Daily Briefing – 328

Tight Labor Market Returns the Upper Hand to American Workers

Low-wage workers found something unexpected in the economy’s recovery from the pandemic: leverage. Kyle Mathews, 27 years old, is among the workers benefiting. He had worked at a large grocery store for about four years in various positions. He said he was frustrated by the pay of about $14 an hour, the top of the store’s pay scale, and the long hours. 

In February, he visited a staffing firm and quickly lined up several interviews. He quizzed potential employers about company culture and advancement opportunities. He landed a half dozen offers and accepted a position at ColorHub, which prints graphics on packaging, store displays and signage.  His new job pays $16 an hour, plus overtime, and he is training for a role as a higher-skill machine operator that would pay an additional $2 an hour. “The company is growing, and I’m excited to see where it takes me,” he said. 

Economist Intelligence Unit: North America Will Not See Significant Reshoring

There is growing optimism among policymakers in the US around developing a North American alternative to Asia-based supply chains. The EIU believes these expectations are overblown, with businesses favouring the convenience, reliability and cost-effectiveness of Asia.

North America boasts several advantages—including years of economic integration, a large free-trade area, short travel times and new opportunities for policy coordination under USMCA. However, a number of obstacles will prevent businesses and investors from viewing North America as a realistic production substitute for Asia, at least through the medium term. Of particular relevance will be Asia’s more successful mitigation of coronavirus disruptions to production and trade, as well as Asia’s established, reliable and low-cost manufacturing capabilities. 

Read more at EIU

Biden’s CDC Chief Isn’t Sure About Return to “Normal” 

During the first months of the Biden era, the CDC has scrambled to clearly communicate some of the most critical federal policies on Covid-19, and to balance the narrative that life is returning to normal for those fully vaccinated and that Covid-19 still posed an incredible risk to those who were not.  Now the agency faces its biggest test since Walensky was installed: loosening its public safety guidance as the pandemic recedes, while simultaneously trying to prevent infection rates from spiking in undervaccinated communities. Adding to the difficulty, the highly transmissible Delta virus variant is gaining ground across the country.

Getting it right requires synthesizing complex virology and public health and behavioral science findings about Covid-19 in an easy-to-understand way for the public, while ensuring that the White House is on board with the CDC’s conclusions.

Read more at Politico

Border Closures with Canada, Mexico Extended Through July 21

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending restrictions on nonessential travel between the United States and Mexico and Canada through July 21 in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The restrictions on nonessential travel between the U.S. and Mexico and Canada were set to expire Monday, after the department last month decided to continue the pandemic-era regulations until June 21.

The department said there have been “positive developments in recent weeks,” adding that it is working with “other U.S. agencies in the White House’s expert working groups with Canada and Mexico to identify the conditions under which restrictions may be eased safely and sustainably.”

Read more at The Hill

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – Pop-Up Vaccine Sites to Open at Primary Polling Places

Vaccine Stats as of Monday morning:

One Vaccine Dose

  • 58.9% of all New Yorkers – 11,324,533 (plus 12,168 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,204,410 (plus 1,098) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 52.0% of all New Yorkers – 10,146,111 are fully vaccinated (Plus 21,640)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,074,633 (plus 2,247) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday June 20th.   There were 10 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,928. 


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 491

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.37%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.33%

Useful Websites:

US  COVID Update- ‘Two Americas’ May Emerge as Delta Variant Spreads and Vaccination Rates Drop

With Covid vaccination penetration in the US likely to fall short of Joe Biden’s 70% by Fourth of July target, pandemic analysts are warning that vaccine incentives are losing traction and that “two Americas” may emerge as the aggressive Delta variant becomes the dominant US strain.

Efforts to boost vaccination rates have come through a variety of incentives, from free hamburgers to free beer, college scholarships and even million-dollar lottery prizes. But of the efforts to entice people to get their shots some have lost their initial impact, or failed to land effectively at all. “It’s just not working,” Irwin Redlener at the Pandemic Resource and Response Initiative at Columbia University, told Politico. “People aren’t buying it.”

Read more at The Guardian

NY Fed Study – Market Concentration Among Large US Firms and Foreign Competition

A number of studies have documented that market concentration among U.S. firms has increased over the last decades, as large firms have grown more dominant. In a new study, we examine whether this rising domestic concentration means that large U.S. firms have more market power in the manufacturing sector. This research argues that increasing foreign competition over the last few decades has in fact REDUCED U.S. firms’ market power in manufacturing.

In light of the predictions of many trade models, the  study’s findings suggest that the market power of large U.S. firms has actually fallen in many industries since their share in the overall market has declined. In sum, the analysis suggests that the increasing concentration among U.S. firms themselves is entirely consistent with lower markups of these firms because of tougher import competition.

Read more at the NY Fed

CNH Industrial to Acquire Raven Industries

CNH Industrial N.V. yesterday announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of the capital stock of Raven Industries, Inc. leader in precision agriculture technology for $58 per share, representing a 33.6% premium to the Raven Industries 4-week volume-weighted average stock price, and $2.1 billion Enterprise Value. The transaction will be funded with available cash on hand of CNH Industrial. Closing is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including approval of Raven shareholders and receipt of regulatory approvals.

The acquisition builds upon a long partnership between the two companies and will further enhance CNH Industrial’s position in the global agriculture equipment market by adding strong innovation capabilities in autonomous and precision agriculture technology.

Read more at Global News

ITIF Study: the United States Needs a National Advanced Industry and Technology Agency

With the rise of China and other economic competitors, the United States requires a national advanced technology strategy, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) reports.  While there are many steps Congress and the Biden administration should take, the most important is the creation of a dedicated national technology agency. Well over 50 nations have already established such bodies

This new agency, ideally at least as large as the National Science Foundation (NSF), would lead a number of core tasks, including analyzing U.S. industry strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and responding with well-resourced solutions, including support for domestic research and development (R&D) and production partnerships and investment in advanced research facilities.  Such reorganization is difficult, but doing so is critical. NSF and the academic science community play a key role in the advancement of basic science, but that is different than supporting technological innovation and value capture in the United States.

Read more at ITIF

Newest Boeing 737 MAX Makes First Test Flight

The newest version of Boeing’s 737 MAX made its first test flight over Washington state on Friday, just months after the plane returned to service following a worldwide grounding after two fatal crashes.  Boeing currently projects commercial deliveries of the MAX 10 will commence in 2023. Between now and that time, there will be additional test flights, as well as back-and-forth between the company and regulators at the US Federal Aviation Administration.

“The 737-10 is an important part of our customers’ fleet plans, giving them more capacity, greater fuel efficiency and the best per-seat economics of any single-aisle airplane,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Analysts See a Return to $100 Oil—Will Faltering Re-Openings Slow the Rise? 

According to some analysts, oil prices lurching back to $100/barrel is now a distinct possibility.  Both major contracts, Brent and WTI, are now sitting at highs last seen in late 2018, above $70/barrel, and are up between 40% and 45% this year, a clip so rapid it’s contributing to fears of rising inflation.  Medium term, several analysts warned that resurging demand paired with a lack of investment in new production by energy majors under pressure to shift capital away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy—was likely to lead to higher prices.

Not everyone is convinced that $100 oil is an imminent possibility. Per Magnus Nysveen, head of analytics at Rystad Energy in Oslo, argues that predictions of a price spike to $100/barrel are based on the idea of a continual reopening as vaccinations roll out, and adds there is plenty of spare capacity to ramp up production if need be. “We don’t see this happening, because oil demand still has 5 million barrels to go before it goes back to normal,” he said.

Read more at Fortune

First Look at ‘Creators Wanted — Making the Future Immersive Experience ‘

There are now 851,000 job openings in the U.S.  So, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), along with the Manufacturing Institute, is taking their Creatives Wanted program on the road. On June 16, the immersive experience was previewed by executives on NAM’s board.

“The immersive, interactive Creators Wanted experience is truly incredible,” Jay Timmons, CEO of NAM told IndustryWeek. “The pictures only capture part of what is going to be an amazing tool for manufacturers as we open minds and eyes to the possibilities of modern manufacturing.”

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Moderna Plans to Expand Production to Make Covid-19 Vaccine Boosters

Moderna Inc. is adding two new production lines at the rebuilt former Polaroid plant where it manufactures its Covid-19 vaccine, part of a push to prepare for making booster shots and the future of the pandemic. The additions will help Moderna increase overall production capacity by 50% at its plant in the Boston suburb of Norwood, company officials said.

Moderna and its manufacturing partners also are expanding production capacity outside the U.S., with a goal to roughly triple the annual global output of Covid-19 vaccine doses to about 3 billion in 2022 from as many as 1 billion this year. “Our plan and our hope is that, as soon as the U.S. has enough doses, we’re allowed to export so we can help as many countries as we can around the world,” Moderna Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel said.

Read more at the WSJ