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Daily Briefing – 147

Post: Sep. 13, 2020

Extra $300 Unemployment Checks Start Arriving This week in New York

Unemployed New Yorkers who qualify will get an extra $300 a week as part of the Lost Wages Assistance program, according to an announcement Thursday from the New York Department of Labor. The extra money is only available to people who are out of work due to Covid-19. Roughly two million New Yorkers are pre-qualified for benefits and will start receiving payments next week, according to the Department of Labor.

On Aug. 8, President Donald Trump signed an executive order setting aside $44 billion from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to help Americans who have lost wages due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s been up to individual states to administer those benefits.

Read more at Syracuse.com

37th Day Under 1 Percent…Barely

The Governor issued a press release Sunday detailing New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday, September 12th. New York’s rate of positive tests was below one percent for the 37th straight day. Of the 72,668 test results reported to the State, 0.99% (725) were positive. The 725 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bring the statewide total to 444,365 confirmed cases in New York State. 

Read the press release

U.S. Producer Prices Rise

Prices for U.S. producers increased slightly more than expected in August. The U.S. Department of Labor announced a 0.3% increase in the producer price index for final demand – above the 0.2% economists anticipated.

Producer prices were led by a 0.5% increase in services. Nearly 20% of the rise in services was attributed to a 1.1% increase in margins for machinery, equipment, parts, and supplies wholesaling. Prices for goods edged up 0.1%.  Excluding the volatile food, energy and trade services components, producer prices rose 0.3% in August, advancing by the same margin for three straight months. In the 12 months through August, the core PPI gained 0.3%. The core PPI edged up 0.1% on a year-on-year basis in July.

Read more at Reuters

Consumer Prices Too

The consumer-price index—which measures what consumers pay for everyday items including groceries, clothing and electricity—climbed a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in August, the Labor Department said Friday. That marked the third straight month of gains for consumer prices, after sharp declines at the pandemic’s onset.

Excluding the often-volatile categories of food and energy, so-called core prices increased 0.4%. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected a 0.3% increase for both the overall consumer-price index and the core index.

Read more at the WSJ

OECD Report: The Economic Impacts of Learning Losses

A report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows that the worldwide school closures in early 2020 led to losses in learning that will not easily be made up for even if schools quickly return to their prior performance levels. These losses will have lasting economic impacts both on the affected students and on each nation unless they are effectively remediated.

While the precise learning losses are not yet known, existing research suggests that the students in grades 1-12 affected by the closures might expect some 3 percent lower income over their entire lifetimes. For nations, the lower long-term growth related to such losses might yield an average of 1.5 percent lower annual GDP for the remainder of the century.

Read the report at OECD.org

Your Need For Skilled Workers – Please Complete this Short Survey

The Council of Industry is working with the Manufacturers Alliance of New York and SEMI, an association compromised of electronics manufacturing and the design supply chain to further develop and implement programs that will match the demand of manufacturers for skilled workers with supply of  people seeking meaningful careers.

In order to measure the need for skilled labor, we are asking you to please complete a shore ten (10) minute survey.

The information collected will assess workforce needs, both regionally and statewide. It will provide data necessary to substantiate the Alliance’s requests for new funding opportunities. Once acquired, these funds will be used to meet our objective of providing skilled workers for you and other New York State manufacturers.

Take the Survey (Manufacturers Only Please)

The Southern Hemisphere Skipped Flu Season in 2020

Although 2020 has been a difficult year in many ways for Aussies and Kiwis, it has not necessarily been bad for their physical health. This winter only around 0.4% of people in the two countries said they were suffering from flu-like symptoms, down by four-fifths compared with last year. Other countries in the southern hemisphere have reported similar slowdowns in the spread of influenza.

The cause for this steep decline in infections is clear. Governments all around the world have enacted costly lockdowns to fight the novel coronavirus. In doing so, not only have countries in the southern hemisphere slowed the spread of covid-19, but they also appear inadvertently to have stopped the proliferation of another deadly disease: the flu.

Read more in The Economist

Robots Addressing Safety Issues Receive Green Light

The ARM (Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing) Institute announced the selection of nine technical projects that will be led by members of its national consortium to help with COVID-19 recovery. Special funding for this project call was provided by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. 

These projects address the needs of the manufacturing industry and the Department of Defense (DoD) in response to the national emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The specific applications of the selected projects have been identified by the Department of Defense as areas of urgency, such as diagnostics, medical care, medical countermeasures, non-medical personal protective equipment (PPE), and other supplies. The projects are explicitly linked to COVID-19 mitigation, demonstrating an ability for the United States and the Department of Defense to prevent, prepare for, and respond to this and future pandemics.

Read more and view the nine projects at EHS Today

Designing a vaccine against covid-19: Cautious optimism and lessons from HIV

Jerome Kim is the director-general of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and an international expert on the evaluation and development of vaccines. He wrirtes in The Economist that “The vast majority of the 12,000,000 people infected with covid-19 have had mild or asymptomatic infection (80%), 15% were hospitalized, around 2-3% died. The remainder have protective immune responses that control and eliminate infection, and—we think—protect against re-infection. ‘Immunity’ against re-infection is now supported by three studies in monkeys. Like hepatitis A, measles, and polio, covid-19 is defeated by infection-induced antibodies and killer cells, and these responses protect against re-infection. While we do not fully understand covid-19 immunity, early observations provide hope that a vaccine may be practicable.”

Read more at the Economist

Compressing the Vaccine Development Process 

Historically, the average timeframe to bring a vaccine to market is measured in years (often ranging between 10 to 16 years) not months. And, with Covid-19, the global population is putting pressure on the industry to buck the system and create a market-ready vaccine in 18 months or less. 

To a large extent, government funding has provided much needed fuel for companies to work towards compressing each stage, often conducting sequential stages in parallel. For instance, running phase two and three trials simultaneously, while also building out manufacturing lines in existing facilities to be able to produce vaccines while they are still in clinical trials.

Read more at IndustryWeek