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Daily Briefing – 371

Post: Sep. 8, 2021

U.S. Job Openings Rose to a Record 10.9 Million in July

U.S. job openings rose to a fresh record high in July. The number of available positions rose to 10.9 million during the month from an upwardly revised 10.2 million in June, the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, showed Wednesday. 

Employers have offered incentives to attract applicants — like higher wages and one-time bonuses — but the pool of available workers remains constrained by pandemic-related factors. Looking ahead, hiring constraints should ebb as virus fears abate and schools reopen for in-person learning. However, the surge of infections related to the delta variant and its impact on schools and Americans’ general sense of safety in the workplace could delay significant improvement in filling positions.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

889,000 Manufacturing Openings In July: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Of the 10.9 million job openings in the United States in July 889,000 were in the manufacturing sector. Up from 880,000 in June and 402,000 a year ago.  Of the those 481,000 were in durable goods and 408,000 in non durable goods. 

There were a total of 441,000 hires in the sector in July, down from 483,000 in June and up from 362,000 a year ago.  Total separations were 423,000 in July down from 427,000 in June and up from 378,000 a year ago. 

View the JOLTS table at the BLS website

Yellen: US on Track to Default on National Debt in October

In a Wednesday letter, Yellen said that the Treasury Department would run out of cash and extraordinary measures to keep the federal government within its legal borrowing limit some time next month. 

“Given this uncertainty, the Treasury Department is not able to provide a specific estimate of how long the extraordinary measures will last. However, based on our best and most recent information, the most likely outcome is that cash and extraordinary measures will be exhausted during the month of October,” Yellen wrote to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.), Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

Read more at The Hill

Biden Escalates Shutdown Stare-Down with Hurricane Aid, Afghan Plea

The White House asked Congress on Tuesday to include hurricane relief and money for Afghan resettlement in a package to fund the government later this month, upping the ante in the latest shutdown scare.

Those special requests will increase the political pain for any lawmaker planning to oppose the funding patch Congress needs to pass this month to keep government agencies open beyond Sept. 30. Top Democrats have also been flirting with the idea of adding action on the debt limit to that package, a move that would further squeeze Republicans who have pledged zero cooperation as the Treasury Department nears a breaking point on the nation’s borrowing limit.

Read more at Politico

US COVID-19 Update – Covid-19 Testing Is Keeping Some Students in School and Out of Quarantine

Some schools are trying a new plan to keep students safely in the classroom: Rather than quarantining children who have an in-school contact with a positive case, they are testing them. A lot.  The method keeps children in school after exposure to a classmate or teacher who tested positive for Covid-19 if they test negative at least every other day.

Known as test-to-stay, the approach is a higher transmission risk than keeping exposed students at home, but some public-health experts and educators say the trade-off is worth it to avoid missed days in class.

Read more at the WSJ

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Wednesday September 8th:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 68.4 of all New Yorkers – 13,226,742 (plus 21,411 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,400,008 (plus 2,605) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 61.0% of all New Yorkers – 11,869,544 are fully vaccinated (Plus 19,678)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,240,722 (plus 2,583) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Tuesday September 7th.  There were 31 COVID related deaths for a total of 55,805.


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,415.

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 3.34%
  • Mid-Hudson: 3.74%

Useful Websites:

Poll: Number of Workers Saying Employer is Requiring Vaccines Doubled in last Month

Nearly one-fifth of U.S. workers said their employer is requiring staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as of last month, according to a Gallup survey released Wednesday and 55 percent of employees say their companies are encouraging but not requiring vaccinations, down from 62 percent in July. The percentage of employees who say their employer is not taking a stance dropped from 29 percent to 26 percent.

Some of the nation’s largest employers, announced vaccine mandates last month. More companies enacted vaccine requirements after the Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech shot.  Other companies are considering harsher penalties for unvaccinated workers as an alternative to a vaccine mandate. Last month, Delta Air Lines announced that it would enact a $200 monthly surcharge on unvaccinated workers enrolled in the company’s health care plan.

Read more at The Hill

BSK: Employers Activate Your HERO Act Plans!

On Sept. 6, 2021, Gov. Kathy Hochul directed the NYS Commissioner of Health to designate COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health. The designation is official and available on the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) website. 

Now that such a designation has been made, employers are required to implement or “activate” their Plans. The Standard also outlines specific details regarding implementation of the airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans when there is a designated outbreak. This includes immediately reviewing their current plan, updating the plan to incorporate current information, guidance and any mandatory requirements as necessary or appropriate, and finalizing and promptly activating the plan. It also includes a “verbal review” requirement, distribution of the plans, posting a copy of the plan and ensuring that a copy of the plan is accessible to employees during all work shifts. 

Read more at Bond Schoeneck & King

Ethan Allen Workforce Solutions Shares HERO Act Compliance Tips

Through this new designation, all employers must implement workplace safety plans to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The NY HERO Act—signed into law on May 5, 2021—mandated extensive new workplace health and safety protections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the following were created:

  • Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard;
  • Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan; and
  • Various industry-specific model plans (scroll to bottom of page) for airborne infectious disease prevention.

Ethan Allen HERO Act Workplace Safety Plans to Protect Against COVID

Intel to Invest Up to 80 Billion Euros in Boosting EU Chip Capacity

Intel Corp (INTC.O) on Tuesday said it could invest as much as 80 billion euros in Europe over the next decade to boost the region’s chip capacity and will open up its semiconductor plant in Ireland for automakers. CEO Pat Gelsinger, speaking at Munich’s IAA auto show, also said the company would announce the locations of two major new European chip fabrication plants by the end of the year.

There is speculation about possible production sites, with Germany and France seen as leading contenders while Poland, where Intel also has a presence, also in the picture. 

Read more at Reuters

Ida’s Fallout Continues to Cripple U.S. Oil Production

Nearly 80% of U.S. oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico remains offline, almost 10 days after Hurricane Ida tore through Louisiana, as companies struggle to restart offshore platforms. The Gulf of Mexico accounts for about 17% of U.S. oil output, and about 5% of natural gas output. 

Myriad problems are combining to slow the recovery, according to analysts and company representatives. Key ports and airports were knocked offline, slowing the redeployment of staff and equipment. Companies haven’t been able to find enough offshore staff, as workers tend to their families and homes following the storm. Oil and gas processing plants and other key onshore facilities were damaged or remain without electricity, as widespread power outages persist.

Read more at the WSJ

NAM Launches Grassroots “Manufacturers United”

With major policy issues coming to a head this fall in Washington, the National Association of Manufacturers this week launched Manufacturers United—a new digital platform to power the industry’s grassroots advocacy. “What’s at stake, fast facts and useful statistics, how to take action—it’s all there to help individual manufacturers find information and act on it to create an impact.” said NAM Assistant Vice President of Advocacy Michael O’Brien.

Research shows that persistent, sustained advocacy is incredibly important—and that outreach from individual constituents has the most impact, especially when policymakers are undecided on an issue. Manufacturers United unleashes the power of manufacturers who have been interested in advocacy but haven’t known where to start. “

Visit Manufacturers United

Americans Say They’re Now Less Likely to Work Far Into Their 60s

Americans say it’s increasingly unlikely that they’ll work deep into their 60s, according to new data from the New York Federal Reserve. More than 1 million older workers have left the labor market since March 2020. Some Americans have been rethinking their priorities after the trauma of Covid-19 — with a bigger nest egg to fall back on, thanks to exuberant financial markets. For others the withdrawal may be involuntary, driven by a lack of employment prospects. 

The share of respondents expecting to work past the age of 62 dropped to 50.1% in the New York Fed’s July labor-market survey, from 51.9% a year earlier — the lowest on record in a study that’s been conducted since 2014. The numbers saying they’re likely to be employed when they’re older than 67 also dropped, to 32.4% from 34.1%.

Read more at Bloomberg Wealth

Natural Gas Price Climb Continues

The benchmark U.S. natural gas price has nearly doubled over the past year. The front-month Henry Hub contract jumped from $2.406 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) at the beginning of September 2020 to as much as $4.606/MMBtu early on September 2, 2021.  Prices have rallied despite the fact that the biggest gas-producing basin, Appalachia, saw in the first half of 2021 its highest average output since natural gas production in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations started in 2008. 

Overall American dry natural gas production is rising. But it’s not increasing so quickly as to offset surging U.S. gas exports via pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes, which have been setting all-time high records this year. Scorching summer heat waves and low natural gas inventories have also driven natural gas prices higher over the past few months. 

Read more at Oilprice.com

Citing Fatigue American Airlines Pilots Plan Protests

American Airlines pilots are planning to protest work conditions, citing fatigue they say has been caused by their company’s mismanagement. Allied Pilots Association (APA) says there will be protests by pilots for the company at Miami, Dallas and other airports, with the first scheduled for Miami on Oct. 19. 

“As pilots, our job is to transport our passengers as safely and reliably as possible, while American Airlines management’s job is to support those efforts. Unfortunately, management has repeatedly demonstrated its inability to run a reliable airline, and has failed to give us the tools we need to do our jobs,” APA, which represents all 13,400 American Airlines pilots, said in a statement sent out to pilots on Tuesday.

Read more at The Hill