Half of US States End Enhanced Unemployment Benefits
Half of the states in the U.S., all led by Republican governors, have announced plans to cut off billions of dollars in federal unemployment benefits for residents, as the number of Americans who have been vaccinated continues to increase. Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi and Missouri will stop sending benefits on June 12, according to Reuters. For the other 21 GOP-led states, checks will phase out through July 10.
White House officials are reportedly concerned that ending the benefits too quickly, before mass vaccination efforts are completed, could hurt workers and the economy, both of which are still recovering from the negative effects of the pandemic. When asked why the White House thinks there is currently a shortage of workers in the U.S., White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday said “it’s going to take time for workers to regain confidence in the safety of the workplace.”
ADP: Private Companies Hired Nearly a Million Workers in May
Private job growth for May accelerated at its fastest pace in nearly a year as companies hired 970,000 workers, according to a report Thursday from payroll processing firm ADP.
It was a big jump from April’s 654,000 and the largest gain since the 4.35 million added in June 2020 as the national economy came out of its Covid-19 lockdown. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 680,000 in May. The April total was revised sharply lower from the initially reported 742,000.
Initial Jobless Claims Below 400,000 for the First Time Since March 2020
New jobless claims fell for a fifth consecutive week to reach a new 14-month low as fewer and fewer Americans become newly unemployed during the recovery out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here were the main metrics from the report, compared to consensus data compiled by Bloomberg:
- Initial jobless claims, week ended May 29: 385,000 vs. 387,000 expected and a downwardly revised 405,000 last week.
- Continuing claims, week ended May 22: 3.771 million vs. 3.614 million expected and a downwardly revised 3.602 million last week
GOP Mulls Increasing Their Infrastructure Spending Proposal
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), her party’s lead infrastructure negotiator, is preparing to come back to the table with Biden today in the latest round of infrastructure talks. The gap between the two sides is massive at the moment — Biden and Republicans aren’t even counting the size of the bill the same way and are approximately $750 billion apart. Their differences appear nearly impossible to bridge right now.
Republicans are skeptical they can muster the willingness to come up significantly from their current offer of about $250 billion in new money over current spending levels on roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Biden wants at least $1 trillion over current levels. Democrats say they will give the GOP about 10 days before making moves toward passing a package using budget reconciliation, an arcane process that allows certain spending bills to evade the Senate’s 60-vote requirement.
US COVID Update – A Different Memorial Day This Year
Memorial Day will be the first major test of the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccinations in the U.S., according to many epidemiologists. Last year, re-openings in parts of the U.S. ahead of the holiday weekend led to a second surge of new coronavirus cases. Hospitalizations climbed in late June, followed by a steady rise in fatalities after the first week of July.
This year, epidemiologists and public-health officials are hopeful that despite millions of Americans traveling for the weekend and the broad rollback of pandemic restrictions, newly reported Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths will remain low as more of the country continues to get vaccinated, albeit at lower rates.
NYS Vaccine Update – First Scholarship Winners Announced
Governor Cuomo Wednesday announced the first-round winners of the ‘Get A Shot to Make Your Future’ incentive for a full scholarship to a SUNY or CUNY school. Winners receive a full scholarship to any New York public college or university, including tuition and room and board. New York State will administer the random drawing and select 10 winners a week over five weeks.
As of Thursday morning 10,783,869 (plus 39,064 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 9,260,652 are fully vaccinated (Plus 43,801). In the Hudson Valley 1,146,517 (plus 4,104) have at least one dose and 968,061 (plus 4,588) are fully vaccinated.
- See the scholarship winners
- Read the press release
- Read the scholarship press release
- Visit the vaccine tracker site
- Make an appointment
NYS COVID Update
The Governor updated COVID data through Wednesday June 2nd. There were 10 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,745. Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.
- Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 970
Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:
- Statewide 0.60%
- Mid-Hudson: 0.57%
- Read the press release
- See the School Districts Dashboard
- See the SUNY Dashboard
- State Vaccine Information Site
Empire Center Report Calls For Public Health Changes In Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic
New York missed its best chance to save lives at the onset of COVID-19 in February of 2020—when the virus arrived and started spreading before anyone noticed—not in March or April, according to a new report from the Empire Center analyzing the state’s response. The report, 2020 Hindsight, found the state’s early response was undermined by flawed guidance from the federal government, inadequate planning and stockpiling, limited consultation with experts, exaggerated projections and poor cooperation between federal, state and local officials, among other issues.
The report identifies several shortcomings by New York’s public health system that led to such a pronounced crisis, including its preoccupation with and overspending on Medicaid, which took resources away from pandemic preparation and planning. Ultimately, the state’s public health infrastructure proved to be underprepared, ill-equipped and slow to act.
Global Food Prices Surge to Near Decade High, UN Says
A United Nations index of global food prices rose for the 12th consecutive month, its longest stretch in more than a decade. Since the pandemic began, a drought in Brazil has hit coffee and maize production. Output of vegetable oil in South-East Asia has also stagnated. Meanwhile, soaring meat consumption as China’s economy rapidly recovers has increased its demand for grain imports
The UN’s index is treading at its highest since September 2011, with last month’s gain of 4.8% being the biggest in more than 10 years. All five components of the index rose during the month.
U.S. Inflation is Transitory but Could Become More Persistent, says ex-Fed Official William Dudley
The recent spike in U.S. inflation is likely transitory for now — but it could become more persistent in the coming years as more people return to work, said former New York Fed President William Dudley. “I think that the scare right now is probably going to abate a bit as we go through the next year, but I think in the long run, are we going to see inflation … above 2%? I think the Fed is going to succeed in doing that,” Dudley told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” Wednesday.
Dudley said the latest spike in inflation was driven by factors that will resolve over time, such as disruptions in supply chains and a comparison against lower numbers last year as the economy was badly hit by the pandemic. In addition, more people must gain employment before the U.S. faces a labor constraint that feeds through to inflation more persistently in the coming years, he added.
Report: Reshoring Rose Significantly in 2020
According to The Reshoring Initiative, which released its 2020 Data Report June 2. More jobs were created in the U.S. thanks to reshoring in 2020 than were created by foreign direct investment, the report says, the first time that’s happened since 2013. Reshoring created about 109,000 U.S. jobs out of about 161,000 total jobs created from reshoring and foreign direct investment in 2020.
The most common reasons cited by reshoring companies in the report for their decision to bring jobs back to the U.S. was the positive domestic factor “proximity to customers/market,” which 1,367 companies cited. “Government incentives” was the second-most popular reason, and just over a thousand companies said they returned to the U.S. to seek available skilled workers. The most-cited negative factor for reshoring was quality of goods, cited 359 times.
Boom – United Airlines Inks Deal for 15 New Supersonic Jets
United Airlines may be making a play to revive faster-than-sound air travel. The airline announced June 3 it had reached a deal with Denver, Colorado-based aerospace company Boom Supersonic Inc. to acquire 15 of its Overture aircraft once United’s safety and sustainability standards are met. A joint statement from the companies indicated United plans to have the planes carrying passengers by 2029.
The Overture jet, according to Boom Supersonic, is capable of reaching Mach 1.7, twice the speed of most aircraft on the market, and almost two times the speed of sound. The company says that means the plane could get from San Francisco to Tokyo in six hours or Newark to London in three and a half.
NASA Picks Twin Missions To Visit Venus
NASA has decided to send two new missions to Venus, our closest planetary neighbor, making it the first time the agency will go to this scorching hot world in more than three decades. The news has thrilled planetary scientists who have long argued that Venus deserves more attention because it could be a cautionary tale of a pleasant, Earth-like world that somehow went horribly awry.
“I never knew it was possible to cry and have goose bumps at the same time, because that’s what happened to me when I heard the news,” said Darby Dyar, a planetary geologist at Mount Holyoke College who is the deputy principal investigator on one of the missions, and chair of NASA’s Venus exploration advisory group. “The Venus community has waited decades for this moment, and to have NASA give us two missions in one, both complementary, is out of this world,” Dyar said.