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Daily Briefing – 193

Post: Nov. 16, 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 Sunday, November 15th.  A total 124,565 COVID-19 tests were reported to the State Sunday.

Tracking data for the Clusters and the rest of the State are below.  

  • Clusters: 4.19%
  • Rockland Red zone: 2.93%
  • Westchester yellow-zone: 3.95
  • Orange Orange zone: 0.00%
  • Statewide: 2.80%
  • Statewide excluding clusters: 2.50%
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 1,968 (391 in ICU) 

Here are some useful websites:

New York State Transmission Rate  

The average number of people who become infected by an infectious person with COVID-19 is 1.28 in New York State making it 5th highest in the U.S. as of November 14th.  New York’s rate is only slower than those of Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island and New Hampshire A number below 1 indicates the spread of the virus is slowing, above 1 means it is accelerating.

See the transmission rates by State at Statista

Manufacturing Economy Report: Layoffs Lowest Since February 2017 Plus NFIB Survey and More

There were 456,000 manufacturing job openings in September, pulling back somewhat from the 469,000 postings in August, which was the best reading since July 2019.   Encouragingly, nonfarm business layoffs decreased from 1,533,000 in August to 1,333,000 in September, an all-time low. Meanwhile, layoffs in the manufacturing sector declined from 102,000 to 90,000, the lowest since February 2017 and well below the 635,000 layoffs in April.  

One sign of improved health is the “churn” seen in the labor market, and the number of quits has rebounded in recent months. This is also reassuring. Nonfarm payroll quits rose from 2,839,000 in August to 3,018,000 in September, the most since February, and manufacturing quits edged up from 207,000 to 212,000, a one-year high.

Monday Economic Report 2020-1116

Growth, But at a Slower Pace – Empire State Manufacturing Survey

Manufacturing activity in New York State expanded only to a small degree in November. After falling seven points last month, the general business conditions index fell four points to 6.3 this month, indicating that growth continued to slow. Thirty-one percent of respondents reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 24 percent reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index fell nine points to 3.7, indicating a slight increase in orders, and the shipments index fell twelve points to 6.3. Delivery times were little changed, while unfilled orders and inventories continued to decline.

Read more at the NY Fed

Stimulus Update – The Politics at Play

Washington lawmakers have worked to come to an agreement on the next coronavirus relief package for months. Post-election, those talks could get shaken up by new developments on Capitol Hill.

That includes the election of Democratic candidate Joe Biden to the Oval Office. But it will likely also be shaped by shifting power in the Senate and the near-term prospects for a Covid-19 vaccine.

Those factors could influence how much aid is sent out and when.

Explore the possibilities at CNBC

Home Prices Are Rising Everywhere in the U.S.

The median price for existing homes in each of the 181 metro areas tracked by the National Association of Realtors was higher in the third quarter from a year earlier. This broad-based rally for single-family homes marked the first time since 1980 that every metro area tracked by NAR posted an annual price increase in the same quarter, NAR said. Back then, the association tracked 19 metro areas.

Record-low mortgage-interest rates have also motivated shoppers to enter the market. And a longstanding shortage of homes for sale has worsened, increasing competition among buyers and sparking bidding wars. Existing-home sales have surged in recent months and reached a seasonally adjusted 14-year high in September.

Read more at the WSJ

Producer Prices Climbed More Than Expected in October, Inflation Overall Stays Muted

Producer prices in the U.S. increased by slightly more than anticipated in the month of October, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Friday.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand rose by 0.3 percent in October after climbing by 0.4 percent in September. Economists had expected prices to inch up by 0.2 percent.  The bigger than expected increase in producer prices was partly due to a jump in food prices, which surged up by 2.4 percent in October amid a spike in prices for fresh and dry vegetables.

Read more at Nasdaq.com

Survey: 64% of Americans Open to New Job Opportunities

Sixty-four percent of American employees would consider changing jobs if approached by another employer or are seeking new job opportunities, and that rises to 76% among workers younger than 30, according to a Ceridian and Nielsen survey. Sixty-four percent of respondents said job security would play a larger part in career moves and engaging work was the top reason employees stay in their roles.

Read more at CNBC

Containers for US Exports Are Hard to Find

Containers for US exports are scarce these days as Asian exporters dominate supply ahead of the holidays, although there are supply constraints for cargo coming from Asia, too. “Right now we are grappling with a true emergency — carriers refusing bookings for trans-Pacific agricultural exports and canceling those already booked,” said Peter Friedmann, executive director at the Agriculture Transportation Coalition.

Read more at FreightWaves/American Shipper

GM Cuts Production at Two Plants as Pandemic Squeezes Supply Chain

General Motors was forced to curb production at two of its key assembly plants on Thursday and Friday due to parts shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic — and industry observers fear that more disruptions could follow as the rate of Covid-19 infections surges to record levels.

Overtime work scheduled for Saturday at GM’s big SUV plant in Arlington, Texas, has been canceled, the automaker announced, while the Corvette plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky, was forced to temporarily shut down last Thursday and Friday. GM had been pressing to boost production at both factories to cope with shortages resulting from the industry’s two-month shutdown last spring.

Read more at NBC News

Democrats Ossoff, Warnock Start Georgia Runoffs Behind the Eight Ball

Joe Biden turned Georgia blue, barely. Compared to what they’re up against now, that was the easy part for Democrats.

To repeat Biden’s feat in a pair of Senate runoffs on Jan. 5, with control of the Senate on the line, the Democratic Party will have to defy a long track record of failure in overtime elections. They’ll need to overcome the entire weight of the Republican Party descending on the state — from organizers and operatives to potentially hundreds of millions of dollars. One of their Senate candidates, Jon Ossoff, would have to make up the nearly 90,000 votes he ran behind the GOP incumbent on Nov. 3.