Kathy Hochul to Become Governor at Midnight Aug. 24
When Monday night immediately slips to Tuesday, Kathy Hochul will become New York’s 57th governor. Excelsior.
While Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office, for a fourth straight day, would not publicly say Monday when Cuomo will depart his job, Hochul’s officials said they have now officially been told of the embattled Cuomo’s exit: Monday at 11:59 p.m.
Yellen Writes Letter To Congress Officially Ending Enhanced Unemployment
The end to the program is now officially here, as Yellen penned: “We write on behalf of President Biden with an update on the steps our Departments are taking in advance of the expiration of emergency unemployment insurance (UI) programs on September 6, 2021.” Yellen noted the progress the economy has made in bouncing back, but also cited Delta variant concerns as restricting full rebound in some states where the virus is still not well under control.
Since last year, state unemployment benefits have been supplemented by an extra $300 per week, totaling an extra $1,200 a month, by federal money through the stimulus relief bill. The extra federal boost was an area of contention for the last few months. Over half of the country’s governors decided to end receipt of the benefit for their states months ago. They claimed that small business owners were having difficulty filling open vacancies in their stores and blamed the continued federal supplement as the reason. New York was not among them.
McMahon: NYS Still Lags the Nation In Job Growth
New York managed to tie the nation’s private-sector job growth rate in July—but compared to the U.S. as a whole, the Empire State remains much further below its pre-recession employment level, according to preliminary estimates in today’s monthly jobs report from the state Labor Department.
Measured on a seasonally adjusted basis, there were about 7.5 million workers on private payrolls in New York last month, an increase of 0.6 percent from June. The national private jobs count was up 0.6 percent, to roughly 124.8 million. By historical standards, 0.6 percent in a single month is a very high rate of growth—in New York’s case, higher than recorded in any pre-pandemic month since May 2015. But even if that pace continues, private payrolls in New York State won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until January 2023. By contrast, the U.S. as a whole has been adding private jobs at a pace that will produce a full private-sector employment recovery by early next year.
Hudson Valley Jobs Continue Rebound, Manufacturing Adds 1300 Year on Year
Private sector jobs in the Hudson Valley increased by 54,800 or 7.8 percent, to 761,300 in the 12 months ending July 2021. Gains were largest in leisure and hospitality (+25,500), trade, transportation and utilities (+11,100), educational and health services (+9,500) and professional and business services (+7,200), other services (+2,300),
While the region’s private sector employment has regained a large portion of the jobs lost, it remains 66,700, or 8.1 percent below the pre-pandemic levels of July 2019. Manufacturing gained 1,300 jobs in the 12 month period.
US COVID Update – More Children Are Hospitalized With Covid-19
Hospitals in the South and Midwest say they are treating more children with Covid-19 than ever and are preparing for worse surges to come. Cases there have jumped over the past six weeks as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads primarily among unvaccinated people. That is leading to more sick kids in places where community spread of the variant is high, public-health experts say.
About half of the kids hospitalized recently didn’t have underlying conditions, he said, whereas before Delta most kids who were hospitalized for Covid-19 had other health issues such as asthma or diabetes. He said he suspects the Delta variant likely does cause more severe disease in children than other variants.
NYS Vaccine and COVID Update
Vaccine Stats as of Sunday August 22th:
One Vaccine Dose
- 66.1 of all New Yorkers – 12,744,474 (plus 28,142 from a day earlier)
- In the Hudson Valley 1,350,042 (plus 2,541)
- 59.0% of all New Yorkers – 11,484,103 are fully vaccinated (Plus 19,016)
- In the Hudson Valley – 1,102,991 (plus 1,554) are fully vaccinated.
The Governor updated COVID data through Saturday August 21th. There were 21COVID related deaths for a total of 43,376.
- Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 1,953
Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:
- Statewide 3.14%
- Mid-Hudson: 3.36%
- Read the press release
- Visit the vaccine tracker site
- See the School Districts Dashboard
- See the SUNY Dashboard
- State Vaccine Information Site
The Economist: The World Needs a Proper Investigation Into How COVID-19 Started
China clearly does not want lab-leaks investigated; but that does not mean it knows one happened. It is also being misleading about Huanan market, denying access to early-case data and obfuscating in various other non-lab-leak-specific ways. The most obvious explanation is that it does not really want any definitive answer to the question. An unsanitary market, a reckless bat-catcher or a hapless spelunker would not be as bad in terms of blame as a source in a government laboratory.
But any definite answer to the origin question probably leaves China looking bad, unless it can find a way to blame someone else. To that end China has called for an investigation of Fort Detrick in Maryland, historically the home of American bioweapons research; state media regularly publish speculations about its involvement.
Considering Mandating Vaccines for Employees? What Small Businesses Need to Know
With over half of the American population fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — and potential surges with the Delta variant strain — many employers are strongly encouraging or mandating in-person employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine (if they haven’t already). Contrary to popular belief, it is not a violation of HIPAA or other legislation for employers to require employees to get the vaccine or ask for proof of vaccination. As such, some companies elect to adopt a “vaccinate or terminate” approach.
As a small business owner, there are several options to consider when mandating employee vaccinations.
UPDATE: EEO-1 Reporting Deadline Extended Until October 25, 2021
The EEOC has announced on its EEO-1 Data Collection website that it has, again, extended the deadline for filing EEO-1 Reports this year—this time to October 25. Employers still rushing to finalize and upload their 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 reports by the prior August 23 deadline will certainly welcome this extra breathing room.
But EEOC’s announcement makes clear that there will be no more extensions: “Please note that this new deadline is the FINAL DEADLINE and all eligible filers MUST submit data by this date. No additional changes to the filing deadline will be made.” So it is wise for employers to continue to finalize these reports with urgency.
Stewart Awarded $3.8 Million in Pandemic Funding
New York Stewart International Airport has been awarded over $3.8 million by the FAA through the American Rescue Plan. The money will be used to cover costs incurred due to the pandemic including for sanitization and personal protective equipment.
“Ensuring Stewart has the funding it needs to reboot and expand its operations in the wake of the pandemic is a top priority for me in Washington,” said Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY-18). Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said air travel “is vital to the connectivity and success of the Hudson Valley’s economy, which is why, as we continue to build back better from COVID-19, it is critical that we provide the funding necessary to keep Stewart Airport in Orange County safe and efficient.”
Toyota Slashes Production Amid Supply Chain Challenges
Japan’s top automaker said Thursday that it will cut back production at home by 40 percent, affecting 14 auto assembly plants in the country. In North America, Toyota said it expects August production to be slashed by 60,000 to 90,000 vehicles. A representative from Toyota said that output fluctuates month to month, but that it would equate to a production cut of between 40 and 60 percent.
A shortage of the computer chips used widely in vehicles has been problematic for months as the world appeared to emerge from the pandemic and demand surged. The company said production cuts in North America are not expected to have an impact on staffing levels.
Majority of Employees are Job Searching, Poll Finds
The share of workers thinking of calling it quits could be higher than expected. Some 65% of employees are looking for a new job right now, according to an August poll of 1,007 full- and part-time U.S. workers conducted by PwC. That’s nearly double the 35% of workers who said they were seeking new work in May.
Workers say their top reason for finding a new job is negotiating for a better salary, followed by expanded benefits and more workplace flexibility, such as the ability to work remotely full-time or on a hybrid schedule.
Jobless Claims Reach Post Pandemic Low of 348,000
Initial unemployment claims fell further last week to the lowest level since March 2020, bringing the level of weekly new filings closer to pre-virus levels.
- Initial unemployment claims, week ended August 14: 348,000 vs. 364,000 expected and a revised 377,000 during the prior week.
- Continuing claims, week ended August 7: 2.820 million vs. 2.800 million expected and a revised 2.899 million during the prior week.
The four-week moving average for new claims, which smooths out some volatility in the data, also took a step lower. This came in at 377,750 for a drop of 19,000 from the prior week’s level.
Pelosi says House working to pass infrastructure bills by Oct. 1
In a “Dear Colleague” letter distributed Saturday night, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Saturday that the lower chamber is “hard at work” to pass both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a larger, Democrat-backed spending package by Oct. 1. and that the “Build Back Better” plan laid out by President Biden enjoys “a broad and bipartisan level of public support throughout the country.”
Pelosi stated that the $3.5 trillion price tag for the larger infrastructure package, a legislative priority for the Biden administration, will remain the topline number for the bill. The bill would include child care, home health care, and paid family and medical leave. “This is the number that has been agreed to in the Senate and is now before us in the House. Accordingly, we will write a reconciliation bill with the Senate that is consistent with that topline,” she added.