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Daily Briefing – 340

Post: Jul. 13, 2021

CPI June – 5.4 Percent,  Core CPI – 4.5%

Inflation surged in June at its fastest pace in nearly 13 years amid a burst in used vehicle costs and price increases in food and energy. The consumer price index increased 5.4% from a year earlier, the largest jump since August 2008, just before the worst of the financial crisis. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting a 5% gain.

Stripping out volatile food and energy prices, the core CPI rose 4.5%, the sharpest move for that measure since September 1991 and well above the estimate of 3.8%.

Read more at CNBC

Inflation Wipes Out Wage Gains

A separate report from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that the big monthly hike in consumer prices translated into negative real wages for workers. Real average hourly earnings fell 0.5% for the month, as a 0.3% increase in average hourly earnings was more than negated by the CPI increase.

Inflation has been escalating due to several factors, including supply-chain bottlenecks, extraordinarily high demand as the Covid-19 pandemic eases and year-over-year comparisons to a time when the economy was struggling to reopen in the early months of the crisis.

Read more at Yahoo News

Clues to Covid-19’s Origins Include Anonymous Skin Sample in Italy

Members of a World Health Organization-led team studying the origins of the virus want to investigate the case of a 25-year-old Milan resident who in November 2019 visited a hospital with a sore throat and skin lesions: symptoms of a disease that wouldn’t be discovered in the city of Wuhan in China for another month. She left behind a skin sample, smaller than a dime, that in two tests conducted more than six months later yielded traces of the Covid-19 virus, according to research published in January by the British Journal of Dermatology.

Examining earlier suspected cases could help establish a timeline of the virus’s early spread, scientists say. If genetic material can be recovered, they say it could help them determine how the earliest cases might be related.

Read more at the WSJ

China Exports Accelerate, Defying Expectations

China’s exports increased 32.2% from a year earlier in dollar terms, accelerating from a 27.9% gain in May, data from the General Administration of Customs showed Tuesday. The reading was far stronger than the 23.2% growth forecast by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal, defying concerns that China’s post-Covid export boom was coming to an end.

Lockdown measures introduced in late May to tame a flare-up in Covid-19 cases in the southern province of Guangdong, an economic and export stronghold, had economists worried about a prolonged impact on trade in Shenzhen’s Yantian port, one of the world’s busiest. Tuesday’s data, however, have allayed some economists’ concerns. 

Read more at the WSJ

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – One Reported Death Saturday

Vaccine Stats as of  Tuesday morning:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 61.1% of all New Yorkers – 11,748,517 (plus 17,051 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,246,645 (plus 1,938) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 55.4% of all New Yorkers – 10,783,225 are fully vaccinated (Plus 19,165)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,132,310 (plus2,033) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday July 12th.   There were 6 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,017.


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 349

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.93%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.81%

Useful Websites:

US COVID Update – Fully Vaccinated People who Get Covid Delta Infections are Asymptomatic, WHO

People who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are still getting infected with the delta variant, but global health officials said the shots have protected most people from getting severely sick or dying.

In the U.S., officials have said virtually all recent Covid hospitalizations and deaths were occurring among unvaccinated people. Breakthrough infections are rare, and about 75% of the people who die or are hospitalized with Covid after vaccination are over the age of 65, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read More at CNBC

Fauci Predicts Vaccines Will Get full FDA Approval

Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that the FDA giving Covid vaccines full approval is “only a technical issue” and that the hundreds of millions of people across the world who have been vaccinated serve as evidence that “the effectiveness and the safety of the vaccines are very high.”

“There’s no doubt in my mind that these vaccines are going to get full approval because of the extraordinary amount of positive data,” he said.

Read more at Politico

CDC Simulation Study: Portable Air Cleaners and Masking Greatly Reduce Indoor Exposure to SARS-Cov-2 Aerosols 

Portable HEPA air cleaners significantly reduce exposure to simulated SARS-CoV-2 aerosols in indoor environments, especially when combined with universal masking.

A simulated infected meeting participant who was exhaling aerosols was placed in a room with two simulated uninfected participants and a simulated uninfected speaker. Using two HEPA air cleaners close to the aerosol source reduced the aerosol exposure of the uninfected participants and speaker by up to 65%. A combination of HEPA air cleaners and universal masking reduced exposure by up to 90%. 

Read more at the CDC

Indonesia Sees Rapid Rise in Cases

South-East Asia is swimming in covid-19. For much of 2020, it had far fewer cases than Europe and North America. But low vaccination rates, limited testing, and more transmissible variants have changed that. Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam are continually breaking their own records for daily cases.

In absolute terms Indonesia is the worst off, with the most cases in Asia after India. The daily number of new infections—probably an undercount—has grown eight-fold over the past month. The health-care system is drowning. Over the past five weeks, the number of hospital patients has more than trebled to around 81,000. Oxygen supplies are dangerously low. Overwhelmed doctors are being forced to choose which patients will receive care.

Read more at The Economist

EIA Sees US Natural Exports Falling in 2022

The EIA has broken with the ranks of most gas market analysts with a prediction that U.S. LNG exports will fall in 2022. EIA’s prediction of a year-over-year drop from a record 9.38 bcf/d in 2021 to 9.22 bcf/d would be the first decline since 2013. The forecast comes despite the likely addition of new U.S. export capacity.

The agency also projected dry gas production will rise to 92.18 bcfd in 2021 and 93.93 bcfd in 2022 from 91.35 bcfd in 2020. That compared with an record 93.06 bcfd in 2019.  Projected gas consumption would fall to 82.85 bcfd in 2021 and 2022 from 83.25 bcfd in 2020. That compares with a record 85.15 bcfd in 2019.

Read more at Reuters

Amazon Offers $3,000 Bonuses to Recruit Workers for its Orange County Warehouse

Amazon is so pressed for workers to staff the giant warehouse it just built near Stewart Airport in the town of Montgomery that it’s offering $3,000 sign-up bonuses for recruits who start before Aug. 1 and agree to work certain shifts.

The hefty incentives reflect the collision of Amazon’s rapid expansion across the U.S. with a tight labor market. The $3,000 bonuses Amazon advertised in its May 18 job posting appeared to be unusually high for the company, which has dangled $1,000 incentives but no higher in job listings for other facilities in New York and New Jersey. Job seekers also are being offered separate bonuses of $100 at the Montgomery warehouse and other locations if they’re vaccinated against COVID-19.

Read more at the Times Herald Record

McDonald’s Enhances Pay, Benefits to Attract Employees

McDonald’s is helping its US franchisees boost recruitment efforts by supporting an employee program that offers employees higher wages, tuition payments, emergency child care and paid time off. An internal presentation about the new program said it’s designed to “fundamentally change what it means to work at a McDonald’s restaurant.”

Read more at Fox Business

Striking Volvo Workers Reject a Third Tentative Agreement

In a statement released July 12, Volvo Trucks USA said it would resume production anyway at its New River Valley truck assembly plant in Dublin, Virginia under the terms of the new agreement, which was rejected by 60% of voting workers. The UAW represents 2,900 workers at the 3,300-employee plant.

While the United Auto Workers said both the strike and negotiations would continue after the failure of the third contract July 9, workers at the factory are currently set to vote a second time on the third contract July 14, which Volvo now says is its best and final offer. NRV General Manager Franky Marchand defended the latest tentative agreement, saying it “delivered significant wage gains and first-class benefits for our employees” 

Read more at IndustryWeek