Daily Briefing – 172

Cuomo Outlines New Micro-Cluster Strategy to Tackle COVID-19 Hot Spots – Numbers for Covid and Clusters

The micro-cluster strategy is predicated on three principles: refined detection, specific and calibrated mitigation, and focused enforcement.  There are currently “micro-clusters” in Brooklyn and Queens, as well as Rockland and Orange Counties. 

Using New York State’s approach to track cases by address with the help of nation-leading levels of testing, the State will identify outbreaks and implement mitigation measures tailored to the precise areas where outbreaks occur. The State will implement rules and restrictions directly targeted to areas with the highest concentration of COVID cases, known as red zones, and put in place less severe restrictions in surrounding communities, known as orange and yellow zones that serve as a buffer to ensure the virus does not spread beyond the central focus area. Enhanced focused testing and enforcement will follow.

Read the press release

Here are the positivity rates from 10/17

  • Summary of positivity rates:20 hotspot zip codes: 3.19%
  • Orange Red Zone: 1.04%
  • Rockland Red Zone: 2.22%
  • Statewide: 1.08%
  • Statewide excluding hotspots: 100%

Here are some other useful links

Movie Theaters Outside of NYC Can Reopen October 23, Ski Centers Can Reopen this Season Too

Governor Cuomo announced that theaters in counties outside of NYC with positivity rates of less than 2% can reopen at 25% capacity, with no more than 50 people per screen.  Governor Cuomo also announced that ski resorts can reopen beginning November 6th with 50 percent indoor capacity and strict compliance with state health and safety protocols.

Fed: US Manufacturing Output Dips in September, August Number Revised Up

The Federal Reserve reported U.S. factory production unexpectedly fell in September, suggesting that manufacturing’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic was slowing heading into the fourth quarter.

Manufacturing production dropped 0.3% last month, the Federal Reserve said on Friday. Data for August was revised up to show to output at factories increasing 1.2% instead of 1.0% as previously reported. Factory production remains 6.4% below its pre-pandemic level. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast manufacturing output would rise 0.7% in September.

Read more at Reuters

NY Fed Survey: Businesses Anticipate Modest Price Increases in Year Ahead

Supplementary questions to the October Empire State Manufacturing Survey and Business Leaders Survey focused on recent and expected changes in the prices paid by firms and in the prices they receive. Businesses were also asked for their estimate of overall inflation (as measured by the consumer price index, or CPI) over the next year. Some of these questions had been asked in surveys conducted in December 2019 and earlier.

In the current survey manufacturers reported an average rise of 3.6 percent over the past year and expect the rate to accelerate slightly to 3.9 percent over the next twelve months. In addition to these point estimates, respondents were also asked to gauge the likelihood that the prices they paid overall would increase or decrease within certain specified ranges. The average respondent reported a roughly two in three chance that the prices they paid would rise by 8 percent or less. Price hikes of 2-8 percent were seen as more likely than increases of 0-2 percent. Service firms, on average, reported that declines
in prices paid were more likely than increases of 8 percent or more, while manufacturers indicated the reverse.

Read the full report

U.S. Retail Spending Picked Up Strongly in September

Retail sales increased in September for the fifth month in a row, as consumers prepared for further months of working and studying from home by spending strongly on vehicles, sporting goods and at home-improvement stores. Retail sales, a measure of purchases at stores, restaurants and online, increased a seasonally adjusted 1.9% in September from the prior month, the Commerce Department said Friday.

“These are really blowout numbers, said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a consulting firm.

Read more at the WSJ

Pfizer Plans to Seek Authorization for COVID-19 Vaccine in November

Pfizer confirmed Friday it expects to seek emergency authorization of its experimental vaccine against Covid-19, if it is effective, in the third week of November.

An analysis of the efficacy of the vaccine could be available sooner, the company said in an open letter from its CEO, Albert Bourla, but required safety data will take longer. The timelines included in the letter are not new, based on disclosures the company has previously made about the status of its vaccine effort with the German biotechnology firm BioNTech. But the need for Bourla, who had previously said a vaccine could be available by October, to make a public announcement emphasizes the tense political conditions surrounding the race for a vaccine.

Read more at Statnews

Hudson Valley Region September Job Numbers

The September 2020 over-the-year job losses continue to reflect the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.  At 727,200, private sector job count has reached its lowest September level since 2010.  Meanwhile, the over-the-month change – a gain of 5,700, reflects the reopening of the economy.  The historical average over-the-month change between August and September is a loss of 3,000.

For the 12-month period ending September 2020, the private sector job count in the Hudson Valley fell by 86,600, or 10.6 percent, to 727,200.  Job losses were centered in leisure and hospitality (-33,600), trade, transportation and utilities (-14,500), professional and business services (-10,600), educational and health services (-9,200), other services (-8,600), natural resources, mining and construction (-5,100), manufacturing (-3,800), and financial activities (-1,000).

There were 39,300 manufacturing Jobs in the Valley in September 2020 down 3,800 from September 2019 and 100 from the previous month 

Labor Market Profile Hudson Valley SEP 2020

DiNapoli: New York State Ranks Second Nationally in Jobs Lost

While all states have lost employment since the COVID-19 pandemic struck earlier this year, the average state experienced job losses of 7.6 % during the pandemic, New York lost 12.8%.  New York surpasses almost every other state in both number and percentage of job losses. From February through August 2020, the Empire State ranks second to Hawaii in percentage of employment decline and second only to California in the total number. During that same period, unemployment in the State rose from 3.7 percent to 12.5 percent, based on preliminary estimates.

Read more at the Controller’s website  

The Reasons Behind America’s New Wave of Lay-Offs

The jobs picture is likely to get worse before it gets better. The pandemic is the proximate cause, but the deeper driver is bosses preparing for a new economy. David Garfield of AlixPartners, an advisory firm, reckons if companies must make do with only 70-90% of historical sales, as may happen with an anemic recovery, they cannot survive without “major restructuring”. Mr. Garfield believes firms must reduce complexity if they want to build resilience into supply and distribution networks. 

Bain, another consultancy, sees American companies “retooling for the new normal” by ploughing $5trn-10trn over the next decade into automation. This may kill old-fashioned jobs in the short term, but create new, tech-savvy ones over time.  “This is your moment to strike as chief executive if you want a dramatic change in market share,” says Hernan Saenz of Bain.

Read more in The Economist

China’s Economy Accelerates – GDP Plus 4.9 Percent

Growth in the world’s second-largest economy accelerated to 4.9% over a year earlier in the three months ending in September, up from the previous quarter’s 3.2%, official data showed Monday. Retail spending rebounded to above pre-virus levels for the first time and factory output rose, boosted by demand for exports of masks and other medical supplies.

China is the only major economy that is expected to grow this year while activity in the United States, Europe and Japan shrinks.  The recovery is “broadening out and becoming less reliant” on government stimulus, Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a report. He said growth is “still accelerating” heading into the present quarter.

Read more at the AP