poured more than $205 million into the campaign. Gig economy companies want to turn California voters’ decision to make ride-service drivers contractors into a model for the nation, as several states consider requiring drivers from Uber, Lyft and rival services be treated as employees with higher compensation.

Read more at Reuters


Daily Briefing – 185

Post: Nov. 4, 2020

COVID and Cluster Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release today.  The release detailed New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Tuesday November 3rd. Meanwhile the New York Times reported Monday that concerns have arisen that communities may be manipulating coronavirus positivity rates by discouraging sick people from being tested.

Tracking data for the hotspots and the rest of the State are below.

  • Hotspot Zones: 2.69%
  • Orange Orange Zone: 0.88%
  • Rockland Hot Zone: 3.43%
  • Statewide: 1.59%
  • Statewide excluding hotspots: 1.42%
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 1,253 (284 in ICU) 

Here are some useful websites:

The Count Continues

With more people voting absentee and by mail, counting is a bit slower than usual and the truth is that most presidential elections are not decided on election night.  Former Vice President Joe Biden did not get the early decisive win some Democrats had hoped for, as President Trump took Florida, Texas and Ohio. Meanwhile, Vice President Biden did appear to flip Arizona, Michigan and Wisconson as well as the second congressional district of Nebraska, and votes are still being counted in battlegrounds like Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.

Read more live updates in the WSJ

Preliminary Results:  NYS Dems Fail to Gain Super Majority 

While absentee ballots are still being counted and will likely tilt some races toward the Democrats it appears that the party has fallen well short of achieving a veto-proof majority in the State Senate.  Such a supermajority will continue to exist in the Assembly. 

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D) issued the following statement this morning:

“Despite a difficult night for many Democratic candidates throughout the state and nation, the Senate Democratic Conference comfortably retained our majority and will be welcoming a historic group of new upstate Democrats to the Senate. With the record high number of outstanding absentee ballots that are overwhelmingly Democratic, we will add even more victories to our majority as the vote counts continue. The Senate Democratic Majority will continue to lead New York State forward as we recover from this pandemic and economic crisis.”

See all NYS election results at the NY Times

Empire Center: With Hopes Dashed for “Blue Wave” Bailout, Cuomo Needs to Deal With Budget Shortfall

E.J. McMahon writes that Cuomo was banking on Joe Biden to win the White House and Democrats to take over the U.S. Senate – an outcome which was likely to produce another stimulus bill offering New York enough new federal aid to close its current budget gap of at least $8 billion and next year’s projected budget gap of nearly $17 billion.

But in the wake of yesterday’s election, it appears the Senate majority could remain under Republican control. The outcome of a few Senate races, including one or two Georgia runoffs in January, ultimately will be even more important to Cuomo’s budget bailout hopes than the presidential race. Even if Biden ekes out a win, prospects for a big state and local bailout bill are slim if Democrats don’t control a majority in the upper house.

Read more at the Empire Center

U.S. Trade Deficit Narrowed in September as Exports Rose

The U.S. posted a deficit of $63.86 billion in September, compared with $67.04 billion in August and $47.84 billion a year earlier, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The figures were adjusted for seasonal variation.

Exports rose 2.6% to $176.35 billion, while imports rose 0.5% to $240.22 billion, their slowest pace of growth since trade bottomed out in May.

Read more at the WSJ

XStream Trucking CEO: Why We’re Reshoring Our Manufacturing

The idea of reshoring is picking up momentum in light of the pandemic as a way to simplify supply chains and make companies less vulnerable to future disruptions. I’m not going to predict the future, but I’m going to talk about why my company, XStream Trucking, decided to reshore some of its manufacturing and the impact those decisions have had, which could serve as an example to others.

We started taking a close look at our supply chain long before the pandemic hit. The first big inflection point came in 2018, when a trade war broke out between the U.S. and China. The imposition of U.S. tariffs on some of our parts came as a surprise. As a start-up still building our business and reputation, we couldn’t afford to pass along additional costs to our customers.

Read more at IndustryWeek

China’s Economic Recovery is Accelerating

In a sign that China’s economic recovery is accelerating, even as much of the world is being hit by another wave of lockdowns the Caixin/Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index for Chinese manufacturing came in at 53.6 for October, better than the 53.0 forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll. The latest reading was the highest since January 2011, the survey results showed.

The country’s Caixin/Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index for services in October rose to its highest level since June. Last month’s reading hit 56.8, up from September’s 54.8, where any figure over 50 indicates expansion.

Read more at Reuters

ICE  I-9 Compliance Flexibility Scheduled to End November 19th

Our friends at Ethan Allan Workforce Solutions remind us that on March 19, 2020, due to precautions implemented by employers and employees associated with COVID-19, DHS announced that it would exercise prosecutorial discretion to defer the physical presence requirements associated with the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This policy only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions are being implemented at this time for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

Unless It is Extended by ICE the flexibility is scheduled to end November 19th. 

See the March Guidance

The Johns Hopkins CSSE Dashboard Reported 9.39 Million US Cases and 232,742 Deaths as of November 4

In addition to COVID-19 incidence, the US is reporting increasing impact on hospitals and increasing COVID-19 mortality. Nationally, emergency department (ED) visits for COVID-19 have increased steadily over the past several weeks. The percentage of Emergency Department visits for COVID-19 coronavirus-like illness increased from approximately 2% in early September to nearly 3.5% in early November, a 65% increase. Over the past week, 9 states have reported per capita COVID-19 mortality greater than 0.5 deaths per 100,000 population, including 3 states with 1 or greater. 

More than half of all US states have reported more than 400,000 cumulative cases, including 14 with more than 200,000 cases:

  • 900,000: California, Texas
  • 800,000: Florida
  • 500,000: New York
  • 400,000: Illinois

Read more at Johns Hopkins

Daily Briefing – 180

Post: Oct. 28, 2020

Orange to Orange – NYS COVID and Micro Cluster Update

Governor Cuomo held a phone call briefing detailing New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Monday, October 26th.  The “red zone” in Orange County will be changed to an “orange zone” as a result of the progress made reducing the COVID-19 infection rate from 12 to 2 percent. The “yellow zone” in Orange County will continue. While other “micro-clusters” have experienced decreased positivity rates, no changes will be made to those ‘micro-clusters’ at this time. The State will reevaluate the data next week.

Tracking data for the hotspots and the rest of the State are below.  

  • 20 hotspot zip codes: 3.8%
  • Orange Hot Zone: 2.38%
  • Rockland Hot Zone: 4.34%
  • Statewide: 1.5%
  • Statewide excluding hotspots: 1.3%
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 1,085 (236 in ICU) 

Here are some useful websites:

Other News From the Governor’s Briefing

  • TRAVEL ADVISORY: In response to increasing positivity rates across the nation, New York will adjust the metric for states to be included in the travel advisory requiring quarantine protocols upon entering New York. The Governor stated there is currently no travel ban, just quarantine protocols from states with high positivity rates.
  • THANKSGIVING: The State will not place additional restrictions on Thanksgiving gatherings, but Governor Cuomo offered his personal opinion that people should not congregate with extended families for Thanksgiving. There have been outbreaks stemming from small gatherings, including weddings, churches, and birthday parties. The Governor believes a small Thanksgiving gathering could result in dozens of new cases.
  • MASKS IN SCHOOLS: In response to an inquiry from Westchester County Executive George Latimer, the State will allow local governments to impose mask mandates on students in schools

Read the press release

Here’s Why Coronavirus Infection Rates Are Rising as ‘Positivity’ Stays Stable

The Empire Center’s Bill Hammond writes that a growing disconnect between two coronavirus benchmarks – the positivity rate and the infection rate – is stirring confusion about New York’s pandemic outlook.

The first rate is staying relatively low and stable, and that’s the one primarily featured by Governor Cuomo in his daily status reports.  The second rate has doubled over the past month to its highest level since May – a clear sign that New York’s pandemic is far from fully controlled.

Read more from the Empire Center

Germany to Shut Restaurants, Bars to Combat Coronavirus Spread – France’s Macron Announces New National Lockdown Starting Friday

The premiers of Germany’s 16 states, which are in charge of pandemic management, agreed to shut restaurants, bars, fitness studios, concert halls and theaters from Nov. 2 as part of a plan to stop infections from climbing. Hotels will only be allowed to host business travelers until the end of the month. The premiers also decided to limit gatherings in public to 10 people from two households.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced a partial lockdown of France’s economy in a sign of how Europe’s strategy for containing the coronavirus has buckled under the pressure of mounting cases and deaths. Mr. Macron said he was ordering the closure of bars and restaurants, starting Friday, as part of an effort to apply a “brutal break” to the spread of the virus. “The new wave will be stronger and deadlier,” Mr. Macron said, adding that the virus was spreading faster “than even the most pessimistic forecasts.”

S&P 500, Dow Sink to Late-Sept Lows on Virus Woes

The S&P 500 and the Dow hit their lowest levels since late-September on Wednesday as coronavirus cases surged globally and fears of a contested U.S. presidential election next week added to worries. Shares of hotels, airlines and other companies sensitive to COVID-19-related curbs fell with Wynn Resorts down 3.6% and the S&P 1500 airlines index declining 3.4%. The energy index fell as oil prices tumbled on fears of lower fuel demand.

New cases and hospitalizations set records in the U.S. Midwest, while concerns rose over a national lockdown in France and tighter restrictions in Germany. A spiraling pandemic and a failure to reach a deal on a fresh round of U.S. fiscal stimulus before the Nov. 3 election have put the blue-chip Dow and the benchmark S&P 500 on track to erase their gains for October.

Read more at Reuters

Companies Plan to Continue Shifting Supply Chains Out of China

Companies plan to continue shifting supply chains out of China, regardless of who wins the Nov. 3 presidential election, according to Tim Ryan, the chair of PwC U.S.  The issue came into focus in response to President Donald Trump’s trade war with China, but it only gained importance across corporate America due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ryan said in a “Closing Bell” interview, drawing on findings from a recent survey conducted by the powerhouse accounting firm.

The beneficiaries of exits from China, home to the world’s second-largest economy, are likely to be countries in Southeast Asia, Mexico and the United States, according to Ryan.

Read more at CNBC

Boeing Sees Q3 Earnings Improvement But Warns on Layoffs 

Boeing (BA) on Wednesday reported narrower-than-expected losses and higher revenue during the third quarter, yet the dual crises stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and its idled 737 MAX flagship are likely to lead to deep layoffs, the company warned.

Here are key metrics from the report, versus what Wall Street was expecting, according to a consensus forecast compiled by Bloomberg:

  • Revenue: $14.1 billion vs $13.84 billion expected
  • Adjusted loss per share: $1.39 cents vs $2.384 expected
  • GAAP share loss: 79 cents vs. $1.588 expected
  • Operating cash flow: -$4.82 billion

In its earnings report, the company said it continued to make “steady progress” on getting the flagship plane back in the air. Still, Boeing warned that efforts to reshape the company would lead to lower headcount, as the coronavirus and grounded plane “significantly impacted” the bottom line.

Read more a Yahoo Finance

Report: Job Seekers Change Careers, Relocate

Many job seekers are changing fields to obtain work, according to Challenger. This may stem from certain industries being economically impacted more than others, such as tourism. But adequate skill sets remain a hurdle. A May 28 survey by LiveCareer found that more than half (57%) of those recently unemployed could not identify transferable skills and 58% were unsure how to communicate transferable skills on a resume. About 58% of those surveyed said they lacked confidence in finding new jobs with their current skill sets. 

Read more at HR Dive


Daily Briefing – 170

Post: Oct. 14, 2020

Cuomo Announces State Will Withhold Funds for Localities and Schools That Fail to Enforce Public Health Law

Governor Cuomo  announced yesterday that the State will withhold funds for localities and schools in COVID-19 cluster zones that fail to enforce public health laws. The New York State Department of Health will send a letter warning local governments in cluster zones that they will lose state funding if they fail to enforce state limits on gatherings and the closure of schools. The letter will be sent to New York City, Orange County, Rockland County, the Town of Ramapo and the Village of Spring Valley.

Governor Cuomo also announced that DOH will send an additional letter warning public and private schools in cluster zones that they will lose state funding if they do not comply with state requirements on closure and testing.

Read the press release

NYS COVID-19 Numbers and Cluster Initiative Update

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Sunday, October 12th.  Within the “Red Zone” focus areas, 4,138 test results were reported yesterday, yielding 171 positives or a 4.13 percent positivity rate. In the remainder of the state, not counting these “Red Zone” focus areas, 94,932 test results were reported, yielding 1,222 positives or a 1.2 percent positivity rate. Tracking data for the hotspots as compared to the rest of the State is below.
Summary of positivity rates:
  • 20 hotspot zip codes: 3.70%
  • Orange 10950: 3.51%
  • Statewide: 1.12%
  • Statewide excluding hotspots: 1.05%
Here are some useful links

Consumer Prices Rise

The consumer price index rose 0.2% last month, after gaining 0.4% in August, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. Prices for used cars and trucks rose 6.7% in September after a 5.4% gain in August and are now up 10.3% in the past 12 months. The September increase is the largest monthly increase since February 1969.

Overall inflation for the last 12 months is up 1.4% while core inflation, which excludes energy and food, is up 1.7%.

Read more from the Associate Press


IMF Revises its 2020 Global GDP Forecast Higher, 2021 Lower

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday turned slightly more positive on the global economy for this year, but warned of a “long, uneven and uncertain” recovery.  The global economy is now projected to contract by 4.4% in 2020 — an upward revision from an estimate of -4.9% made in June (which has now also been revised to -5.2% due to a new methodology used by the IMF). The IMF’s forecast assumes that social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic will continue into 2021, and that local transmission will fall everywhere by the end of 2022.

The IMF projected “only limited progress” going forward and cut its gross domestic product growth expectations for next year to 5.2%, from an estimate of 5.4% made in June.

Read more at CNBC

Global Study Shows What Workers Want, Expect and Value in Their Employers

According to a new survey, , “Hindsight 2020: COVID-19 Concerns into 2021, 35% of employees and business leaders wish their offices had closed faster and safety measures for essential workers had been implemented sooner. Still, 20% of surveyed workers felt their organization met their needs.

The Workforce Institute commissioned the survey, which Savanta, Inc. conducted in June 2020. A total of 3,903 employees and business leaders between the ages of 18 and 55 responded to general questions about leadership, employee attitudes around trust and crisis response/management from 11 countries: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States.

Read the story and key findings from the survey at EHS Today

Gender Employment Gap Widens with Start of Virtual School Year

Women dropped out of the labor force in staggeringly high numbers last month, underscoring how female workers have disproportionately borne the economic brunt of the pandemic, in large part because of changes to child care and schooling.

The disparity threatens to set back decades of progress in closing workplace gender gaps and hinder the overall recovery from the coronavirus recession.

Read more at The Hill

The “K Shaped” Recovery 

Economists analyzing the U.S. path to recovery are worried that inside national measures of economic growth lie deepening divisions between industries and people as some sectors recover fast, while employment in the leisure and hospitality industry, for example, remains 20% below where it was in February.

Within the roughly 5,000 worst-off zip codes nearly a quarter of working adults were employed in service occupations as of 2018. By contrast, in prosperous zip codes only 13% of employed adults were in service jobs, while half were in management or professional occupations, a group of jobs considered more adaptable to work-from-home arrangements.

Read more and see plenty of graphics at Reuters

World Economic Forum Survey: 5 Workforce Priorities During the Pandemic and Beyond

In a recent survey of manufacturing companies, respondents were asked to assess their own organizations with input from the shop floor, executives and peers. The dominant theme: “Empowering the factory workforce with knowledge and digital tools”, will be essential to surviving the current pandemic and ensuring that operations can adapt to change anytime, anywhere – crisis or not. Along with that, having strong operational standards and lean practices are critical for navigating this crisis and the future of manufacturing.

Read more at the World Economic Forum

Eli Lilly Pauses Trial of Antibody drug Over Safety Concern

Eli Lilly put a temporary halt to tests of a treatment for covid-19, just a day after Johnson & Johnson suspended trials of its vaccine. Lilly cited a “potential safety concern” with its antibody therapy, which President Donald Trump has flattered as a “cure”. Reuters reported that federal drug inspectors have “uncovered serious quality-control problems” at one of Lilly’s manufacturing plants.

Read more at Reuters


Daily Briefing – 169

Post: Oct. 13, 2020

Three States Added to Restricted List

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

New York State Cluster Update and Other COVID-19 Numbers

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

Manufacturing Economy Report: Manufacturing Job Openings Labor Force and More

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

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

Monday Economic Report 2020-1013

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

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

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

Read more at the WSJ

US Machine Tool Orders Fell Again in August

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

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

Read more at American Machinist

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

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

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

Read more in the WSJ

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

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

Read the report at the NY Fed

Inhaled Vaccines Aim to Fight Coronavirus at Its Point of Attack

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

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

Read more in Bloomberg

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

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

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

Read more at STAT

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

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

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

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

Read more at CNBC


Daily Briefing – 164

Post: Oct. 6, 2020

“Cluster Action Initiative” – Cuomo Imposes Tight Virus Rules on Areas Hit by Spikes Across State

Gov. Cuomo on Tuesday imposed tough new restrictions and guidelines aimed at curbing a surge of coronavirus clusters in parts of New York City and its northern suburbs. The State is declaring COVID-19 clusters in portions of Brooklyn, Queens, Orange and Rockland, as well as a “precautionary zone” in a portion of Binghamton. The “Cluster Action Initiative” will take dramatic actions within the cluster and precautionary measures in surrounding areas. The initiative will follow caseloads, not zip codes or census tract. 

Clusters will be labeled with colors based on their positivity rates. The cluster zones will be three different levels based on proximity to the cluster: red, orange, and yellow. Within each color code there will be capacity limits and gathering rules. Red zones will have the strictest restrictions. Within the red and orange zones, schools will be closed to in-person learning. Schools in a yellow zone must increase testing efforts.

The State is consulting with local governments on the maps of affected areas. The new rules will go into effect as soon as tomorrow, but no later than Friday, October 9th. Testing efforts for schools in a yellow zone will start no later than next Friday. The rules will be in effect for 14 days, at which time they will be reevaluated.

One State Added to Restricted List

Governor Cuomo announced that travelers from New Mexico are now required to complete a 14-day quarantine upon entering New York. No states or areas were removed from the travel advisory.

Pelosi Says Stimulus Talks Are Moving ‘Very Slowly’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are continuing to hash out the terms of the next federal coronavirus aid bill this week, but progress is slow.

4.9 million people will cross the government’s long-term joblessness threshold (defined as looking for work for 27 weeks or more) over the next two months, according to Labor Department data released last week. While job losses have slowed since the peak of the pandemic and the U.S. last month added more jobs than it lost, layoffs still remain stubbornly high. The two top negotiators, who suddenly resumed urgent conversations last week after negotiations fell apart in August, plan to speak again Tuesday. 

Read more at Forbes

Powell Says U.S. Faces ‘Tragic’ Risks From Doing Too Little to Support Economy

“The expansion is still far from complete,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in remarks delivered at a virtual economics conference Tuesday. “At this early stage, I would argue that the risks of policy intervention are still asymmetric. Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship.”

By contrast, the risks of providing too generous relief are smaller, he said. “Even if policy actions ultimately prove to be greater than needed, they will not go to waste,” he said.

Read more in the WSJ

ISM Survey: U.S. Service Sector Activity Rises Above Pre-Pandemic Level in September

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said on Monday its non-manufacturing activity index rose to a reading of 57.8 last month from 56.9 in August. That put the index just above its 57.3 level in February. A reading above 50 indicates growth in the services sector, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index slipping to 56.0 in September.

The improvement in services industry activity fits in with expectations for a record rebound in economic growth in the third quarter after a historic plunge in gross domestic product in the April-June period. The economy got a boost over the summer from fiscal stimulus.

Read more at Reuters

U.S. Trade Deficit Widened in August to Largest Since 2006

The U.S. trade deficit widened in August to the largest since 2006 as the nation imported a record amount of consumer goods amid a pickup in demand ahead of the holiday-shopping season.

Total imports increased 3.2% to $239 billion, while exports rose 2.2% from the prior month to $171.9 billion. The nation’s surplus in services shrank to the lowest since 2012. Meanwhile, the merchandise trade deficit expanded to a record high. The coronavirus pandemic undid some of the Trump administration’s deficit-reduction efforts which were starting to bear fruit before Covid-19 upended demand and supply chains. American businesses, which drew down inventories at the start of the lockdown, have recently increased imports to replenish stocks ahead of the holidays.

Read more at Bloomberg

COVID-19 Response Sparks Efforts to Strengthen Supply Chain

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the fragility of the Defense Department’s supply chain. As a result, the department is taking a variety of steps to strengthen that supply chain, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment said. “One of our first actions was to ensure that the defense industrial base was essential and designated as critical infrastructure,” Ellen M. Lord said in an online discussion during the ComDef 2020 conference, a virtual conference providing insights and perspectives on issues facing the international defense communities.

Read the DOD press release

Nearly 20,000 Amazon Employees Could Have COVID-19

Amazon reported on its blog Oct. 1 that 19,816 employees have tested or been presumed positive for COVID-19. The company analyzed data on its 1,372,000 Amazon and Whole Foods Market frontline employees who were employed in the United States at any time between March 1 and Sept. 19, 2020. Amazon found 1.4% of workers were confirmed or presumed to have COVID-19.

The company has introduced or changed more than 150 safety measures since the pandemic began, including mandatory temperature checks, enhanced cleaning procedures and social distancing measures. Amazon has eliminated stand-up meetings during shifts, staggered break times and spread out chairs in breakrooms.

Read more in EHS Today

EU Reviewing Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in Real Time

The European health regulator is reviewing a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer PFE.N and BioNTech 22UAy.F in real time, days after launching a similar assessment process for AstraZeneca’s AZN.L vaccine.  The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Tuesday its human medicines committee was evaluating the first batch of data on the vaccine, and would continue to do so until enough data is available for a final decision. (

Pfizer and BioNTech said in a joint statement the start of the review is based on data from laboratory and animal testing, as well as early testing on humans, while continuing talks to submit data as it emerged.

Read more at Reuters


Daily Briefing – 149

Post: Sep. 15, 2020

Six States Removed From Restricted List

The Governor issued a press release yesterday announcing six states (California, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada and Ohio) have been removed from the mandatory quarantine requirements for travelers entering New York. The Northern Mariana Islands have also been removed. Puerto Rico has once again met the metrics to qualify for the quarantine requirements for travelers. That leaves 27 states and 3 territories on the restricted list.

The release also provides an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Monday, September 14th. Of the 73,678 test results reported to the State, 1.0% (766) were positive.

Bipartisan U.S. Lawmaker Group Unveil $1.5 Trillion COVID-19 Aid Bill

The Problem Solvers Caucus, including 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans, has been working to find common ground on coronavirus relief for the past six weeks. Representative Tom Reed, the Problem Solvers’ Republican co-chairman, said Republican leaders and the White House were “positive” about the plan. “They want to get a deal,” he told reporters.

The new bipartisan House proposal includes another round of direct checks to Americans, $500 billion for state and local governments, and jobless benefits, with spending lasting through January’s presidential inauguration.

Read more at Reuters

NY Fed Empire Manufacturing Survey: Activity Expanded at a “Solid Clip”

Business activity expanded at a solid clip in New York State, according to firms responding to the September 2020 Empire State Manufacturing Survey.

  • The headline general business conditions index climbed thirteen points to 17.0.
  • New orders increased modestly, and shipments grew significantly.
  • Unfilled orders continued to decline.
  • Inventories edged slightly lower, and
  • Delivery times were somewhat longer.
  • Employment was again little changed this month, though the average workweek picked up.
  • Input prices increased at a faster pace than in August, and selling prices continued to increase modestly.

Looking ahead, firms remained optimistic that conditions would improve over the next six months.

Read the full survey report

Fed: Manufacturing Production Increases in August

U.S. factory output increased solidly in August, though momentum is slowing as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.

The Federal Reserve said on Tuesday that manufacturing production rose 1.0% last month after surging 3.9% in July. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast manufacturing output would rise 1.2% in August. Overall industrial output was up 0.4% in August, also down from July but the fourth straight month-over-month gain.

Read more at Reuters

China’s Economy Picks Up Speed

China’s economic recovery accelerated in August, with retail sales, the last holdout among the economy’s major components, returning to pre-coronavirus levels by showing their first month of growth this year.

Other major indicators, including factory production, investment and property activity, all gathered pace, China’s state-run statistics bureau said Tuesday, signaling a robust rebound for the world’s second-largest economy. The main official measure of joblessness, the urban surveyed unemployment rate, edged down to 5.6%, the lowest since it stood at 5.3% in January, when the coronavirus began to affect hiring. 

Read more at the WSJ

Machine Tool Orders Dip in July

Machine tool orders declined in July but showed signs of stabilizing, AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology said today. Orders totaled $337.5 million in July, down 1.7 percent from an adjusted $343.5 million the month before.  The July figure also was 14 percent lower than the $391.4 million in orders for July 2019.


Beyond Mere Legal Compliance

Jackson Lewis Attorney Caroline M. DiMauro writes that while companies should always focus on the legal risks associated with their employment decisions, often it is the less obvious, non-legal issues and the way an employer treats its employees that lead to claims.

For example, in manufacturing where production schedules are critical and staffing often already lean, employers may be less inclined to be flexible in allowing workplace accommodations relating to COVID-19. Since March and now, as schools are back in session, businesses are inundated with requests for work from home, schedule modifications, or time off as employees deal with childcare issues, online schooling, and as COVID-19 exposure and infection incidents rise. Often, these employers may be quick to respond, “We don’t do that,” “That’s not our policy,” “We can’t allow that,” or “If we let you take time off, everyone will want to take off.”   

Read more on how you can “avoid harsh results”

MTA: Riders Face $50 Fine for Not Wearing Face Covering

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced that as of Monday, September 14, all customers who refuse to wear a mask on public transit will be subject to a $50 fine. The new measure follows Governor Cuomo’s executive order directing the MTA to develop a plan to bolster mask compliance across public transit. MTA officials say that mask usage is already above 90 percent across New York City Transit subways and buses, the Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North.

Read more at Mid-Hudson News

Bottom Story – Cuomo “Would Not Ban Trick or Treaters”

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced he would not ban trick-or-treaters from going door to door this Halloween during an interview with News 12 Long Island with Tara Joyce.

“I would not ban trick-or-treaters going door to door. I don’t think that’s appropriate. You have neighbors – if you want to go knock on your neighbor’s door, God bless you and I’m not going to tell you not to. If you want to go for a walk with your child through the neighborhood, I’m not gonna tell you youcan’t take your child to the neighborhood, I’m not going to do that – I’ll give you my advice and guidance and then you will make a decision what you do that night.”

Read the transcript


Daily Update – 105

Post: Jul. 12, 2020

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

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

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

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

The emergency rule is extensive and can be viewed here.

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

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

Read more at BSK

DiNapoli: Local Governments Face ‘Profound’ Fiscal Challenges

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

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

Read more at New York State of Politics

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

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

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

Read more at Forbes

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

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

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

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

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

Read More at CNBC

OSHA Highlights Which of Its Standards Apply To COVID-19

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

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

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

Visit the site

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

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

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

Read more at Forbes

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

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

Read more at The Economist

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

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

Read the article and see the slide show


Daily Update – 101

Post: Jul. 6, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the press release here

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

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

See the Dashboard here

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

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

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

Monday Economic Report 2020-0706

DOL: Manufacturing Added 365,000 Jobs in June

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

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

Read more at IndustryWeek

Service Sector in U.S. Shows Signs of Recovery

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

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

Read more at the WSJ

Global Business Barometer: Survive / Adapt / Recover

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

The executive summary is here

Study: The Impact of the Pandemic on HR Policy

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

Read the full story at HRD America

Trump Signs Extension for Paycheck Protection Program

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

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

Read the SBA press release here


Daily Update – 93

Post: Jun. 23, 2020

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

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

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

Read the guidance

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

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

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

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

Read the press release

Global Economy Shows Signs of Pulling Out of Its Slump

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

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

Read more at the WSJ

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

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

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

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

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

Watch the ad and share it

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

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

The short answer is: It depends.

Read more at EHS Online

Initiative Expedites Vial Manufacturing Capacity – Corning to Expand Production

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

Read more at Homeland Preparedness News

Millions of Job Losses Are at Risk of Becoming Permanent

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

Read more at Bloomberg


Daily Update 91

Post: Jun. 22, 2020

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

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

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

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

The full address can be viewed here.

NYC Enters Phase Two Today

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

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

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

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

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

Read more in the WSJ

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

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

No Cost for Members

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

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

To register click here

DiNapoli: State Tax Revenues Down $767 Million in May

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

Other items of note in the report:

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

Read more

A Conversation with Senate Majority Leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins

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

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

To register click here

Federal Infrastructure Investment for an American Renewal

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

You can read the NAM letter here

Learn more about the NAM’s infrastructure priorities here

Reskilling Workers for a Post-COVID Factory Floor

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

Read more at IndustryWeek

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

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

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

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

Read more at EHS

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

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

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

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

See the charts and read the article at The Economist