Daily Briefing – 329

Wage Gains at Manufacturers Fall Behind Growth in Fast Food

Pay for factory jobs has grown so slowly in the U.S. that manufacturers are having trouble competing with fast-food restaurants. For years, factory jobs paid significantly more than those in many other fields, especially for less-educated workers. That is changing, according to economists, manufacturers and federal data.

Since the start of 2020, jobs in many industries including restaurants and retail have posted their highest-ever hourly wages relative to wages in manufacturing, according to an analysis of federal data by The Wall Street Journal. The $23.41 that hourly factory workers made on average in April is 27% more than average pay for retail workers, according to the Labor Department, down from a 40% premium for factory workers 10 years ago. Factory work pays 56% more than restaurant and fast-food jobs, the data shows, down from 83% a decade ago. 

Read more at the WSJ

Three Plead Guilty in Orange County IDA Corruption Probe

A four-month investigation into potential corruption at the Orange County Industrial Development Agency burst into public view on Monday with three people pleading guilty. The are the agency’s former managing director, Vincent Cozzolino, its former CEO, Laurie Villasuso, and Edward Diana, a three-term county executive who served on the IDA’s oversight board for the last six years. 

At a press conference after the pleas played out over more than two hours before Judge Robert Prisco, District Attorney David Hoovler, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and others laid out what they described as a scheme of self-enrichment, facilitated by an IDA board and attorney that paid no attention.

Read more at the Times Herald Record

Economy Is Showing Sustained Progress, Powell Says

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in testimony prepared for delivery to Congress this week that the economy is growing but faces continued threats from the coronavirus pandemic. As the economy recovers from the pandemic, he also pledged continued support from policies the Fed put into place in the early days of the Covid-19 threat.

One worry is that inflation is rising at its fastest pace since the financial crisis and might force the Fed into raising interest rates faster than it wants. Powell said price pressures have increased “notably,” but repeated his belief that after special factors ease, inflation will drift back to the Fed’s longer-term 2% target.

Read more at CNBC

Some New York Mass Vaccination Sites will Downscale as the State Shifts Resources 

The State announced that \, given the statewide progress on vaccinations, certain State-run mass vaccination sites will begin to downscale and shift their resources for localized vaccination efforts. Over the course of weeks and months, a number of sites will downscale based on demand, proximity to other vaccination sites, and other locally-focused efforts. The transition reflects the State’s plan to focus resources on areas where zip code data shows the vaccination rate is lower than the statewide average.

Read more at Spectrum News

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

Vaccine Stats as of Tuesday morning:

One Vaccine Dose

  • 59.0% of all New Yorkers – 11,346,058 (plus 21,525 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,206,684 (plus 2,274) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 52.2% of all New Yorkers – 10,172,453 are fully vaccinated (Plus 26,342)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,077,296 (plus 2,663) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday June 21st.   There were 8 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,936. 


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 486

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.36%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.34%

Useful Websites:

US COVID Update – CDC Study: Vaccination Coverage and Intent Among Adults – Income, Education and Ethnicity Main Factors

Overall, 34% of adults aged 18–39 years reported having received a COVID-19 vaccine. Adults aged 18–24 years, as well as non-Hispanic Black adults and those with less education, no insurance, and lower household incomes, had the lowest reported vaccination coverage and intent to get vaccinated. Concerns about vaccine safety and effectiveness were commonly cited barriers to vaccination.

Among persons who were unsure about getting vaccinated or probably going to get vaccinated and those who were probably or definitely not going to get vaccinated, the most frequently reported trusted information sources were CDC (44.5% and 22.7%, respectively) and primary health care providers (39.0% and 23.1%, respectively), whereas employers (4.3% and 3.0%, respectively), social media (4.2% and 3.4%, respectively), and religious organizations (2.5% and 5.2%, respectively) were the least frequently reported sources.

Read more at the CDC

US to Fall Short of Global COVID-19 Vaccine Sharing Goal

President Joe Biden is expected to fall short of his commitment to shipping 80 million COVID-19 vaccine doses abroad by the end of June because of regulatory and other hurdles. Officials said that while the U.S.-produced doses are ready, deliveries have been delayed due to U.S. and recipient legal, logistical and regulatory requirements. 

The White House announced the final allocations for the doses, with 60 million shots going to the global COVAX vaccine sharing alliance and 20 million being directed to specific partners. But fewer than 10 million doses have been shipped around the world, including 2.5 million doses delivered to Taiwan over the weekend, and about 1 million doses delivered to Mexico, Canada and South Korea earlier this month.

Read more at Fortune

More Than 80 million People, a Record Number, Have Health Coverage Through Medicaid and CHIP

Almost 10 million Americans enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), according to data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Monday afternoon.

CMS found that enrollments increased by nearly 14% from February 2020, which the PHE was declared, through January 2021. The total enrollment for both Medicaid and CHIP programs topped 80.5 million people by the end of January, including more than 38.3 million children. 

Read more at Health Leaders

Supply Crunch Risks Extending Into 2022, Stoking Inflation

Economists and business executives now say those supply-chain disruptions, key labor shortages and resurgent demand driven by multiple rounds of fiscal stimulus will persist through the end of the year, if not longer.  

The squeeze on U.S. businesses shows little sign of letting up, particularly in the manufacturing sector.  The pace of manufacturing production and hiring slowed in May from the prior month even though new orders and order backlogs accelerated, according to the May Purchasing Managers Index published by the Institute for Supply Management.

Read more in the WSJ 

Pending Legislation Would Revamp Strategic National Stockpile

US Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) on June 8 unveiled the bipartisan Strengthening America’s Strategic National Stockpile Act of 2021, S. 1974, which would amend the Public Health Service Act to improve the SNS. US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) on May 28 introduced the companion bill, H.R. 3635, in her chamber with 15 original cosponsors.

Maintained by the United States government, the SNS is the nation’s repository of antibiotics, vaccines, chemical antidotes, antitoxins, medical countermeasures, and other critical medical supplies. The role of the SNS is to supplement state and local medical supplies and equipment during public health emergencies when the immediate supply of these materials may not be available or sufficient, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  The proposed  legislation would overhaul the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), expand domestic manufacturing of medical supplies and improve America’s preparedness for public health emergencies. 

Read more at Homeland Preparedness News

Exxon Prepares to Cull U.S. White-Collar Ranks Through Performance Reviews

Exxon Mobil Corp. is preparing to reduce headcount at its U.S. offices by between 5% and 10% annually for the next three to five years by using its performance-evaluation system to suss out low performers, according to people familiar with the matter. Exxon had 72,000 employees globally at the end of last year, of which 40% worked in the U.S..

The cuts will target the lowest-rated employees relative to peers, and for that reason will not be characterized as layoffs, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public. While such workers are typically put on a so-called performance improvement plan, many are expected to eventually leave on their own. This year’s evaluation is happening now but affected employees have not yet been notified, the people said.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

Survey: Employees Lax Cybersecurity Habits Major Concern

A third of employees picked up bad cyber security behaviors while working from home, according to Tessian’s Back to Work Security Behaviors report. Most employers are wary that the post-pandemic hybrid workforce would bring those bad cybersecurity behaviors to the office.

More than half (56%) of employers believed that employees had picked bad security practices while working remotely. Similarly, nearly two-fifths (39%) of employees also admitted that their employee behaviors differed significantly while working from home compared to the office.

Read more at CPO Magazine

Hudson Valley Unemployment Rates

The May 2021 unemployment rate for the Hudson Valley Region is 4.6 percent.  That is down from 5.2 percent in April 2021 and down from 12.2 percent in May 2020.  In May 2021, there were 51,300 unemployed in the region, down from 58,000 in April 2021 and down from 135,000 in May 2020.  Year-over-year in May 2021, labor force increased by 3,300 or 0.3 percent, to 1,108,800.

Below are the County rates for May 2021.

  • Putnam County 4.2 percent
  • Rockland County 4.3 percent
  • Dutchess County 4.4 percent
  • Ulster County 4.6 percent
  • Orange County 4.7 percent
  • Westchester County 4.8 percent
  • Sullivan County 5.1 percent

County Unemployment Rate Rank