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Daily Briefing – 119

Post: Jul. 30, 2020

$6.9 Million in Incentives Awarded to NYS Manufacturers to Produce to Produce Life-Saving Medical Products

Governor Cuomo yesterday announced that 12 New York companies have received support from the State to produce needed supplies to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.  These grant funds will help alleviate product shortages due to supply chain issues that could lead to unfair pricing practices. These companies will also increase the State’s manufacturing capacity while creating new jobs and market opportunities. To date, more than $11 million in grants have been awarded to 20 qualifying New York-based companies to retool their business lines and pivot to manufacturing vital supplies for ongoing response and recovery efforts.

Read the press release that includes the companies, award amounts and products

U.S. Economy Contracted by Worst-Ever 32.9% in Second Quarter

The US economy contracted at the sharpest rate on record in the second quarter this year, affirming fears that the coronavirus pandemic and measures to contain it drove a historic plunge in consumer and business activity.

Here were the main metrics from the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ (BEA) advance Q2 GDP report, compared to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg:

  • Q2 GDP annualized, quarter over quarter: -32.9% vs. -34.5% expected vs. -5.0% in Q1
  • Q2 Personal consumption: -34.6% vs. -34.5% expected vs. -6.8% in Q1
  • Core Personal consumption expenditures, quarter over quarter: -1.1% vs. -0.9% expected vs. 1.7% in Q1

Read more at Yahoo Finance

Weekly Jobless Claims Rise Slightly for a Second Straight Week

The number of Americans who filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week totaled 1.434 million, the Labor Department reported Thursday, roughly in line with expectations, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the U.S. economy. 

Continuing claims — which are composed of those receiving unemployment benefits for at least two straight weeks — rose by 867,000 to 17.018 million for the week ending July 18. Data on continuing claims is delayed by one week.  

Read more at CNBC

German Economy Shrank 10.1% in the Second Quarter

Germany’s economy, the first major one to publish second-quarter GDP figures, shrank by 10.1% quarter-on-quarter in the three months to June, the worst decline since records began in 1970. In a ray of hope, the number of unemployed in the country fell unexpectedly in July. 

Read more at BBC

“Queen of the Skies” to End Reign: Boeing Winds Down 747 Production

Unveiling a bigger-than-expected loss for the second quarter, Boeing announced that the last 747 jumbo jet will roll out of its factory in around two years’ time. They also slashed production of its 777 and 787 airliners, and delayed plans to ramp-up output of its 737 MAX aircraft, which has been grounded since last year after two crashed, killing 346 people.

The 747 had its maiden flight on Feb. 9, 1969, and entered service with Pan American World Airways in January 1970. It allowed more affordable air travel due to its size and range.  Dubbed “the Incredibles”, some 50,000 mechanics and engineers built what was then the world’s largest civilian airplane in roughly 16 months.

Read more at Reuters

Unions Sue OSHA Over Lack of Emergency Rules

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is under an ongoing attack in the courts and the media, being accused of not doing enough to adequately address the failure of some employers to deal properly with the Coronavirus pandemic in their workplaces. One particular complaint is that the federal agency has failed to issue an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to deal with the disease. States that administer federal OSHA rules—26 in all—also have the authority to issue such emergency regulations on their own, and some are starting to do so.

The agency can and frequently does take action under existing regulations that deal with some of the same issues referred to in its guidances. OSHA also can take enforcement action against any employer under the General Duty Clause, which is part of the law that Congress passed creating OSHA.

Read more at EHS Online

Microsoft Powers Up Return-to-Work Apps

Microsoft is using its Power Platform to help firms manage their COVID-19 responses, with four new return-to-work apps.

The pre-built apps, which were announced at this week’s Microsoft Inspire partner conference, can manage facilities and employee health and safety issues. The likely users are facilities and health and safety managers, as well as HR. The return-to-work apps are available for free for Microsoft users with licenses for PowerApps, a low-code application platform, and Power BI, a data and analytics platform.

Read more at TechTarget

NAM Provides a More Detailed Look at the Heals Act

Earlier this week, Senate GOP leadership introduced a series of coronavirus recovery bills that add up to their proposed counteroffer to the House-passed HEROES Act. The new bills include the SAFE TO WORK Act, introduced by Senator Cornyn and Majority Leader McConnell, which lays out a clear regime for liability protections that mirrors recommendations the NAM published back in April.

You can read the NAM breakdown Heals Act here