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Daily Briefing – 309

Post: May. 19, 2021

White House Encouraged by Infrastructure Talks With Republicans

Republican senators and the Biden administration came to no agreement on how much to spend on a major new infrastructure package, or how to pay for it, in another negotiating session Tuesday.  “I would say there is progress but we still have a ways to go,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, who led the presentation of a Republican counteroffer to the administration in Tuesday’s discussions, said after the talks. “They are digesting what we proposed and will react to that.”

Capito and a handful of other GOP senators met with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo along with senior White House aides on Capitol Hill, in negotiations that followed a session hosted by President Joe Biden last week.

Read more from Bloomberg

By 2030, 2.1 Million Jobs Will Go Unfilled and Could Cost the U.S. Economy $1 Trillion.

A new study launched on May 4 by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute (MI) warned that if the skills gap persists, 2.1 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled in the U.S. by 2030. This could cost the U.S. economy as much as $1 trillion in 2030 alone.

There are nuanced differences in today’s environment that are important to understand, as they highlight some key challenges manufacturers face: sourcing, training, and retaining talent. The report highlights some key findings from the 2021 Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute Manufacturing Talent study.

Read the Study at Deloitte

Companies Weigh Price Increases, Other Options as Costs Rise

Purchase prices for a range of products—from steel and copper to lumber and plastics—have gone up in recent weeks on the back of a resurgent U.S. economy. Bottlenecks around global production, supply chains and logistics are exacerbating the issue, resulting in shortages of key components such as computer chips.

Chief financial officers are facing a delicate balance as they weigh potential consumer-price increases against cost cuts and technology investments to respond to these inflationary pressures. Their course of action is dictated, among other things, by their industry, and by how the coronavirus pandemic has affected their businesses.

Read more at the WSJ

NYS Updated Mask Guidance 

As Ethan Allen HR Services previously advised, New York state lifted its mask mandate Wednesday, shifting to federal guidance that will allow fully vaccinated people to stop wearing masks in most indoor and outdoor settings. 

Businesses are authorized to require masks and six feet of social distancing for employees and/or patrons within their establishments OR adhere to CDC guidance, which advises that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks or be socially distanced, but unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear masks and be socially distanced in most settings. The NYS Department of Health strongly recommends masks and six feet of social distancing in indoor settings where vaccination status of individuals is unknown. ​

NYS CDC Mask Guidance Summary

US Vaccine Rollout

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday about 158.4 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, including about 124.5 million people who have been fully vaccinated by Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine or the two-dose series made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Sixty percent of adults have received at least one shot. President Biden set a goal on May 4 of reaching 70 percent of adults by July 4. Providers are administering about 1.77 million doses per day on average,

Read more at the New York Times

NYS Vaccine Update – 62% of Adult New Yorkers and 51% of All Eligible New Yorkers Have Received at Least One COVID-19 Vaccine Dose

As of Wednesday morning 10,079,911  (plus 50,534 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 8,473,757 are fully vaccinated (Plus 65,540).  In the Hudson Valley 1,072,743 (plus 6,350) have at least one dose and 889,701 (plus 8,167) are fully vaccinated. 


The Governor  updated COVID data through Tuesday May 18th.   There were 21 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,524. Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 1,521
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 119

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 3,967
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 374

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 1.06%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.93%

Useful Websites:

Ocean Carrier Shipping Times Surge in Supply-Chain Crunch

Only about 40% of container ships globally were on time arriving at ports in March, according to an analysis by Denmark-based Sea-Intelligence ApS, with average delays stretching to more than six days. The slowdowns improved from February, but remained far behind reliability levels of the previous two years, when more than 70% of ships arrived on time.

The delays around the world, the result of a large-scale restocking by businesses as consumer demand improves, are tying up vessel capacity, adding to a shortage of sea containers needed to move goods and sending shipping costs soaring as container freight rates rise at a historic pace.

Read more at the WSJ

Chip Crisis Gets Even Worse as Wait Times Reach Record 17 Weeks

Shortages in the semiconductor industry, which have already slammed automakers and consumer electronics companies, are getting even worse, complicating the global economy’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Chip lead times, the gap between ordering a chip and taking delivery, increased to 17 weeks in April, indicating users are getting more desperate to secure supply, according to research by Susquehanna Financial Group. That is the longest wait since the firm began tracking the data in 2017.

Read more at Straits Times

US Cases Continue Decline

The U.S. reported more than 27,000 new cases for Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University that was published early Wednesday. The data may update later. Tuesday’s figure was slightly lower than Monday’s revised total of 28,634, and marked the fourth day in a row that new cases were under 30,000. Not all states report data on new cases daily.

The seven-day moving average, which helps smooth out states’ irregular reporting schedules, was 32,032 as of Monday, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Johns Hopkins data. The 14-day average was 35,520. Both figures have been steadily declining for a month now.

Read more at the WSJ

Ford Reveals New Electric F-150 Lightning Pickup During Biden Visit

Ford Motor previewed its new electric F-150 Lightning pickup earlier than planned during a visit Tuesday by President Joe Biden to the Michigan plant that will produce the vehicle.

The highly anticipated truck resembles the automaker’s current F-150 but has unique exterior styling such as a closed-off grille and light bar across the front of the vehicle that connects its headlights. Sitting next to a traditional 2021 Ford F-150, the electric pickup appeared to be about the same size with a smoother, more aerodynamic design.

Read more at CNBC

Bank of America will Raise its Minimum Wage to $25 by 2025

Bank of America (BAC) said Tuesday that it will raise the hourly minimum wage of its US employees to $25 by 2025. “It costs us a few hundred million dollars a year … but it’s an investment,” the bank’s CEO Brian Moynihan told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on Tuesday, adding that It’s about maintaining a “great standard of living for our teammates.” Paying more also helps give employees a “career mindset” and ultimately breeds loyalty, he added. And that, in turn, is the way shareholders get paid back in this initiative.

It’s not the first time Bank of America has raised the minimum wage for its employees. In 2017 the bank raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour. Two years later the company announced it would lift that level to $20 over the coming two years — and did so ahead of schedule, with an increase that impacted more than 200,000 workers.

Read more at CNN

Beat It: Lowes, Target, TJX Exceed Expectations

Target reported EPS of $3.69 versus expectations for $2.25 on revenue of $24.2 billion versus an expected $21.81, while Lowe’s Q1 numbers showed EPS of $3.21 versus $2.62 on $24.42 billion, as compared to the consensus estimate of $23.86 billion. 

TJX, the parent of off-price stores like T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods reported fiscal first-quarter earnings of 44 cents a share, beating Wall Street’s consensus estimates at 31 cents a share. Sales of $10.09 billion were up 129% from last year’s pandemic-impacted period, and up 9% from the comparable quarter in 2019. Wall Street analysts had expected sales of $8.61 billion, according to FactSet.

Read more a Barrons

UK Inflation More Than Doubles 

British inflation more than doubled in April, the start of a likely climb in prices this year as rich economies recover from pandemic lockdowns, but one that the Bank of England hopes will prove temporary. That was a sharp jump from the 0.7% rise seen in March and marked the highest CPI reading since March 2020, driven by higher power and fuel bills as global oil prices climb from their pandemic lows of 2020.

April’s inflation reading was, however, only a touch above the 1.4% rise seen in a Reuters poll of economists and was still below the Bank of England’s 2% target.

Read more at Reuters

Schumer Introduces US Innovation And Competition Act To Make NY The Global Innovation & Semiconductor Hub

Yesterday, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer filed the bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which combines Schumer’s Endless Frontier Act, other bipartisan competitiveness bills, and $52 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to implement the semiconductor-related manufacturing and R&D programs authorized in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act and a program to support legacy chip production that is essential to the auto industry, the military, and other critical industries.

An additional $1.5 billion is provided for implementation of implement the USA Telecommunications Act that was also passed as part of last year’s NDAA to foster U.S. innovation in the race for 5G. This package of innovation bills will receive a final Senate vote in the days ahead

Read the act’s language here