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Daily Briefing – 401

Post: Nov. 1, 2021

Manchin Holds Off Support of Spending Bill Until Infrastructure Vote is Held

Manchin called a press conference at the Capitol on Monday and railed against House progressives, accusing them of holding the infrastructure bill “hostage” while warning the tactics won’t force him to commit to the separate $1.75 trillion spending bill before he is ready.  “The political games have to stop,” Manchin said. “Holding this bill hostage is not going to work in getting my support for the reconciliation bill.” 

Manchin’s comments come after the House failed to have a vote last week on the Senate-passed infrastructure bill — again — amid pushback from progressives, who believe that it needs to be moved with the reconciliation package that is expected to carry new funding for health care, education, childcare and other priorities.

Read more at The Hill

White House Unveils Strategy for 2050 Net-Zero Goal

The U.S. early Monday unveiled its strategy for achieving “net-zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 — under which the country would try to eliminate or offset all of its climate pollution. The plan entails switching to clean energy sources for electricity generation; making many parts of the economy run on electricity, including cars, buildings and industrial processes; increasing energy efficiency and scaling up the use of technology that pulls carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

The plan also promotes policies like adopting “climate-smart” agricultural practices and addressing emissions of a powerful greenhouse gas called methane through “stringent” standards for oil and gas production and investments in plugging leaks from coal, oil and gas extraction. 

Read more at The Hill

Companies Mull Ending Government Contracts Over Vaccine Mandate

In an interview, the American Trucking Associations’ executive vice president for advocacy Bill Sullivan told POLITICO that some companies may simply decide that the cost of the mandate is not worth the government’s checks.  He noted that if companies drop their contracts, it may be harder to get certain foods to troops, transport fuel for military vehicles, or even deploy the National Guard.

Industry advocates across the aerospace, distribution, defense and trucking sectors reveal they either have little confidence they will be able to meet the Dec. 8 deadline for their workers to receive their first vaccine shot.  Among the requests from federal contractors: an extension of the deadline into 2022, considering allowing a test-out option for federal contractor employees, and eliminating the requirements altogether.

Read more at Politico

COVID-19 Death Toll Tops 5 Million in Less Than 2 Years

The global death toll from COVID-19 topped 5 million on Monday, less than two years into a crisis that has not only devastated poor countries but also humbled wealthy ones with first-rate health care systems. The death toll, as tallied by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the populations of Los Angeles and San Francisco combined. Globally, COVID-19 is now the third leading cause of death, after heart disease and stroke.

Together, the United States, the European Union, Britain and Brazil — all upper-middle- or high-income countries — account for one-eighth of the world’s population but nearly half of all reported deaths. The U.S. alone has recorded over 740,000 lives lost, more than any other nation.

Read more at Fortune

U.S. COVID – Delta Surge of Covid-19 Recedes, Leaving Winter Challenge Ahead

New Covid-19 case numbers in the U.S. are close to levels recorded near this time last year, with a seven-day average at about 72,000 a day, Johns Hopkins University data show. But the trajectory is opposite. Last fall, cases were rising while hospitalizations and deaths, trailing indicators, were starting to follow.

There are, however, reasons for caution, health authorities say. The U.S. posted its worst numbers of the pandemic, including a quarter-million new cases a day, shortly after the winter holidays last year, when colder weather and family gatherings brought more people together indoors where the virus most easily spreads.

Read more at the WSJ

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Monday November 1st:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 74.4 of all New Yorkers – 14,353,103 (plus 9,463 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,500,878 (plus 946) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 66.7% of all New Yorkers – 12,968,085 (plus 9,646).
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,3356,402 (plus 780). 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday October 31st.  There were 33 COVID related deaths for a total of 58,045.


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 1,856.

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 2.18%
  • Mid-Hudson: 1.70%

Useful Websites:

OSHA Vaccine Mandate ETS to be Published “Soon”

The Department of Labor on Monday said that the Biden administration’s vaccinate mandate for businesses, which is being developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), will be published soon. “On November 1, the Office of Management and Budget completed its regulatory review of the emergency temporary standard. The Federal Register will publish the emergency temporary standard in the coming days,” a Labor Department spokesperson said in a statement.

OSHA has been crafting an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to enact the mandate, which requires that all companies with at least 100 employees require vaccines or weekly testing for employees. Biden announced the sweeping vaccine-or-test mandate in September. 

Read more at The Hill

Energy Woes Cause China Factory Activity to Slump Further

Factory activity in China plunged more than expected in October, official data showed Sunday, suggesting the industrial sector continued struggling as it grappled with tight power supply and surging raw material costs. This marks the second straight month in which China’s PMI dipped below the 50-point mark separating growth from contraction.

The key Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) — a gauge of manufacturing activity in the world’s second-largest economy — fell to 49.2 this month, down from 49.6 in September, said the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Read more at IndustryWeek

Today’s Tight Virginia Governor Race Tests Party Strategies

A fiercely competitive race for governor is testing whether Democrats can generate the voter enthusiasm that propelled President Biden to a 10-point victory here last year, or whether a Republican can win by nodding at but not fully embracing former President Donald Trump. Nearly every recent poll ahead of Tuesday’s Virginia election has shown an even contest between former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin, a potential sign of change, because Republicans haven’t won a statewide race since 2009.

Both parties are looking for signals about the broader political climate heading into next year’s midterm elections. The results in vote-rich Northern Virginia, in particular, will be scrutinized to see whether suburban voters, who nationally swung toward Democrats during the Trump administration, are now turning away from the party.

Read more at the WSJ

ResumeBuilder Survey: Many Remote Workers Have Two Jobs

There’s some new survey data out this morning that may add to the paranoia of CEOs who wonder what their employees are doing at home. Conducted by ResumeBuilder.com using the Pollfish platform, the study included a representative sample of 1,250 U.S. adults who have full-time jobs as remote workers. Some findings:

  • 69% of those full-time remote employees say they also have another job.
  • 37% said that second job is also a full-time job. 32% said it is part-time.
  • Of those with two jobs, just over half said one of them was their own business and existed before the pandemic.  Another quarter started their own business during the pandemic. And just under a quarter said neither of the jobs is their own business.
  • How do they manage two jobs? Part of the answer is that they work extra hours, and part of it is neither job gets a 40-hour week. Asked how many hours a week they worked at both jobs, only 18% said 80 hours or more; 45% said 40 hours or less. The remainder said 50-70 hours.

Read more at ResumeBuilder

DiNapoli: Local Sales Tax Collections Up 20% in Third Quarter

Local sales tax collections totaled $5.2 billion in the third quarter (July-September of 2021), up $861 million (20%) from the same period last year and continuing the trend of exceeding pre-pandemic levels, according to a report released today from State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

Statewide, every region saw solid growth in sales tax collections during the third quarter compared to the same period last year. Outside of New York City, the July-September period marked the fifth quarter in a row that county and city sales tax receipts met or exceeded 2019 pre-pandemic levels for the same period. Some of the regions with the strongest third quarter growth include Mid-Hudson (16.5%), Long Island (16.3%), and the Capital District (15.4%).

Read more at the Comptrollers website

Broken Promises, Energy Shortages and COVID-19 Hamper COP26

COP26, the UN’s climate conference in Glasgow, got off to an inauspicious start after a weekend summit of the G20 failed to agree on any binding measures to reduce emissions. Joe Biden said two of the group’s most-polluting members—China and Russia—“basically did not show up” with plans to curb fossil-fuel use.

During the COP’s opening speech on Sunday, Alok Sharma, its president, said the window to keep global warming to 1.5°C was closing: an understatement.

The New York Times is Providing Free Live Updates Here

‘Rent-A-Robot’ Is A Game Changer For Manufacturing

Thanks to technology, robots have become easier to integrate onto factory floors, capable of more advanced tasks and less costly to produce—all of which support the viability of the burgeoning rent-a-robot trend.  Vendors, some backed by venture capital, lease robots to SMEs, install and maintain them and bill by the hour or month.

With no upfront investment, much of the financial risk is removed, with the potential for immediate savings by way of improved efficiency. Leasing provides flexibility—financially and operationally—that wouldn’t exist if manufacturers bought robots or spent time and money developing their own. The model also puts pressure on the lessor to make sure their products are performing on the factory floor. Companies can test out the latest technology without being married to it and send it back if it’s not meeting their expectations or goals. On the flip side, if things go really well there’s often a lease-to-buy option. 

Read more at Forbes

US Drops Tariffs on European Steel, Aluminum

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced October 31 that it would drop tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from the E.U. and replace them with a quota system to allow for some duty-free tax imports. In exchange, the E.U. dropped its own retaliatory tariffs on imported U.S. goods like bourbon and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The deal also includes a framework for the US and E.U. to cooperate on environmental standards and global steel overproduction in the future.

Instead of a static import on all tariffs, the new tariff-rate quota system will allow for duty-free imports above a certain tonnage per year, after which new tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% aluminum will kick in. Although officials did not disclose how much steel would be let in before tariffs are applied, a source cited by Reuters put the number at 3.3 million tons.

Read more at IndustryWeek

NRF Predicts Highest Holiday Retail Sales on Record

Holiday spending has the potential to shatter previous records, as the National Retail Federation on Oct. 27 forecast that holiday sales during November and December will grow between 8.5% and 10.5% over 2020 to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion.  The numbers, which exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants, compared with a previous high of 8.2% in 2020 to $777.3 billion and an average increase of 4.4% over the past five years.

NRF expects that online and other non-store sales, which are included in the total, will increase between 11% and 15% to a total of between $218.3 billion and $226.2 billion driven by online purchases. In comparison, that number is up from $196.7 billion in 2020.

Read more at Material Handling and Logistics