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Daily Briefing – 128

Post: Aug. 13, 2020

Six Reasons the Next Stimulus Package be Delayed Until September

As millions of Americans await more federal unemployment benefits and states and localities ask for more financial support, Congress has not finalized a new stimulus bill. Given the ongoing impasse, it may be increasingly likely that the next stimulus package may be delayed until September. Why? Here are 6 potential reasons why the next stimulus package may be delayed until September.

Read more at Forbes

Global Manufacturing Activity Expanded for the First Time Since January

The NAM Global Manufacturing Economic Report from Chad Moutray shows that the J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI expanded in July for the first time since January, buoyed by recoveries in demand and production. Output grew at the fastest pace since December 2018 as the sector continues to bounce back from COVID-19 and the severe worldwide recession. Manufacturers expressed cautious optimism about future production.

Global Economic Report 2020-0813

Speaking of the Global Economy…

Sign up for a webinar on how COVID-19 is affecting the global manufacturing economy. It will feature NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray, MachineMetrics Chief Data Scientist Lou Zhang and Plex Systems Chief Technology Officer Jerry Foster.

Time and date: August 25, 1–2 p.m. ET

Register here

U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Fall to 963,000, First Time Below 1 Million Since Mid-March

First-time claims for unemployment insurance last week fell below 1 million for the first time since March 21 in a sign that the labor market is continuing its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The total claims of 963,000 for the week ended Aug. 8 was well below the estimate of 1.1 million from economists surveyed by Dow Jones. That represented a decline of 228,000 from the previous week’s total.

Read more at CNBC

The Consumer-Price Index Climbed a Seasonally Adjusted 0.6% in July

The consumer-price index—which measures what consumers pay for everyday items including driving fuel, clothing and electricity—climbed a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in July, the Labor Department said Wednesday. The rise was the second in as many months. The index also rose 0.6% in June, which was seen as a potential turning point for consumer prices, following declines in March, April and May amid the pandemic’s initial economic fallout.

Gasoline prices jumped 5.6% in July and accounted for roughly one-quarter of the increase in the overall index, the Labor Department said. Prices for used vehicles rose 2.3% on the month. Such increases likely reflected that people are driving more, as states continue to reopen their economies and some flight-wary consumers opt to drive to vacation and other destinations.

Read more at the WSJ

Automakers Regain Ground, Still Further to Go

The US auto industry has been making gains since the lows of the pandemic, but the recovery isn’t complete or spread evenly across facilities, according to this analysis. Some auto manufacturers have reported higher levels of worker absences, citing pandemic-related concerns.

In several of America’s biggest auto-making facilities, foot traffic appears to have never gotten back to February levels, according to Orbital Insight, which collects a large, stable and nationwide sample of mobile-device location data. While some carmakers downplay the challenges they’ve been having, others acknowledge coming under serious strain in getting their factories fired back up.

Read more at Bloomberg

Vaccine Roundup

Pfizer’s COVID Vaccine Shows ‘Robust’ Results in Early Trial

The vaccine candidate—for now just called BNT162b1—”elicited a robust immune response in participants, which increased with dose level and with a second dose,” according to a news release from the journal Nature, which published the trial data yesterday,  Aug. 12.

The new trial involved 45 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 55. Half were randomly selected to get the vaccine at a low, medium or high dose, while the other half got a “dummy” placebo shot. The result: “The vaccine elicited a robust immune response in participants,” and the higher the dose, the stronger the response, the authors reported. Getting a second “booster” shot also upped the immune system response.

Read more at Medical Express


NIH: Moderna Investigational COVID-19 Vaccine Shows Promise

The findings show that the investigational vaccine induced neutralizing antibodies in mice when given as two intramuscular injections of a 1-microgram (mcg) dose three weeks apart. Additional experiments found that mice given two injections of the 1-mcg dose and later challenged with SARS-CoV-2 virus either 5 or 13 weeks after the second injection were protected from viral replication in the lungs and nose. Importantly, mice challenged 7 weeks after only a single dose of 1 mcg or 10 mcg of mRNA-1273 were also protected against viral replication in the lung.

Read More at Science Tech Daily


Russia’s Approval of a COVID-19 Vaccine is Less Than Meets the Press Release

In a startling and confusing move, Russia claimed today it had approved the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine, as the nation’s Ministry of Health issued what’s called a registration certificate for a vaccine candidate that has been tested in just 76 people. The certificate allows the vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, to be given to “a small number of citizens from vulnerable groups,” including medical staff and the elderly, a Ministry of Health spokesperson tells ScienceInsider. But the certificate stipulates that the vaccine cannot be used widely until 1 January 2021, presumably after larger clinical trials have been completed.

Scientists around the world immediately denounced the certification as premature and inappropriate, as the Gamaleya vaccine has yet to complete a trial that convincingly shows it is safe and effective in a large group of people. 

Read more at Science

NYSIF Will Resume Routine Billing and Cancellation Policies

The New York State Insurance Fund will be resuming routine billing and cancellation procedures with their customers September bill. The temporary suspension of policy cancellations due to COVID-19 will end on August 31, 2020.   In addition, the fund will not be charging interest on audit installments between September 1, 2020, and August 31, 2021. 

NYSIF Resumes Billing and Cancellation Policies

Most Americans Do Not Want to Send Their Children Back to School

According to a new poll for The Economist by YouGov just a third of parents with school-age children say they want their children to go back to their classrooms in the autumn. Nearly half want them to stay at home. A sixth are not sure. Perhaps unsurprisingly, opinions are politically tinged: 57% of Republicans want their children back at school, against just 21% of Democrats (see chart). Parents’ educational background influences their views, too: 61% of those with advanced degrees want their offspring in class, compared with only 24% of those without any university degree.

Read more at The Economist