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COVID 19 Update 67

Post: May. 22, 2020

Governor Cuomo Urges New Yorkers to Contact the State if They Observe Businesses Not Adhering to Social Distancing Guidelines

In his press conference today Governor Cuomo urged all New Yorkers to contact State officials if they observe businesses not following social distancing guidelines and procedures.  The Governor also announced a “hot line” for employees to call if thier believe their employer is not following PPE, hygiene and social distancing guidelines.

Our understanding is that all enforcement of reopening protocol violations will complaint driven. 

The Governor also announced that the contact tracing program will call individuals or businesses who may have come into contact with an individual who tested positive. The caller ID will be listed as “NYS Contact Tracing.” 

Read the Governor’s press release

Jobless Claims Total 2.4 Million, Still Extremely Elevated But Declining 

The level of continuing claims painted a clearer picture of how unemployment is persisting even as states are increasingly taking steps to bring their economies back on line. The total for the week ending May 9 was 25.07 million, an increase of 2.52 million from the previous week.

The four-week moving average also increased sharply, jumping by 2.3 million to just above 22 million.

Read more at CNBC

NYS Loses More Than 1.7 Million Private Sector Jobs In April

According to the preliminary results from the U.S. Department of Labor’s business and household surveys for April 2020, the number of private sector jobs in New York State decreased over the month by 1,764,600, or 21.4 percent, to 6,467,600. This was the state’s largest monthly employment drop on record. Just under one-third of the monthly jobs decline occurred in leisure and hospitality (-577,700), mostly in accommodation and food services (-471,400). 

In April 2020, New York State’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 4.1% to 14.5%. This change (+10.4 percentage points) was the state’s largest recorded monthly increase since current record keeping began in 1976. In addition, the number of unemployed New York State residents increased by 931,600, while the labor force dropped by 307,600 – both monthly records.

In the Hudson Valley Region the private sector job count fell by 183,700, or 22.5 percent, to 631,700.  Losses were greatest in leisure and hospitality (-55,600), trade, transportation and utilities (-41,100), educational and health services (-21,300), natural resources, mining and construction (-19,600), other services (-19,100), professional and business services (-16,200), manufacturing (-7,800), and financial activities (-2,700).

See the Labor Market Profile 

Net Operating Loss Relief

Under current law, these losses can only be used to offset up to 80% of taxable income in future years. However, the CARES Act, approved by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate, allowed companies with losses from 2018, 2019 and 2020 to carry these losses back for the five previous years and have the losses offset up to 100% of taxable income, providing critical liquidity through tax refunds.

The HEROES Act passed by the House would partially roll back this relief by limiting the number of carry back years from five to two and limiting the amount of relief for pass-throughs.

Read More

Senators Propose Skills Training Tax Credit

“Under the bill, people who lose their jobs in 2020 due to the pandemic would be eligible to receive a fully refundable tax credit of up to $4,000 to cover the cost of training expenses incurred through the end of 2021. The credit could be used to offset the cost, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, of skills training programs such as apprenticeships, certificate programs and two- and four-year educational programs. Distance-learning costs are also eligible to be offset by the credit.”

Read more at the Hill

Business Activity in Europe Recovered Slightly in May

After hitting record lows the month before the IHS Markit’s flash purchasing managers’ index, a leading indicator of economic activity, rose to 30.5 from 13.6 in April. Anything less than 50 indicates a contraction. The survey showed that the German economy has been hit less and recovered more quickly than its European peers.

Read more in the WSJ

NAM, Business Groups Call for Structural Improvements to the Paycheck Protection Program.

The group is asking Congress to extend the eight-week loan forgiveness period, overrule the Small Business Administration’s so-called 75%/25% requirement for the use of PPP funds and extend the June 30 safe harbor for remedying payroll or headcount reductions.

You can read the NAM letter here

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Has Adopted Revised Policies for Enforcing OSHA’s Coronavirus Requirements 

Throughout the course of the pandemic, understanding about the transmission and prevention of infection has improved. The government and the private sector have taken rapid and evolving measures to slow the virus’s spread, protect employees, and adapt to new ways of doing business.

Now, as states begin reopening their economies, OSHA has issued two revised enforcement policies to ensure employers are taking action to protect their employees.

Read the guidelines