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Daily Briefing – 311

Post: May. 25, 2021

Factory Activity, Backlogs Rise in First Half of May

IHS Markit’s flash US manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 61.5 in the first two weeks of May, the highest reading for factory activity since 2009.

According to IHS Markit “manufacturers highlighted that strain on capacity and raw material shortages are expected to last through 2021.” It noted that the supply crunch was raising production costs for manufacturers, who “made efforts to pass higher cost burdens on to clients.” The IHS Markit survey’s measure of prices paid by manufacturers rose to the highest level since July 2008.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

World Trade in Goods Rebounding Rapidly in 2021

Trade is picking up quickly. That’s according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, which released data May 19 on global trade, which it found has already returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The UNCTD report found that global trade increased by 10% on a year-over-year basis and 4% from the last quarter of 2020, mainly driven by exports from East Asian economies. Trade in goods has already surpassed pre-pandemic levels, though trade in services still has a ways to go to catch up.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Collins Notes ‘Fundamental Differences’ On Infrastructure Plans

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said on Sunday that Republicans and Democrats have “fundamental differences” when it comes to President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan. 

She added that there are “fundamental differences” in the parties’ definitions of infrastructure, a major point of contention among Republicans.

“I think negotiations should continue, but it’s important to note that there are some fundamental differences here, and at the heart of the negotiations is defining the scope of the bill. What is infrastructure?” Collins told Stephanopoulos. Collins added that she was glad that Biden was able to put a counteroffer on the table for the GOP but believes there’s already a bill on the Senate floor that covers what the infrastructure plan has. Collins said that, despite Biden’s counterproposal, the parties are still far away from working out a deal. 

Read more at The Hill

Vaccine Booster May Be Needed Soon

The first Americans who received their COVID-19 vaccines could need a “booster” shot as soon as September, the CEOs of Pfizer and Moderna told Axios.

“The data that I see coming, they are supporting the notion that likely there will be a need for a booster somewhere between eight and 12 months.” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said during a virtual event with the news outlet on Wednesday. That means that those who received the vaccine early this year could require a booster shot in September or October to help protect against contracting, or spreading, COVID-19. 

Read more at The Hill

US Vaccine Rollout – 352 Million Doses Distributed

The US has distributed 352 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and administered 279 million. After more than a month of decline, the daily doses administered increased slightly on May 15 to 1.6 million doses per day. Approximately 1.0 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 160 million individuals in the US have received at least 1 dose of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, equivalent to 48% of the entire US population. Among adults, 61% have received at least 1 dose, and 4.1 million adolescents aged 12-17 years have received at least 1 dose. A total of 127 million people are fully vaccinated, which corresponds to 38% of the total population. Among adults, 48% are fully vaccinated, and 1.8 million adolescents aged 12-17 years are fully vaccinated. Progress has largely stalled among adults aged 65 years and older: 85% with at least 1 dose and 73% fully vaccinated.  

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

NYS Vaccine Update – 54% Of NYS Adults Have Completed Vaccine Series

As of Saturday morning 10,301,484 (plus 51,062 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 8,699,304 are fully vaccinated (Plus 58,686).  In the Hudson Valley 1,096,702 (plus 5,958) have at least one dose and 913,581 (plus 6,884) are fully vaccinated. 


The Governor  updated COVID data through Saturday May 22nd.   There were 12 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,594. Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 1,335
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 117

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 3,870
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 367

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.92%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.84%

Useful Websites:

PMI Data Hits Three-Year High; UK Retail Sales Soar

U.K. economic activity posted its strongest growth on record in May, according to flash PMI (purchasing managers’ index) readings published Friday. The IHS Markit composite PMI hit 62.0, its highest since the survey was launched in 1998 and up from 60.7 the previous month, as British services firms reopened following a prolonged lockdown period and manufacturers benefited from the global demand recovery. U.K. retail sales also jumped 9.2% in April, double the average projection in a Reuters poll of economists, official data showed Friday, indicating that pent-up consumer demand is beginning to kick in.

In the euro zone, business growth hit its fastest pace for more than three years as the vaccine rollout gathered pace and more businesses in the bloc’s dominant services sector reopened. The initial flash composite PMI came in at 56.9 compared to April’s 53.8. 

Read more at CNBC

Is the United States Relying on Foreign Investors to Finance Its Bigger Budget Deficit?

Although foreign investors were net sellers of Treasury securities last year, the amount of money flowing into the United States increased. The upturn in inflows, though, was quite modest as a surge in domestic personal saving largely covered the government’s heightened borrowing needs. How the reliance on foreign funds changes in 2021, when the government deficit will again be quite elevated, will depend on whether domestic personal saving remains high.

Read more at the NY Fed

20,000 Reservations for Ford’s New Electric F-150 Lightning  Pickup

Ford Motor has taken 20,000 reservations for its new electric F-150 Lightning pickup in less than 12 hours since the truck was officially unveiled to the public, CEO Jim Farley told CNBC. The reservations are being closely watched by the company as well as investors to gauge the interest of customers in EV pickups, which is an unproven segment that automakers are rushing to enter. They include Tesla, General Motors and several start-ups such as Rivian, Lordstown Motors and Canoo.

“The response has been great,” Farley said during an interview on “Squawk Box.” “With 20,000 orders already, we’re off to the races.”

Read more at CNBC

737 MAX Deliveries Are On Again

Boeing Co. has resumed deliveries of its 737 MAX series aircraft, following a one-month pause implemented when an electrical-grounding issue was discovered to be affecting some jets’ cockpit back-up power control unit, the units’ storage racks, and cockpit instrument panels. The electrical problems were determined to be rooted in production changes implemented after the previous, 19-month grounding that concerned the 737 MAX flight-control software.

Earlier this week Boeing released two maintenance bulletins concerning the electrical defects to the operators of 109 737 MAX aircraft discovered to have the electrical grounding problem. The FAA authorized the electrical updates, and it noted that the jets would require a simple repair before returning to service.

Read more at American Machinist

New Face-Mask Rules Put Grocery Workers Back at Center of Debate

Many supermarket chains have eased rules for wearing masks in stores since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on May 13 that fully vaccinated people no longer need to cover their faces indoors. Kroger Co. said it dropped mask requirements for fully vaccinated customers and employees starting Thursday, unless local rules dictate otherwise. Walmart Inc.,  Target Corp. and other grocery sellers have also lifted mask mandates for vaccinated people.

Now, some workers say the end of mask mandates has put them in a new position of having to explain their employers’ mask policies, manage anxious shoppers and assess whether unmasked customers are indeed vaccinated, all while potentially risking their own health. 

Read more at the WSJ

What to do About a Global Labor Crunch

As rich countries loosen lockdowns, an economic puzzle is emerging. Businesses are voicing ever-louder concerns about labor shortages, even as millions of people remain out of work. Some see news of worker shortages as welcome. If human labor is still in demand, then perhaps predictions of job-killing robots were wrong. Company managers are also having to work harder to attract staff. McDonald’s is boosting wages; England’s pubs are ditching qualification requirements; other firms are paying people just to show up for an interview. Underlying pay growth is strong, at more than 3% in America. A good thing, you might say. After a year of lockdowns, who would begrudge workers a rise?

That is to ignore the downsides of labor-market snarl-ups. A bidding war between employers could yet cause an inflationary spiral. And shortages ricochet around the economy. A builder that cannot find laborers will put up fewer new houses, in turn hitting decorators. Businesses that are still recovering from the crisis may face another financial blow.

Read more at The Economist

Sniffer Dogs are Learning to Smell the Coronavirus

As the disease swept the globe and scientists deployed tools such as polymerase chain reaction tests to detect the novel coronavirus in people, a team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine worked to determine if dogs could also be trained to find infections.

The proof-of-concept study, published in April in the journal PLOS ONE, showed that the virus has an odor that trained dogs can identify in urine and saliva. Now, the researchers—with the help of Tuuka, Griz, Toby, Rico, and Roxie—are examining whether canines can sniff out coronavirus’ scent in sweaty T-shirts. If the dogs can accurately detect it on clothing, they could patrol places such as airports and stadiums to sniff out the virus in public settings.

Read more at NATGEO