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Daily Briefing – 396

Post: Oct. 24, 2021

Pelosi on Spending Bill: ‘I Think We Are Pretty Much There Now’

Speaker Pelosi  indicated on Sunday that Democrats would reach an agreement this week on President Biden’s social spending bill. “I think we are pretty much there now,” Pelosi said when asked if an agreement would be reached before the president leaves for Europe on Friday. Progressives’ optimism for seismic social change has dwindled this week as lawmakers stare down a stagnant Congress and increasingly impatient White House.

Pelosi also said that the scaled-back plan is still set for an Oct. 31 vote, when federal highway funding expires. “Because the bill is not written yet, we hope it will be written today (Sunday) and introduced tomorrow, only then can the joint tax committee evaluate what it brings in,” Pelosi noted of plans to fund the new plan.  

Read more at The Hill

Private Sector Job Growth Up by 3.6 Percent in Hudson Valley – Mfg Adds 1,100 Jobs

Private sector jobs in the Hudson Valley grew over the year in September by 3.6 percent, the State Labor Department reported on Thursday.

Gains were the greatest in leisure and hospitality, at 13,800; professional and business services, at 5,900; trade, transportation and utilities, at 5,200; education and health services, at 3,200; manufacturing, at 1,100; other services, 600; and information, at 400. Losses were centered in financial activities, at 2,400; and natural resources, mining and construction, at 1,900.

China Locks Down Thousands Amid New COVID Outbreak

China locked down a county that has seen the most Covid-19 cases. Ejin, a county in northwestern China’s Inner Mongolia, has asked its 35,700 residents to stay home from Monday and warned of civil and criminal liabilities should anyone disobey the order.

The lockdown came a day after a warning from National Health Commission officials that the outbreak would continue to worsen after spreading to 11 provinces in about a week. China reported 38 Covid infections on Monday, half of which were found in Inner Mongolia. The capital Beijing — which has seen a dozen new cases traced back to the northwest — has all but banned entry by people arriving from anyplace in the country that’s reported having local Covid cases. 

Read more at Bloomberg

Unions at GE, Boeing, Textron Push Back on Vaccine Mandates

The nationwide push by governments and employers to mandate vaccination against the COVID-19 pandemic is receiving pushback from union representatives at aviation companies and other manufacturers. In the past few days, the International Union of Electricians (IUE-CWA) charged Electric Co.’s mandate with the National Labor Relations Board, and a district president at the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) has hired a lawyer to fight mandates at Spirit Aerosystems Inc. and Textron Aviation. Union statements are often ambivalent about the vaccine itself. “I don’t care if you’re vaccinated or you’re not vaccinated. This is not about vaccination,” as President of IAMAW District Lodge 70 Cornell Beard put it in a video statement. 

The key part of the mandate for many of the union rebuttals is workers’ right to apply for an exemption to vaccine requirements on disability-related or religious grounds, as well as what may happen to employees who are let go for their refusal to receive a vaccine.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Colin Powell’s Leadership Legacy

If you are a leader who came of age in the past 2 decades I’ll bet that at some point, somebody introduced you to General Colin Powell’s 13 rules of effective leadership.  Powell, who died Monday at age 84, had a compelling and complicated legacy: first Black officer to be a four-star general commanding troops, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and eventually Secretary of State during President George W. Bush’s first term.

For many, of course, his biggest legacy was the way he pushed inaccurate intelligence in support of the invasion of Iraq. For others, however, he’s likely to be remembered as much for his oft-repeated 13 rules as for his accomplishments and controversies. 

Read the rules and remember the man

U.S. COVID Update – Unvaccinated 11 Times More Likely to Die From a COVID Infection Than Vaccinated

The US CDC reports 45.07 million cumulative COVID-19 cases and 728,125 deaths. The current daily incidence average is approximately 75,988 new cases per day and appears to be decreasing. Daily mortality reached a recent low of 1,206 on October 17 but appears to be rising, up to 1,256 on October 19.  In August, unvaccinated individuals were about 6 times more likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 and 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than those who were fully vaccinated. Notably, the COVID-19 case and death rates were slightly higher among J&J-Janssen vaccine recipients, followed by Pfizer-BioNTech recipients, and then Moderna. 

The US has administered 410 million cumulative. The daily vaccination trend rose briefly following authorization of booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for some populations on September 22 but continues to decline after a recent peak on October 1. A similar increase in the daily vaccination trend could occur in the coming months as booster doses likely will be made available for millions more people. There are 219.4 million individuals who have received at least 1 vaccine dose, equivalent to 66.1% of the entire US population.  A total of 189.7 million individuals are fully vaccinated, which corresponds to 57.1% of the total population. 

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Sunday October 24th:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 73.5 of all New Yorkers – 14,218,305 (plus 11,6871 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,487,785 (plus 692) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 66.1% of all New Yorkers – 12,843,436 (plus 14,198).
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,326,170 (plus 816). 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Saturday October 23th.  There were 32 COVID related deaths for a total of 57,617.


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,007.

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 2.12%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.95%

Useful Websites:

CDC Expands Eligibility for COVID-19 Booster Shots

Last week CDC Director  Walensky endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation for a booster shot of COVID-19 vaccines in certain populations. For individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series:

  • 65 years and older
  • Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
  • Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions
  • Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings
  • For the nearly 15 million people who got the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.

Read more at the CDC

IHS Markit Survey: U.S. Business Activity Accelerates in October, Shortages Hamper Manufacturing 

Data firm IHS Markit said on Friday its flash U.S. Composite PMI Output Index, which tracks the manufacturing and services sectors, rebounded to a reading of 57.3 in the first half of this month from 55.0 in September. The pick up in business activity this month was driven by the services sector. The IHS Markit survey’s flash services sector PMI rebounded to a reading of 58.2 from 54.9 in September.

With supply constraints showing no signs of abating, services businesses reported paying higher prices for inputs, supporting views that inflation was probably not as transitory as has been argued by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.  Raw material shortages restrained manufacturing activity this month. The survey’s flash manufacturing PMI fell to a seven-month low of 59.2 from a reading of 60.7 in September. Economists had forecast the index for the sector, which accounts for 12% of the economy, dipping to 60.3. 

Read more at Yahoo Finance

DiNapoli: State Tax Receipts Exceed Initial Projections By $7.2 Billion Through First Six Months

State tax receipts in State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2021-22 exceeded the Enacted Budget Financial Plan forecast (May estimates) by $7.2 billion through the end of September, according to the monthly State Cash Report released by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Tax receipts through September totaled $52.9 billion, bolstered by collections from the higher tax rates included in the SFY 2021-22 Enacted State Budget. Personal Income Tax (PIT) receipts totaled $35.8 billion and were $8.9 billion greater year-to-date than last year. PIT collections exceeded May estimates by $4.8 billion and the First Quarter Update forecast by $583.2 million.   

Year-to-date, consumption and use tax collections totaled $9.8 billion, 27.1%, or $2.1 billion, higher than last year. Business taxes totaled $5.9 billion, $1.9 billion higher than last year.

Read more at the Comptroller’s website

Tesla Hit 1M Production Run Rate During Q3

Electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc. hit an annual production run rate of 1 million units for the first time late in the third quarter, executives said Wednesday, when the company reported operating margins of nearly 15%, more than three points higher than in the spring, on automotive revenues of more than $12 billion, which was nearly 60% higher than a year earlier.

In all, the company produced nearly 238,000 vehicles during the third quarter versus about 145,000 units in the same period of 2020. Tesla also is battling the global supply chain disruptions. Backlogs are growing, as are customer wait times, but the company is focused on cranking out more cars from the facilities it has. Tesla’s power storage business, he added, is facing similar dynamics.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Fresh Pandemic Low – Weekly Jobless Claims fall to of 290,000

New weekly jobless claims held below 300,000 for a back-to-back week as labor market conditions trudged back toward pre-pandemic levels.  

  • Initial unemployment claims, week ended October 16: 290,000 vs. 297,000 expected and a revised 296,000 during prior week.
  • Continuing claims, week ended October 9: 2.481 million vs. 2.548 million expected and a revised 2.603 million during prior week.

This was the lowest lever of  new filings since March 2020. The four-week moving average for new jobless claims also dropped by 15,250 to reach 319,750 as of last week, also marking the least since March of last year.

Read more at YahooFinance

Rolls Test Flight Uses 100% Sustainable Fuel

Rolls-Royce reported that it completed a successful test flight of a Trent 1000 engine using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). The flight, on a Boeing 747 Flying Testbed aircraft, took off from Tucson, Ariz., and lasted nearly four hours, flying over Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

Three of the 747’s engines ran on standard jet fuel, while the fourth was powered by low-carbon SAF supplied by World Energy. Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is produced using waste oils from biological sources (e.g., cooking oil, other non-palm waste oils from plants, agricultural residue, or non-fossil CO2), or solid waste from homes or businesses (e.g., packaging, paper, textiles, food waste.)

Read more at American Machinist

Buffalo High-Schoolers Learn How to Run a Manufacturing Shop

The Bulldog Manufacturing shop is operated by students at Alden High School in New York and offers training on how to run a business, interact with customers and manage money. “It’s so important that we have these opportunities for these students, to show them new possibilities out there,” says Arthur Eggink, the school’s technology instructor.

Bulldog Manufacturing is a student-run manufacturing business in Alden NY. They offer many custom products and services including: Welding, Laser Engraving/Cutting, 3D Printing.  “We are dealing with real customers, with real deadlines, real money,” explained Amelia Kelly, the CEO of Bulldog Manufacturing. She is a senior at Alden High School.

Amazon Robotics to Build a Second US Plant in Massachusetts

Amazon Inc. announced October 21 that it would build a new robotics factory in Westborough, Massachusetts, to add to its existing robot-manufacturing base there. According to a company statement, the new factory will add 200 new jobs to the area and expand Amazon Robotics’ production footprint.

The new facility will join Amazon Robotics’ existing site in North Reading and focus mainly on producing mobile drive units, robots used to carry pallets around in Amazon warehouses. Like the subsidiary company’s Westborough location, the new factory will house corporate offices, R&D labs, and manufacturing space in the same, 350,000-square-foot building.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Masks and Booster Vaccinations Should Keep COVID-19 at Bay in the Rich World This Winter

Despite worries about waning efficacy, vaccines continue to be highly effective in keeping case-fatality rates low. In western Europe, people 12 and over have received 1.5 doses of a covid-19 vaccine on average. Although in America that figure is 1.4, large pockets of unvaccinated people help fuel the virus. Yet unless it develops a mutation that renders vaccines less effective, booster doses will help to keep the worst at bay.

In America 14% of fully-vaccinated people aged 65 and over have received a booster dose. In Britain that figure is 25%. Greater awareness of the power of vaccines may also increase seasonal-flu vaccination rates, as they did in Britain last year.

Read more at The Economist