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Daily Briefing – 386

Post: Oct. 5, 2021

Yellen Sees Inflation Staying Higher for the Next Several Months

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen cautioned Tuesday that inflationary pressures hitting the U.S. economy could last for a while. “Supply bottlenecks have developed that have caused inflation,” she said during a live “Squawk Box” interview. “I believe that they’re transitory, but that doesn’t mean they’ll go away over the next several months.”

Coming less than a week after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell called inflation “frustrating,” Yellen told CNBC that the various issues that have colluded to push up prices likely will pass though she’s not sure how long that will take. Fed officials often use the word “transitory” to describe the current run that has inflation running at a 3.6% year-over-year rate, a 30-year high, according to their preferred gauge. Other measures of inflation, such as the consumer price index, are registering considerably higher, and some economists believe the Fed is understating the durability of inflation.

Read more at CNBC

OPEC Decides Against Big Output Boost, Pushing Oil Prices to Seven-Year High

OPEC and a Russia-led group of oil producers agreed to continue increasing production in measured steps, delegates said Monday, deciding against opening the taps more widely, and driving U.S. crude prices to their highest levels since 2014. Climbing oil prices recently had analysts and economists expecting OPEC and its Russia-led allies to lift production more significantly.

Instead, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia said the group, which calls itself OPEC+, would lift its collective output by 400,000 barrels a day in monthly installments, part of a previously agreed plan to return output to pre-Covid-19 levels. West Texas Intermediate, the main U.S. oil price, rose 2.3% to close at $77.62 a barrel. Brent, the international gauge, added 2.5% to end at $81.26, its highest settling price in three years.

Read more at the WSJ

Manchin Breaks with Party Leaders Over Strategy on Debt Ceiling and Biden’s Economic Package

The West Virginia Democrat, who holds a pivotal vote in the 50-50 Senate, indicated to CNN that he disagrees with the strategy top Democrats are pursuing in the standoff with Republicans over raising the national debt limit. Manchin said that Democrats “shouldn’t rule out anything,” including a budget process that Democratic leaders have made clear they will not employ.

Speaking to reporters, Manchin also would not commit to the new timeline set by party leaders to find a deal on the social safety net expansion by October 31. On Tuesday, however, he signaled he is open to a budget reconciliation bill in the ballpark of $1.9 trillion to $2.2 trillion, above the limit he set just last week of $1.5 trillion.

Read more at CNN

Democrats Face Tough Choices on Trimming Spending Package

There are several ways that Democrats could go about cutting down the size of their plan, from shortening the duration of spending programs and excluding others to cutting back the availability of various priorities and making some less generous. Each approach, however, comes with drawbacks for the party.

Economic policy experts say Democrats are likely to take more than one approach to trimming the size of their spending package.  “I think a combination is likely what we see at the end of the day,” said Zach Moller, director of the economic program at the center-left think tank Third Way.

Read more at The Hill

US COVID-19 Update – Rate of Vaccination Rising

The US CDC reports 43.6 million cumulative COVID-19 cases and 700,176 deaths. Daily incidence continues to decline, down to approximately 103,000 new cases per day, which is the lowest average since early August. Daily mortality appears to have passed a peak and started to decline; however, the trend has not been consistent. The average daily mortality declined from a peak of 1,744 deaths per day on September 15 to 1,460 on September 28 before jumping back up to nearly 1,500 on September 29.

The US has administered 397 million cumulative doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. The daily vaccination trend increased over the past several days, up from fewer than 600,000 doses per day on September 23 to more than 750,000 on September 29—a 25% increase over that period. Even with expected delays in reporting, it appears that the average is poised to continue increasing. The averages for September 30 and October 1 are already more than 784,000 and 777,000, respectively. 

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Tuesday October 5th:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 71.9 of all New Yorkers – 13,935,676 (plus 13,800 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,461,906 (plus 1,448) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 64.2% of all New Yorkers – 12,494,553 are fully vaccinated (Plus 15,336)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,297,460 (plus 1,421) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday October 4th.  There were 38 COVID related deaths for a total of 56,978.


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,231.

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 2.34%
  • Mid-Hudson: 2.20%

Useful Websites:

AstraZeneca Submits Preventive Covid-19 Treatment to FDA

 AstraZeneca said Tuesday it has asked U.S. regulators for emergency-use authorization for an antibody drug that earlier this year showed strong efficacy in preventing symptomatic Covid-19, offering a potential alternative in evading the disease.

AstraZeneca executives and the principal trial investigator said in August the primary target for the antibody will be people who take Covid-19 vaccines but don’t get the hoped-for immune boost because of these preconditions. It could also be used by people who have been advised not to take the vaccine—for instance, those at risk of allergic reactions—or as an extra precaution for fully vaccinated people.

Read more at the WSJ

FDA to Hold Advisory Committee Meetings to Discuss EUA for Booster Doses and Vaccines for Younger Children

The Food and Drug Administration is announcing two upcoming meetings of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) to discuss newly available data for the currently available COVID-19 vaccines. On Oct. 14, the committee will discuss an amendment to the emergency use authorization of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine for the administration of a booster dose, in individuals 18 years of age and older.

On Oct. 15, the VRBPAC will discuss amending the emergency use authorization of Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine for the administration of a booster dose, in individuals 18 years of age and older. Additionally, on Oct. 15, the committee will hear a presentation from the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on the heterologous use of booster doses following the primary series of the three currently authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines.

Read more at the FDA

Henry Hub Seen Following Euro Prices Higher as Natural Gas Futures Surge Above $6 Early

Natural gas futures advanced in early trading Tuesday, leading analysts to look to European price trends as the catalyst amid signs of a loosening supply/demand balance domestically. The November Nymex contract had surged 28.4 cents higher to $6.050/MMBtu as of around 8:50 a.m. ET.

“We continue to view two paths U.S. natural gas prices can take,” NatGasWeather said. “One path is lower due to exceptionally bearish U.S. weather patterns and improving U.S. supplies versus the five-year average. The other path is higher as U.S. prices piggy-back on spiking global prices.”

Read more at Natural Gas Intel

IMF Trims 2021 GDP Forecast

The International Monetary Fund expects global economic growth in 2021 to fall slightly below its July forecast of 6%, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said on Tuesday, citing risks associated with debt, inflation and divergent economic trends in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States and China remained vital engines of growth, and Italy and Europe were showing increased momentum, but growth was worsening elsewhere, Georgieva said.

Inflation pressures, a key risk factor, were expected to subside in most countries in 2022 but would continue to affect some emerging and developing economies, she said, warning that a sustained increase in inflation expectations could cause a rapid rise in interest rates and tighter financial conditions.

Read more at Reuters

Task Force Issues Federal Contractor COVID-19 Safety Protocol Guidance

Executive Order 14042 generally requires federal agencies and executive departments to ensure that covered contracts and contract-like instruments include a clause that requires covered contractors (and subcontractors) to comply with COVID-19 safety protocol guidance published by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, including as it may be updated in the future.  Specifically, the guidance requires: 

  • COVID-19 vaccination of covered contractor employees, except in limited circumstances where an employee is legally entitled to an accommodation;
  • Compliance by individuals, including covered contractor employees and visitors, with the guidance related to masking and physical distancing while in covered contractor workplaces; and 
  • Designation by covered contractors of a person or persons to coordinate COVID-19 workplace safety efforts at covered contractor workplaces. 

Read more at Bond Schoeneck and King

PMI: European Business Growth Hurt by Supply Issues, Pricing in Sept

Business growth across Europe remained strong last month but elevated inflationary pressures put a dent in demand while ongoing supply issues constrained activity, issues which are likely to continue, a survey showed on Tuesday. On Friday, a euro zone manufacturing PMI showed growth remained robust in September but activity suffered from supply chain bottlenecks, and the bloc’s dominant service industry also saw the pace of expansion slow.

IHS Markit’s final composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), seen as a good guide to economic health, sank to 56.2 last month from August’s 59.0, although still well above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction and just above a 56.1 “flash” estimate.

Read more at Reuters

Port Jervis Train Station Upgrades Complete

The new Port Jervis train station has been completed, bringing the facility at the beginning of the Metro-North line up to modern standards.

Metro-North Railroad President Cathy Rinaldi said the project includes several new amenities. “It is a high-level platform. It is fully ADA accessible. There is a shelter with absolutely beautiful artwork that commemorates the history of Port Jervis. There are LCD screens. There are all of the amenities that are part of our new station standards,” she said.

Read more at Mid Hudson News

“Transferable Velocity” How Companies Can Enhance Recruiting Through Upskilling

As people look at changing careers and exploring new paths to success, it’s critical for HR managers and outsourced recruiters to look beyond the resume. We need to take concepts such as “transferable velocity” into serious consideration to bridge the staffing gap and tap into otherwise unexplored talent.

“Transferable velocity” refers to an employer’s understanding of both the apparent and not-so-obvious career trajectory of a candidate. When trying to evaluate a candidate’s transferable velocity, it is best to consider the candidate’s entire story, where they are likely to go next, or at least where they appear to have the potential to go. In contrast, reviewing someone’s resume alone provides a hiring manager with a very narrow view of the candidate.

Read more at Training Magazine

Excelsior Pass Will Validate Passes Based on Federal and State COVID-19 Guidance

Governor Hochul yesterday announced New York State’s Excelsior Pass Scanner app—the free companion app for businesses—has been updated to enable the validation of SMART Health Cards from trusted issuers outside of New York State based on federal and state COVID-19 guidance. The app’s new validation system supports the standards and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination credentials between issuers nationwide, helping more people safely return to work, school, entertainment, and travel. The app can be downloaded for free by any business or venue in the United States.

To date, more than 5.6 million Excelsior Passes, including over 800,000 Excelsior Passes Plus, have been issued since New York State launched the first-in-the-nation, voluntary platform. The Excelsior Pass platform currently offers proof of COVID-19 vaccination and/or negative test results through three different Excelsior Pass options, as well as a digital copy of an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination record and/or negative test results through three different Excelsior Pass Plus options. 

Read the press release