“Fantastic Degree of Harmony:” G-7 Leaders Agree on Vaccines, China and Minimum Corporate Tax
Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations Yesterday pledged more than 1 billion coronavirus vaccine doses to poorer nations, vowed to help developing countries grow their economies while fighting climate change and agreed to challenge China’s “non-market economic practices” and call out Beijing for rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the “fantastic degree of harmony” among the reenergized group, which met in person for the first time in two years.
The G-7 also backed a minimum tax of at least 15% on large multinational companies to stop corporations from using tax havens to avoid taxes.
Inflation is Hotter Than Expected, But it Looks Temporary
The consumer price index rose 5% in May on a year-over-year basis, the highest since the summer of 2008, when oil prices were skyrocketing. Excluding food and energy, core CPI rose 3.8% year over year, the highest pace since 1992. A third of the increase was attributed to a sharp 7.3% increase in used car and truck prices.
Fed officials have described the current period of high inflation as transitory, meaning it should be brief or short-lived. They have expected several months of elevated price increases because of pent-up demand and supply chain lags. The comparison to last year’s weak levels — at a time when the economy was mostly shut down — is also a factor.
Bipartisan Senate Group Announces Infrastructure Deal
A bipartisan group of 10 senators Thursday afternoon announced an agreement on a “compromise framework” to invest $1.2 trillion in infrastructure over the next eight years. Sources familiar with the deal said it would provide $974 billion over five years. They also said the framework is focused on “core, physical infrastructure” and would not increase taxes, though it includes an option to index the gas tax to inflation.
The senators cautioned that the deal still needs to be presented to the Senate Republican conference and the White House to see if there’s broader buy-in. “We have a tentative agreement on the pay-fors, yes, but that’s among the five Democrats and the five Republicans. It has not been taken to our respective caucuses or the White House so we’re in the middle of the process. We’re not at the end of the process, not at the beginning but we’re in the middle,” Romney told reporters Thursday afternoon.
OSHA Issues COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard That Does NOT Include Manufacturers – Separate Guidance Does
On June 10, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a long-anticipated Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) relating to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Despite early expectations that the ETS would apply universally to all workplaces, the new ETS is narrowly tailored to certain employers in the health care industry.
However, OSHA paired its release of the new ETS with an updated version of its informal COVID-19 employer guidance, which more broadly applies to all workplaces. and aligns more closely with CDC Guidelines.
US COVID Update – Vaccination Pace Ticks Higher
The US has distributed 372.8 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and administered 305.7 million. The average daily vaccine doses administered increased slightly over the past several days, likely stemming from delayed reporting over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The US is averaging 867,109 doses per day, and 535,221 people are achieving fully vaccinated status per day, down from a high of 1.8 million per day on April 12.
A total of 172 million individuals in the US have received at least 1 dose of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, equivalent to 51.9% of the entire US population. Among adults, 64.0% have received at least 1 dose, and 7.3 million adolescents aged 12-17 years have received at least 1 dose. A total of 141.6 million people are fully vaccinated, which corresponds to 42.6% of the total population. Among adults, 53.4% are fully vaccinated, and 3.6 million adolescents aged 12-17 years are fully vaccinated.
Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – Low Positivity Trend Continues
Governor Cuomo Announced yesterday that the 7-day average positivity is 0.42% and is now the lowest in the nation.
Vaccine Stats as of Sunday morning:
One Vaccine Dose
- 55.7% of all New Yorkers – 11,116,003 (plus 15,083 from a day earlier)
- In the Hudson Valley 1,1182,225 (plus 1,000)
- 49.1% of all New Yorkers – 9,780,425 are fully vaccinated (Plus 34,005)
- In the Hudson Valley – 1,032,117 (plus 2,995) are fully vaccinated.
The Governor updated COVID data through Saturday June 12th. There were 8 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,864.
- Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 630
Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:
- Statewide 0.42%
- Mid-Hudson: 0.41%
- Read the press release
- Visit the vaccine tracker site
- See the School Districts Dashboard
- See the SUNY Dashboard
- State Vaccine Information Site
Global Manufacturing Index Edges Higher
The J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI edged up from 55.9 in April to 56.0 in May, the fastest pace since April 2010. New orders and exports expanded at the strongest rates in 11 years, and manufacturers remained very upbeat in their outlook for production. Survey respondents also cited significant supply chain disruptions, with input prices rising the most since March 2011 and output prices soaring at a record pace.
For the fourth consecutive month, eight of the top nine markets for U.S. manufactured goods had expanding manufacturing sectors. Manufacturing activity in Mexico remained challenged, but the Netherlands and the United Kingdom set new records for PMIs in May. Encouragingly, the overall data—while mixed in May—continued to reflect significant progress in the economy over the past year, as the world begins to emerge from COVID-19-related weaknesses and even with lingering hot spots for the virus in some key markets.
Weekly Jobless Claims Fell for a Sixth Straight Week
U.S. states saw the fewest new unemployment claims since March 2020 last week, with initial filings down for a sixth straight week as economic activity picked up further.
- Initial jobless claims, week ended June 5: 376,000 vs. 370,000 expected and an unrevised 385,000 last week
- Continuing claims, week ended May 22: 3.499 million vs. 3.665 million expected and a revised 3.757 million last week
UK Economy Grew 2.3% in April as Covid-19 Restrictions Eased
The UK economy grew 2.3% in April, its fastest monthly growth since July last year. Shoppers spent more on the High Street as non-essential shops reopened, and people bought more cars and caravans. There was also more spending in pubs, cafes and restaurants as restrictions eased the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
Despite the surge in activity, the UK economy is still 3.7% below its pre-pandemic peak. Construction fell in April, compared to strong growth the previous month, but the sector remains above its pre-pandemic peak. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that the figures were “a promising sign that our economy is beginning to recover”.
G7 Vaccine Pledge is Just a Drop in the Ocean, Campaigners Say
A Group of Seven plan to donate 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries lacks ambition, is far too slow and shows Western leaders are not yet up to the job of tackling the worst public health crisis in a century, campaigners said on Friday.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he expected G7 leaders to agree the donations as part of a plan to inoculate the world’s nearly 8 billion people against the coronavirus by the end of next year. After U.S. President Joe Biden vowed to supercharge the battle against the virus with a donation of 500 million Pfizer (PFE.N) shots, Johnson said Britain would give at least 100 million vaccines within the next year. Other pledges may follow.
Keystone XL’s Demise Shows Hard Road for New Pipelines
The failure of the Keystone XL project demonstrated the challenges of building new pipelines in the U.S. and Canada amid galvanized environmental groups and delivered a blow to oil-and-gas companies that now must rely on aging infrastructure. The U.S. and Canada still rely on pipelines to transport fossil fuels that underpin commerce, transportation and heating and cooling. As pipelines become increasingly difficult to build, the countries will become more dependent on older infrastructure that is vulnerable to disruptions. The shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline last month after it was attacked by hackers highlights the potential impact caused by unexpected disruptions to the current network.
Protesters targeted Keystone XL, which Canada’s TC Energy Corp. abandoned Wednesday, and other pipelines for more than a decade, hoping to choke off fossil-fuel usage by making it harder to transport. The success with Keystone XL already has emboldened environmentalists, who in recent weeks have turned their attention to other pipelines in the U.S. and Canada.
Send Not to Know…. Will We Ever know the Real Pandemic Death Toll?
“There are fundamental, inherent challenges,” says Samira Asma, assistant director general for data, analytics, and delivery for impact at the World Health Organization. Even in wealthy nations, officials are grappling with incorrect diagnoses, irregularities in the data tracking, and other factors that can obscure the virus’s true impact. “So because of this, we don’t have a complete understanding of the entire scope of the pandemic.”
But the past year has also been a stark reminder of inequalities throughout the world—including the resources needed to collect timely and accurate data on deaths. In an assessment conducted in 2019, the WHO found that about two-thirds of the countries in the world lack strong civil registration and vital statistics systems that keep a count of births and deaths.
Remote Workers Work Longer, Not More Efficiently
Early surveys of employees and employers found that remote work did not reduce productivity. But a new study of more than 10,000 employees at an Asian technology company between April 2019 and August 2020 paints a different picture. The firm uses software installed on employees’ computers that tracked which applications or websites were active, and whether the employee was using the keyboard or a mouse. (Shopping online didn’t count.)
The research certainly concluded that the employees were working hard. Total hours worked were 30% higher than before the pandemic, including an 18% increase in working outside normal hours. But this extra effort did not translate into any rise in output. This may explain the earlier survey evidence; both employers and employees felt they were producing as much as before. But the correct way to measure productivity is output per working hour. With all that extra time on the job, this fell by 20%.