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Daily Briefing – 191

Post: Nov. 12, 2020

COVID and Cluster Update 

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday afternoon providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Wednesday, November 11th. A total 162,627 COVID-19 tests were reported to the State Wednesday. Tracking data for the Clusters and the rest of the State are below.  

  • Clusters: 4.86%
  • Rockland Red zone: 2.84%
  • Westchester yellow-zone: 11.43
  • Orange Orange zone: 0.00%
  • Statewide: 2.95%
  • Statewide excluding clusters: 2.53%
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 1,677 (308 in ICU) 

Here are some useful websites:

The Economist: What the Biden Administration Would do Differently on COVID-19

Forecasting the course of the disease over the long term has proved supremely difficult. It is therefore unclear how bad a situation a newly inaugurated President Biden would inherit on January 20th 2021. But the current signs do not augur well.

A virus spreading fast with no compensating stimulus would be a brutal starting position for a Biden administration. Even with expedited approval and distribution, getting a vaccine to every American who needs it would take months. Mr Biden has announced plans to take more serious federal action. He would use his executive authority to create a Rooseveltian Pandemic Testing Board to compel companies to produce more tests, laboratory materials and personal protective equipment. He probably lacks the authority to impose a mask mandate nationwide, but would push states to do so.

Read more at The Economist 

U.S. Unemployment Claims Slip but Hold at High Levels

Initial claims for jobless benefits, a proxy for layoffs, declined to 709,000 last week from 757,000 a week earlier, the Labor Department said Thursday. While weekly claims have fallen from a peak of near 7 million at the end of March, they remain well above levels seen before the coronavirus hit this spring at just above 200,000.

 The number of people collecting unemployment benefits through regular state programs, which cover most workers, dropped to 6.8 million for the week ended Oct. 31 from 7.2 million. Continuing claims are well below their spring levels, reflecting that many laid-off workers have been recalled to jobs or hired elsewhere. Others, though, have exhausted state benefits, a sign many are facing long periods of joblessness.

Read more at the WSJ

Manufacturing Job Openings Are Still Strong

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey showed a positive picture of the economy, according to NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray. He says:

“There were 456,000 manufacturing job openings in September, pulling back somewhat from the 469,000 postings seen in August, which was the best reading since July 2019 (477,000). Despite some easing in the latest data, the trendline is encouraging, with manufacturers once again increasing their interest in adding new workers and rebounding from springtime weaknesses due to COVID-19.”
“In September, manufacturers hired 351,000 workers, down from 384,000 in August and with weaker data for both durable and nondurable goods firms. At the same time, total separations declined from 332,000 to 324,000. Net hiring (or hiring minus separations) was 27,000 in September, slowing from a gain of 52,000 in August but still a solid figure.” 

Read the JOLTS report

Global Manufacturing Economic Update 

The International Monetary Fund predicts that worldwide GDP will fall 4.4% in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and global recession, with output rebounding 5.2% in 2021. While economic activity has trended in the right direction, there are lingering worries in the outlook, including new restrictions on activity in many markets due to the continued spread of the virus. The service sector has seen renewed weaknesses in some areas, particularly in Europe, where COVID-19 cases are again on the rise. This could pose some risks to the manufacturing sector outlook moving forward if it persists.

That said the J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI expanded at the fastest pace since May 2018, up from 52.4 in September to 53.0 in October, buoyed by strength in demand and production and rising for the fourth straight month. In October, eight of the top 10 markets for U.S.-manufactured goods had expanding manufacturing sectors, up from seven in September and just one (China) in May.

Global Manufacturing Economic Report 1112 2020

SBA Intends to Require Borrowers with Loans Over $2 Million to Complete a New Loan Necessity Questionnaire

Council Associate Member and friends Bond Schoeneck and King write that the Small Business Association (SBA) has circulated Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan necessity questionnaire forms that it intends to require borrowers with PPP loans in excess of $2 million to complete. It is expected that nonprofit entity borrowers will be required to complete Form 3510 and for-profit entity borrowers will be required to complete Form 3509. These troubling new questionnaires specifically require borrowers to disclose information regarding their operations and liquidity during their covered periods.

Read more at BSK

Cashless Tolling to Go Live Overnight on NYS Thruway’s Ticketed System Beginning Friday, November 13

Governor  Cuomo today announced cashless tolling will go live on the New York State Thruway’s ticketed system during the overnight hours of Friday, November 13, into Saturday, November 14. The historic conversion will take place simultaneously at 58 tolling locations across the Thruway’s 450-mile ticketed system. The ticketed system is the final section of the Thruway to be converted to cashless tolling.

The official switch will take place in the overnight hours to limit impact to traffic. At the time cashless tolling goes live, cash will no longer be accepted as a form of payment at toll booths and printed toll tickets will not be handed out. To support this transition, NY E-ZPass has released a new TollsNY mobile app to help drivers manage E-ZPass accounts, find and pay Tolls by Mail invoices, and get important account alerts for tolls accrued at Thruway, MTA, and Port Authority tolling sites.

Read the press release

FDA Issues Authorization for Eli Lilly COVID-19 Treatment

The Food and Drug Administration has issued an Emergency Use Authorization for Eli Lilly & Co.’s COVID-19 antibody treatment drug bamlanivimab. According to Eli Lilly, the EUA is based on positive results from Phase 2 trials when used on patients with recently diagnosed COVID. The drug uses laboratory-made antibodies, proteins the body usually creates to fight off infections, to handicap the spread of the virus in the body.

Data from the ongoing study, says Daniel Skovronsky, President of Lilly Research Laboratories, show the drug may help patients clear the virus and reduce hospitalizations. The drug is conditionally approved for use in mild to moderate COVID cases, but not for those who have been hospitalized or are receiving oxygen therapy.

Read more at IndustryWeek

GM to Hire 3,000 Engineers, Designers, IT Workers For Electric Vehicle Production

The automaker will hire 3,000 engineers, designers and technology specialists between now and the end of the first quarter, and most of those people can work remotely, opening up the talent pool across the nation.  

GM has said it envisions a future of zero emissions, zero crashes and zero congestion, which it will achieve through electric and autonomous vehicles. To that end, GM considers 18 months the timeline to develop each electric vehicle. To go that fast simultaneously will require more people.

Read more at the Detroit Free Press

Study: A Minority of People With COVID-19 Account for the Bulk of Transmission

The study published in Nature,  by Ramanan Laxminarayan of Princeton University and eight co-authors, finds that covid-19 transmission is highly concentrated. Of all the contacts traced, 7.5% subsequently tested positive for covid-19 (assumed to be caused by exposure to the infected person identified). Yet the academics find that these infections stem from a minority of originally infectious individuals. Fully 71% of infected people did not transmit the virus on. Most new transmissions were from a few “super-spreaders”: about 10% of the people caused 60% of new infections, giving covid to three other people, on average.

Risk of infection is greatest in private homes and among similarly aged people. That is corroborated by evidence from 1,600 covid-19 “super-spreading” events. Such transmission occurs most often in large buildings, while just three documented events have taken place outdoors. 

Read more and view some interesting charts at The Economist