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Daily Briefing – 166

Post: Oct. 8, 2020

COVID and Cluster Initiative Update – Record Number of Tests Conducted

145,811 COVID-19 test results were reported to New York State Wednesday and the state continues to track clusters with a particular focus on areas where there are hot spot, cluster situations. Within the top 20 ZIP codes in counties with recent outbreaks – Brooklyn, Queens, and Rockland and Orange Counties – the average rate of positive tests is 5.8 percent. The rate of positive tests for the remainder of New York State, not counting these 20 ZIP codes, is 1.01 percent. These 20 ZIP codes contained 23.2 percent of all positive cases in New York State yesterday, but represent only 6.2 percent of the state’s population.

Positivity rates:

  • 20 hotspot zip codes: 5.8%
  • Orange 10950: 10.1%
  • Statewide: 1.26%
  • Statewide excluding hotspots: 1.01%

The state has also developed an tool to see in an address in within a designated cluster.  

Trump: Talks on COVID-19 Aid are ‘Working Out’

Two days after calling off coronavirus relief talks with Democrats, President Trump did a full 180-degree turn and said Thursday that he was now negotiating a “bigger deal” than a narrowly focused package to rescue airlines. “I shut down talks two days ago because they weren’t working out. Now they’re starting to work out,” Trump said in the phone interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo.

Two days after calling off coronavirus relief talks with Democrats, President Trump did a full 180-degree turn and said Thursday that he was now negotiating a “bigger deal” than a narrowly focused package to rescue airlines.

Pelosi and Mnuchin have been busy fighting for an eleventh-hour lifeline for the decimated airline industry. The pair spoke twice by phone on Wednesday, and were expected to talk again on Thursday.

Read more at The Hill

Minutes: Fed Worried By Lack of Stimulus But Economy Recovering Faster Than Expected

Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s Sept. 15–16 meeting show the body’s concern about the U.S. economy’s ability to withstand the COVID-19 crisis without relief from Congress.

In positive news, the minutes noted that the U.S. economic recovery was moving more quickly than anticipated.  Still, members of the Fed Open Market Committee worried that a lack of additional assistance would jeopardize the recovery and cause particular harm in minority and low-income communities. “Many participants noted that their economic outlook assumed additional fiscal support and that if future fiscal support was significantly smaller or arrived significantly later than they expected, the pace of the recovery could be slower than anticipated.” 

Read more at CNBC

NAM Global Economic Report: Seven of the Top 10 Exports Markets Expanded in September

The J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI expanded in September at the fastest pace in 25 months, buoyed by recoveries in demand and strengthening in the outlook.  In September, seven  of the top 10 markets for U.S.-manufactured goods had expanding manufacturing sectors, up from six in August and just one (China) in May. As such, these major trading partners have continued to improve after plummeting in April to levels that were either the worst since the Great Recession or at record lows.

The World Trade Organization predicts that global trade volumes could fall 9.2% in 2020, an improvement from the previous estimate of a 12.9% decrease this year. WTO predicts that global trade should rebound, rising by 7.2% in 2021.

Global Manufacturing Economic Report 1008 2020

German Exports Rise on “Low-Hanging Fruits” of Recovery

The value of German goods exports rose by 2.4% month-on-month in August, the fourth consecutive month of growth after the covid-19 lockdowns decimated international trade. German exports were still down 10.2% compared with last August. Meanwhile, German imports surged 5.8% month-on-month in August, reducing the country’s trade surplus.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected exports and imports to both rise by 1.4%. The trade surplus was forecast at 18.2 billion euros.  “The export economy has been reaping the low-hanging fruits in recent months,” VP Bank economist Thomas Gitzel said, adding that subsequent months would be harder.

Read more at Reuters

PPG CEO: Manufacturing Is Critical to Economic Rebound

Writing in IndustryWeek PPG CEO Michael McGarry says that “The U.S. manufacturing sector has established itself as the backbone of economic stability and renewal amid times of crisis or downturn. It is important that candidates in this election, regardless of political affiliation, understand that a strong economic recovery is reliant on a durable manufacturing industry.”

He adds that infrastructure investment, workforce development, immigration reform and continuing a pro-growth tax policy are the keys to ensuring growth in manufacturing. 

Read more in IndustryWeek

Health Benefit Costs Seen Rising 8.1% in 2021

Employer-sponsored health care benefit costs are expected to increase more than 8% globally next year as workers get treatment they had deferred due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Willis Towers Watson report. The consulting firm’s 2021 Global Medical Trends Survey found medical insurers project growth in benefit costs will slow this year to 5.9% after a 7.2% gain in 2019.

But for 2021, they forecast 8.1% growth, with North America gaining 7.1% after a 2.8% increase in 2020. The study also found that 67% of respondents expect medical costs will continue to accelerate over the next three years.

Read more at CFO

Airports Consider Pre-Flight COVID-19 Testing

Airports are working to offer pre-flight COVID-19 testing to prevent passengers from facing cumbersome quarantine orders when they arrive at their destination.

Hawaiian Airlines, for example, is offering $150 at-home saliva tests for passengers to take before flights and a range of airports are opening testing centers that offer 15-minute results (with others offering 48-hour results for more accuracy).  The goal isn’t only to help people fly without quarantining; it’s also to promote confidence in air travel itself. 

Read more in the WSJ