CPI 4.2 % – U.S. Inflation Climbs in April to the Highest Level in 13 Years
Consumer prices rose sharply again in March and drove the rate of inflation to the highest level in 13 years, signaling greater stress on the economy as businesses grapple with supply shortages that are raising the cost of many goods and services.
The consumer price index soared 0.8% in April to match the biggest monthly increase since 2009 , the government said Wednesday. Economists polled by Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal had forecast a milder 0.2% advance. The rate of inflation over the past year jumped to 4.2% from 2.6% in the prior month — the highest level since 2008.
Manufacturing Openings Hit Record High 706,000
The March record increased significantly from the 572,000 openings in February. Manufacturers are eager to ramp up production in reaction to strong demand, according to NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray, and the job postings reflect their confidence in economic growth.
In what is another sign of confidence Moutray also points out that “the ‘churn’ in the labor market is often a signal of strength in the economy, and for that reason, it is important to look at quits. Workers do not quit their job if they are concerned about the economy, for instance. The number of quits in the manufacturing sector ticked up from 258,000 in February to 263,000 in March, the most since January 2001.”
Council Webinar Friday, May 14th, With JPMorgan Chase Economist James Glassman
Inflation, Labor Shortages, Infrastructure, Supply Chains: Join us Friday afternoon for a discussion of these issues and how they will affect your business with JPMorgan Chase’s Jim Glassman, Managing Director and Head Economist for Commercial Banking.
Jim’s work with the firm—combined with his independent research on the principal forces shaping the economy and financial markets—has earned him regular features in the media and as an economic commentator. He is also a long-standing participant in the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Survey of Professional Forecasters and the National Association of Business Economists’ (NABE) panel of macroeconomic forecasters.
NAM: WTO/TRIPS Waiver Will Not Solve Vaccine Crisis
Following the announcement by the United States Trade Ambassador that the Biden administration will support waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:
“We are all horrified by the images that we are seeing in India and in other places around the world hard-hit by COVID-19. The proposed WTO/TRIPS waiver would not solve this crisis and would exacerbate the core manufacturing and distribution challenges, as well as introduce serious new safety concerns.
“Rather than rushing to suspend critical protections and standards, investing in even greater production capacity would result in expanded vaccine access. Pharmaceutical manufacturers continue to work around the clock to help the world get armed against COVID-19. We should do everything possible to build on that heroic work, not undermine the protections that make this innovation possible in the first place.”
US Vaccine Rollout – Vaccination Rate/Cases Continue to Decline
The US has distributed 330 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and administered 262 million. Daily doses administered continues to decrease, down from a high of 3.3 million on April 11 to 2.0 million. Approximately 1.3 million people are achieving fully vaccinated status per day, down from a high of 1.8 million per day on April 12.
A total of 152 million individuals have received at least 1 dose of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, equivalent to 46% of the entire US population and 58% of all adults. Of those, 116 million are fully vaccinated, which corresponds to 35% of the total population and 44% of adults. Among adults aged 65 years and older, progress has largely stalled at 84% with at least 1 dose and 72% fully vaccinated. In terms of full vaccination, 60 million individuals have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 47 million have received the Moderna vaccine, and 9.0 million have received the J&J-Janssen vaccine.
NYS Vaccine Update
As of Wednesday morning 9,733,468 (plus 35,131 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 7,972,909 are fully vaccinated (Plus 87,053). In the Hudson Valley 1,031,905 (plus 3,987) have at least one dose and 828,552 (plus 11,895) are fully vaccinated.
NYS COVID Update – Beeches and Pools Can Open With Social Distancing
Governor Cuomo yesterday announced that beaches and pools will operate with six-foot social distancing in anticipation of Memorial Day. New York State’s goal is to reopen them to 100 percent capacity by July 4.
The Governor updated COVID data through Tuesday May 11th. There were 26 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,367. Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.
- Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 1,928
- Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 169
ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)
- Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 3,959
- Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 404
Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:
- Statewide 1.28%
- Mid-Hudson: 1.23%
- Read the press release
- See the School Districts Dashboard
- See the SUNY Dashboard
- State Vaccine Information Site
Colonial Pipeline Restarted Operations, ‘It Will Take “Several Days” For Supply Chain to Return to Normal
Colonial Pipeline said Wednesday “it initiated the restart” of operations after having to shut off the conduit following a cyberattack last week. The pipeline was set to resume operations around 5 p.m. ET, but the company said “it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal.” Colonial Pipeline Co. had to shut it down Saturday following a ransomware attack.
The shut-off of the pipeline, the primary fuel conduit serving the East Coast, spurred gasoline shortages in the southeastern and mid-Atlantic states. Gas prices jumped just above $3 a gallon Wednesday, and many gas stations in the Southeast were out of fuel as panicking motorists rushed to fill up in the wake of the cyberattack on a crucial regional pipeline.
The World’s Greatest Leaders List from Fortune
Fortune’s annual World’s Greatest Leaders list was released yesterday morning, and while a politician nabbed the top spot—New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern—the list also included a lot of CEOs.
Among them: Pfizer’s Albert Bourla, Moderna’s Stephane Bancel and BioNTech’s Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci, for the mRNA COVID vaccine miracle; PayPal’s Dan Schulman, for rethinking call center pay; Ping An’s Jessica Tan, for revolutionizing Chinese health care during the pandemic; General Catalyst Chair Kenneth Chenault, for urging corporations to speak up on voting rights for Black Americans; Deep Mind’s Demis Hassabis, for pioneering A.I.; Grab’s Anthony Tan, for reinventing his business to meet the needs of the pandemic; Taiwan Semi’s C.C. Wei, for keeping the world supplied with computer chips; Occidental’s Vicki Hollub, for championing carbon capture and storage; and Nasdaq’s Adena Friedman, for pushing for board diversity.
European Commission lifts Eurozone 2021 GDP forecast from 3.8% to 4.3%
The European Commission presented Wednesday a more upbeat assessment of how the 27 economies will perform this year, citing an improved vaccination campaign and the expectation that EU-wide fiscal stimulus will kick in the second half of 2021. The Brussels-based institution now foresees a gross domestic product rate of 4.2% for the EU in 2021, and of 4.4% for next year. In February, it said GDP would be 3.7% this year and 3.9% in 2022.
The prospects for the 19 countries that share the euro have also improved. Growth is now estimated at 4.3% this year, instead of 3.8% as forecast in February. The European Central Bank said in March that GDP would reach 4% in the euro area this year.
GOP-Led States Move to End Enhanced Federal Unemployment Benefits Early
A growing number of Republican governors are moving to end enhanced federal unemployment benefits early in a controversial move they say will push people back to work and help employers fill open positions. President Joe Biden and his administration have rejected the idea that enhanced benefits are keeping unemployed workers sitting at home.
The GOP governors of Mississippi and Alabama on Monday were the latest to announce an early end to pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits, joining officials in Montana, South Carolina and Arkansas, all of whom announced last week that they would terminate the enhanced benefits before the end of June – months before the programs expire in September.
Senate Democrats Skeptical of Extending $300 Unemployment Benefit Beyond September
Senate Democrats are signaling they’re unlikely to extend a $300 federal weekly unemployment benefit past September, especially if the economy continues to recover. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is already making it clear he will not support extending the benefits past September 6.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said at a Tuesday press conference there was “overwhelming support” among Democrats to keep providing the additional money to existing unemployment insurance. But not every member of his caucus is on board, particularly after last week’s weaker-than-expected April jobs report.
U.S. Tariffs Drive Drop in Chinese Imports
U.S. tariffs have led to a sharp decline in Chinese imports and significant changes in the types of goods Americans buy from China, new data show, with purchases of telecommunications gear, furniture, apparel and other goods shifting to other countries.
Nearly two-thirds of all imports from China—or roughly $370 billion in annual goods—were covered by tariffs imposed by the U.S. in 2018 and 2019. Tariffs now cover just half of Chinese exports to the U.S., or about $250 billion in goods annually, as U.S. companies buy more from other countries, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of information from Trade Data Monitor.