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Daily Briefing – 372

Post: Sep. 12, 2021

Producer Inflation Accelerated in August to a record 8.3% from a Year Ago

The producer price index rose 0.7% for the month, above the 0.6% Dow Jones estimate, though below the 1% increase in July.  On a year-over-year basis, the gauge rose 8.3%, which is the biggest annual increase since records have been kept going back to November 2010. That came following a 7.8% move higher in July, which also set a record.

Excluding food, energy and trade services, final demand prices increased 0.3% for the month, below the 0.5% Dow Jones estimate. Still, that left core PPI up 6.3% from a year ago, also the largest record increase for data going back to August 2014.

Read more at CNBC

NAM Survey: Manufacturing Optimism Cools from Record Highs – Supply Chain, Labor Force Biggest Concerns

On NAM’s Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the third quarter of 2021, 52% of surveyed companies said their business outlook is “somewhat positive,” while an additional 36% said they are “very positive.” In all, 88% of respondents said conditions are at least somewhat positive, down only slightly from June’s 90.1%.  Based on the results, NAM set its manufacturing outlook index to 58.4%. .

On a list of business challenges, 86.4% of surveyed companies said they were having trouble with increased raw material costs, and more than 90% of respondents said they expected those prices to continue climbing. Eighty percent of companies said they were having trouble attracting and retaining a quality workforce, even as 68.2% said they expected to increase full-time employment. Workforce shortages were seen by 81.5% of respondents as the biggest risk to the current economic outlook. 

Read more at IndustryWeek

The Economist Asks – Will Biden’s Vaccine Mandates Work?

Mr. Biden ordered the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to issue a rule requiring firms with 100 employees or more to mandate vaccinations for their workforces, with weekly testing for those who opt out. OSHA may take time to promulgate its directive, but opponents are already staking out their ground: several Republican governors have vowed to take legal action.

The Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on vaccine requirements. But plaintiffs have sued successfully to scuttle other public-health measures from the Biden administration. In August the Supreme Court invalidated a moratorium on evictions issued by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And in July a federal appeals court rejected restrictions imposed by the CDC on cruise ships. Both rulings demonstrated the willingness of the judiciary to narrow the government’s public-health authority.

Read more at The Economist

New York HERO Act “FAQs” From BSK

New York employers are presently “activating” their HERO Act plans, after the New York State Department of Health (DOH) officially designated COVID-19 as a “highly contagious communicable disease that poses risk to the public health.”

We know that our clients and Bond friends have many urgent questions about “activating” their HERO Act plans, so we have developed these “FAQs” for your reference. Last week, New York issued additional guidance on this subject. Where appropriate, we have referenced this guidance below. 

Read more at Bond Schoeneck and King

US COVID-19 Update –

The US CDC reports 40.5 million cumulative COVID-19 cases and 652,480 deaths. Daily incidence appears to have passed a peak, however, we will have a clearer picture of the longer-term trends next week, once reporting catches up from the holiday. A similar trend is evident for daily mortality as well. At more than 1,000 deaths per day, we expect the US to surpass 660,000 cumulative deaths within the next week or 1 death for every 500 people in the US. 

The US has administered 378 million cumulative vaccines, and daily vaccinations peaked at nearly 830,000 doses per day on August 29.  In light of the new US vaccination mandates announced on September 9, we will closely monitor trends in daily vaccinations for any effects of the mandates. There are 208.3 million individuals who have received at least 1 vaccine dose, equivalent to 62.7% of the entire US population.  A total of 177.4 million individuals are fully vaccinated, which corresponds to 53.4% of the total population. 

Read more at The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Sunday September 12th:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 68.9 of all New Yorkers – 13,357,333 (plus 30,383 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,411,667 (plus 2,176) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 61.5% of all New Yorkers – 11,980,645 are fully vaccinated (Plus 24,403)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,250,758 (plus 2,038) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Saturday September 11th.  There were 29 COVID related deaths for a total of 55,891.


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,367.

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 3.22%
  • Mid-Hudson: 3.67%

Useful Websites:

US Requires Vaccine-or-Test Mandate for Private Employers

Private businesses in the U.S. that employ more than 100 employees will soon have to ensure their workers are fully-vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19. The mandate will come in the form of an emergency temporary standard, or ETS, by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 

The White House didn’t say when the rule will go into effect. Keith Wilkes, a labor and employment partner at national law firm Hall Estill, predicts it won’t take long, “Although the timing of when the ETS requirement will go into effect is not clear, it will likely not be a long wait. The federal government did its legal homework before implementing the same mandate, via executive order, for federal employees in July,” Wilkes wrote in an email.

Read more at EHS Today

Manchin Suggests He May Support a $1T-$1.5T Spending Agenda

Sen. Joe Manchin on Sunday gave an indication of the dollar amount he might support spending on Democrats’ reconciliation bill, as he continued to stand firm against their proposed $3.5 trillion plan.

After being pressed by CNN’s Dana Bash multiple times for the number he’d support in a spending agenda, Manchin (D-W.Va.) responded: “It’s going to be $1, $1.5 [trillion]. We don’t know where it’s going to be. It’s not going to be at $3.5 [trillion], I can assure you.”  Manchin then added a caveat that his number would be $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion only if the reconciliation bill maintains a “globally competitive” tax code, which he said the current $3.5 trillion plan does not.

Read more at Politico

Amazon Will Pay for Bachelor’s Degrees as New Perk in Fight for U.S. Workers

Amazon.com Inc. on Thursday said it is expanding its educational benefits by offering more than 750,000 U.S. hourly employees the chance to enroll in a fully paid bachelor’s degree program after 90 days of employment. The e-commerce giant said employees will be eligible to get degrees through educational institutions nationwide.

Amazon is trying to attract job seekers in a tight labor market and reduce turnover among some hourly workers. The company has hired 400,000 employees during the pandemic, but it is looking to bring on tens of thousands of additional hourly staffers to work in its fulfillment centers and delivery network over the coming months. Employees working as little as 20 hours a week will be eligible for the college benefit, though Amazon will pay 50% of the college costs for part-time staffers. “Career progression is the new minimum wage,” said Ardine Williams, a vice president of workforce development at Amazon, who notes employer-funded training can help people prepare for a career that interests them. “Most adult learners don’t have the luxury of quitting their jobs and going to school full-time.”

Read more at the WSJ

WHO: Wealthy Nations Prolonging Pandemic by Hoarding Treatments, Vaccines

The World Health Organization (WHO) blasted wealthy nations last week, saying they are prolonging the pandemic by hoarding treatments and vaccines for the coronavirus.

The WHO has for months been calling on wealthy nations to give poorer countries more vaccine doses and to pause booster shots until poorer countries are able to vaccinate more individuals.  Countries in Africa and other parts of the world have struggled to get even 5 percent of their populations vaccinated while wealthier countries have begun administering booster shots for those who have already been fully

Read more at The Hill

COVAX Vaccine 2021 Delivery Target Cut to 1.425 Billion Doses

COVAX, a sharing scheme to get vaccines to mostly poor countries, said it would deliver about a quarter fewer covid-19 jabs than anticipated this year. India’s export restrictions, manufacturing snags and regulatory delays for unapproved shots are to blame. COVAX is now set to release about 1.4bn doses for delivery in 2021—short of its target of 2bn

Read more at Reuters

Unemployment Taxes on Employers Poised to Increase to Repay $9B Owed to Federal Government

The historic surge in unemployment claims at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly depleted the New York State Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund, resulting in the state borrowing from the federal government to pay claims. State UI tax rates have already risen to the highest level permissible under law in 2021. Unless the state or federal government takes significant action, federal UI tax rates on employers will also increase in 2022 and beyond, according to a report issued by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

Read the report at the Comptrollers website

Commerce Secretary Raimondo to Challenge Business Lobby on Biden Tax Increases

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will challenge business-community complaints about tax increases included in President Joe Biden’s proposed social-spending package, urging in a speech Thursday that companies should instead support his economic agenda.

“Secretary Raimondo correctly notes that ‘too many Americans feel like they’ve been left behind,’ but returning to archaic tax policies of the past would set Americans back even further,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Manufacturers kept their promises to raise wages and invest in their communities after the 2017 tax reform law. Why would anyone want to undo that progress?  The proposed tax increases would result in 1 million job losses in just the first two years. 

Read more at NAM

US Companies Warn Ida Latest Supply Chain Hit

Outages from Hurricane Ida are exacerbating shortages of raw materials, prompting fresh warnings Wednesday from large U.S. companies saying supply chain problems will hinder sales.

Paint company Sherwin-Williams cited Hurricane Ida when cutting its third-quarter sales forecast after previously projecting a recovery from the supply woes amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “We continue to see strong demand,” Chief Executive John Morikis said in the statement. “However, persistent and industry-wide raw material availability issues have not improved as anticipated, impacting our ability to fully meet the strong demand.” Morikis added company would impose a “four percent surcharge”  to offset higher raw materials, transportation and labor costs.

Read more at IndustryWeek

U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Near 18-Month Low

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 35,000 to a seasonally adjusted 310,000 for the week ended Sept. 4, the Labor Department said on Thursday as employers hold onto workers despite the Delta variant of Covid-19.

Continuing claims, which run a week behind the headline number, dropped as well, falling to 2.78 million, a decrease of 22,000 from the previous week That also is the lowest level since March 14, 2020. The four-week moving average for continuing claims dropped to 2.84 million.

Read more at Reuters

Next Up…. The Mu Variant 

One of the newest variants of COVID-19, known as Mu, has spread to 42 countries, but early studies suggest that it is less easily transmitted than the dangerous Delta variant, which has triggered a resurgence of the pandemic in the U.S. and many other countries.

Scientists believe that the new variant cannot compete with the Delta variant, which is highly contagious. “Whether it could have gone higher or not if there was no Delta, that’s hard to really say,” says Alex Bolze, a geneticist at the genomics company Helix.

Read more at Nat Geo