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Daily Briefing – 409

Post: Nov. 15, 2021

Empire State Manufacturing Survey: Activity Grows “Swiftly” 

Manufacturing activity grew swiftly in New York State, according to the November survey.  Here are some key stats:

  • The general business conditions index climbed eleven points to 30.9. 
  • The new orders index rose five points to 28.8, and the shipments index shot up nineteen points to 28.2, indicating strong growth in both orders and shipments.
  • The unfilled orders index edged down to 12.7. The delivery times index came in at 32.2, indicating significantly longer delivery times. Inventories increased modestly.
  • The index for number of employees rose nine points to 26.0, a record high
  • The average workweek index increased eight points to 23.1, pointing to strong gains in employment and hours worked.
  • The prices paid index edged up four points to 83.0
  • and the prices received index moved up seven points to a record high of 50.8, signaling ongoing substantial increases in both input prices and selling prices.
  • Firms were less optimistic about the six-month outlook than they were last month, with the index for future business conditions falling fifteen points to 36.9.
  • The indexes for future new orders and shipments fell to similar levels.

Read more at the NY Fed

Biden Weighs Choice of Jerome Powell or Lael Brainard as Fed Chair

President Biden is expected to decide as soon as this week whether to appoint Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell or governor Lael Brainard to a four-year term leading the central bank beginning next February. Because Ms. Brainard’s views on inflation and interest rates have been similar this year to Mr. Powell’s, policy continuity seems likely no matter who is chosen.

Mr. Biden met each candidate separately for interviews on Nov. 4, and he was joined in the Oval Office for those meetings with only one other adviser, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, according to people familiar with the matter.  Members of Mr. Biden’s economic team and several Democratic lawmakers have favored Mr. Powell for a second term. But resistance from some progressive Democrats, who want someone more committed to toughening financial regulation and addressing climate change at the Fed, has complicated the White House’s calculus for months.

Read more at the WSJ

House Democrats Expect to Pass $1.75T Biden Package this Week

House Democrats are racing this week to pass President Biden’s $1.75 trillion social and climate spending package, which would give the party a burst of momentum heading into the Thanksgiving recess. Despite the possibility of new dramas in the Senate, senior Democrats say they are confident the Congress can send the package to Biden’s desk by the end of the year. 

House moderate holdouts have vowed to support the bill when it comes to the floor this week, even as they continue to wait for new numbers from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to see if the package will add to the deficit.

Read more at The Hill

Biden Signs Infrastructure Bill Into Law

 On Monday, President Joe Biden signed into law a sweeping bipartisan infrastructure package, the largest investment in the country’s infrastructure in decades. The package, which includes $550 billion in new spending, is meant to repair and enhance the country’s beleaguered infrastructure, which has languished as investment has slowed. About $650 billion of the funding will be reallocated from already existing projects and funds.

The bill, priced at $1.2 trillion, will tackle nearly every facet of American infrastructure, including public transportation, roads, bridges, ports, railways, power grids, broadband internet, as well as water and sewage systems.

US COVID Update – Covid-19 Cases Rise in Pockets of North and West

Covid-19 cases are climbing in places like the upper Midwest, Southwest and parts of the Northeast, hindering the nation’s progress in ending a surge triggered by the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus. The stalled progress is an unwelcome turn as the Thanksgiving holiday nears, which will mean more people traveling and congregating indoors, as families gather to celebrate.

Nationally, the seven-day average of new cases appears to be edging back up after hovering just above 70,000 for several weeks, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, halting what had been a decline from the Delta-fueled peak that began in September. While the Southeast cools off from its summer surge, other regions are under pressure, including places where colder weather has brought people back indoors where the virus can more easily spread.

Read more at the WSJ

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Monday November 15th:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 75.9 of all New Yorkers – 14,605,713 (plus 18,274 from a day earlier).
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,532,330 (plus 2,234).

Fully Vaccinated

  • 67.6% of all New Yorkers – 13,113,185 (plus 3,899).
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,352,311 (plus 505). 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday November 14th.  There were 27 COVID related deaths for a total of 58,623.


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 1,963.

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 3.30%
  • Mid-Hudson: 2.55%

Useful Websites:

Vaccine Mandate: Appeals Court Vigorously Condemns the ETS

After the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the ETS on Nov. 6 one day after it was published, a three-judge panel from the circuit on Nov. 12 issued a 22-page decision filled with quotes and footnotes strongly supporting the legal case mounted by those suing to overturn the order. Plaintiffs include state governments, staffing and other private companies and industry associations.

The Fifth Circuit judges point out that in its 50-year history, OSHA has issued just 10 such ETS rules, six of which were challenged in court and only one of which survived. The three judges also said about the new vaccine ETS that, “The mandate’s stated impetus—a purported ‘emergency’ that the entire globe has now endured for nearly two years, and which OSHA itself spent nearly two months responding to—is unavailing as well. And its promulgation grossly exceeds OSHA’s statutory authority.”

Read more at EHS Today

President Biden Names Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to Supervise Infrastructure Spend

Mr. Biden chose Mr. Landrieu, a former Louisiana lieutenant governor who led the city of New Orleans from 2010 to 2018, because of his experience running the city and his relationships with state and municipal leaders around the nation, the White House said. Mr. Landrieu will be a senior adviser responsible for the coordination of the new law, working through the National Economic Council, White House officials said.

A key factor in the decision was Mr. Landrieu’s role in helping New Orleans rebound from the devastating 2005 hurricane, the White House said. When he entered office, the officials noted that the mayor helped fast-track dozens of projects and secured billions of dollars in federal funding for schools, hospitals and infrastructure.

Read more at the WSJ

IBM Quantum

IBM has unveiled a quantum processor that it claims will be able to perform calculations beyond the reach of traditional computers—though it still needs to prove that claim. The Eagle process has 127 qubits. By 2023, IBM hopes to be producing quantum processors with 1,000 qubits, which might make them useful in a business context.

The new quantum hardware, which IBM is calling Eagle, has 127 qubits, which are the information-processing units of a quantum computer. This is a large enough cluster to perform calculations that cannot be made by traditional computers in a reasonable timeframe, the company said. But the company said it had not yet done a benchmark demonstration to prove that the new processor can perform tasks beyond the grasp of conventional computers, saying only that the new machine is powerful enough that it should be able to do so.

Read more at Fortune

Boeing Signals Optimism on Dreamliner & Max Carriers

Boeing says it’s on the verge of solving issues that have kept its two most important aircraft grounded. The planemaker is getting close to restarting deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner and the 737 Max. Yousef Gamal El-Din caught up with Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal at the Dubai Airshow.

Also, a top executive at Boeing has underlined the importance that cargo now plays in the aerospace industry, nearly two years after travel came to a near standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic. “The freighter markets are on fire right now. That’s where we see real growth,” Stan Deal, executive vice president of Boeing, told CNBC’s Dan Murphy at the Dubai Air Show on Sunday.

Watch the video at Bloomberg

Hot Hudson Valley Construction Market Means Trade Unions Nearing Full Job Capacity

he job market in the construction trades is hot with several projects under construction in the Hudson Valley and others on the drawing boards.

Alan Seidman, president of the Construction Contractors of the Hudson Valley, predicts anyone who is qualified and wants a job can get one. “Locally anybody that is vaccinated is going to be working. We still have a little bit of an issue with the vaccines. Some of the job sites are requiring all workers on the job sites to be vaccinated. So, for those jobs, we may have to import from other regions, but locally we have some big projects coming up in 2022 and beyond and the trades here are going to be fully employed,” he said.

Read more at Mid-Hudson News

Gold Nears 5-Month Peak as Inflation Worries Boost Appeal

Spot gold was up 0.6% at $1,861.39 per ounce last week and U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled 0.8% higher at $1,863.90 per ounce.  “The market is spooked with Wednesday’s CPI data coming in as high as it was. Traders are looking at gold as being a safety asset, as a hedge against this inflation risk,” said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.

Gold rose as much as 2% on Wednesday and hit its highest level since mid-June, after data showed U.S. consumer prices rose at their fastest pace in 31 years in October, underscoring signs inflation could stay uncomfortably high well into 2022.

Read more at Reuters

ITIF: How to Develop a National Strategic Plan for Advanced Manufacturing

In comments to OSTP and NSTC, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation offered both high-level and practical recommendations on how to formulate a strategic plan for advanced manufacturing, including emerging areas of science and technology to focus on, R&D priorities, public-private and regional partnerships, tech transfer, workforce skills, the manufacturing supply chain and industrial base, and useful models to expand.

Read the comments