Our Blog

Daily Briefing – 413

Post: Nov. 23, 2021

OSHA Files Documents with 6th Circuit Seeking to Reinstate Vaccine Mandate for Private Companies

In court papers filed overnight, the administration urged a Cincinnati-based federal appeals court to lift a court order blocking the public health rule, which requires larger businesses to have employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine or undergo regular testing and mask-wearing. The extensive Tuesday court submission filed by OSHA, which came in a lengthy 55-page brief, underscored just how important this round of litigation is to the mandate’s long-term prospects, legal experts said.

“Delaying this standard would endanger many thousands of people and would likely cost many lives per day,” government lawyers argued. “With the reopening of workplaces and the emergence of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the threat to workers is ongoing and overwhelming.”  In an earlier stage of litigation the 5th Circuit stayed the rule and called the mandate “fatally flawed” and ordered that OSHA not enforce the requirement “pending adequate judicial review” of a motion for a permanent injunction.

Read more at The Hill

Drop in the Bucket: U.S. to Release Oil from Reserves in Coordination with Other Countries in Attempt to Lower Prices

President Biden said Tuesday that the administration will tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as part of a global effort from energy-consuming nations to calm 2021′s rapid rise in fuel prices. The coordinated release between the U.S., India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom is the first such move of its kind. In total, the U.S. will release 50 million barrels from the SPR. 

U.S. oil dipped 1.9% to a session low of $75.30 per barrel following the announcement, before recovering some of those losses.  International benchmark Brent crude stood at $79.98 per barrel, for a gain of 34 cents. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that the world consumed 92.2 million barrels PER DAY  in 2020 the lowest amount since 1975. 

Read more at CNBC

Jerome Powell Will Face a Very Different Economy in a Second Term

Over his first term in office, Jerome Powell became arguably the most dovish chairman in the Federal Reserve’s modern history, giving priority to full employment in an era in which inflation seemed extinct. In his second term, he may have to execute the reverse: giving priority to inflation at the risk of sacrificing jobs.

The pivot could be painful for both Mr. Powell and President Biden. Economic conditions have been substantially reordered in just the past year. Inflation, at 6.2%, is its highest in 31 years. While employment remains 4.2 million below its pre-pandemic peak, labor shortages are widespread, and wage growth is accelerating. All that threatens the Fed’s 2% inflation target.

Read more at the WSJ

Moderately Dovish – Biden’s Choice of Powell Frustrates Progressives

President Biden sidestepped a battle over the leadership of the Federal Reserve by disappointing progressive allies and sticking with Jerome Powell, whom Donald Trump nominated as Fed chair four years ago  instead of Lael Brainard, the only Democrat on the seven-member board and the favorite of a number of progressives and who favors even more rigorous regulation of the finance industry. 

The president did nominate Brainard to replace Richard Clarida as vice chair. But the choice of Powell further deflates progressives. They are already disappointed that Biden’s Build Back Better agenda has stalled in Congress and that top priorities such as the Clean Electricity Performance Program, a national paid family leave program and expanded Medicare dental and vision benefits have been cut out or are in danger of being jettisoned. 

Read more at The Hill

US COVID Update – America Isn’t Headed Toward Lockdowns, say White House Officials

The United States is not headed for lockdowns like the ones facing European countries, even though coronavirus cases are rising with the arrival of winter, Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, told reporters Monday. “We are not headed in that direction,” Zients said.

Even when the spread of the delta variant this summer was driving up new cases, President Biden and his senior health officials stressed their goal of avoiding lockdowns. Zients repeated that stance Monday, pointing to the increasing number of Americans getting vaccinated. “We have the tools to accelerate the path out of this pandemic: widely available vaccinations, booster shots, kids’ shots, therapeutics,” he said.

Read more at the Washington Post

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update – 

Vaccine Stats as of Tuesday November 23rd:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 77.2 of all New Yorkers – 14,794,086 (plus 18,967 from a day earlier).
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,550,969 (plus 2,961).

Fully Vaccinated

  • 68.1% of all New Yorkers – 13,217,908 (plus 8,035).
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,359,318 (plus 834). 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Monday November 22nd.  There were 27 COVID related deaths for a total of 58,948.


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,515.

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 3.81%
  • Mid-Hudson: 2.95%

Useful Websites:

93% Of TSA Employees Are Vaccinated Ahead Of Thanksgiving Travel Weekend

Yesterday, November 22, was the deadline by which all federal employees must either be vaccinated against Covid-19 or submit to frequent coronavirus testing, per President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate. “Ninety-three percent of the TSA workforce has complied with the vaccination mandate,” said R. Carter Langston, a TSA spokesperson, in an email.

Thanksgiving weekend is among the busiest travel periods of the entire year. The AAA expects 4.2 million Americans to fly over Thanksgiving, down 11% from pre-pandemic levels but nearly double the air passenger volume from last year. There are currently 275 TSA employees with active COVID-19 infections, according to the agency’s website.

Read more at Forbes

Home Sales Climb to Nine-Month High

U.S. home sales unexpectedly rose in October, reaching their highest level in nine months, though higher prices amid tight supply continued to sideline first-time buyers from the market.

The report from the National Association of Realtors on Monday also showed an increase in the share of investors buying homes last month, likely reflecting growing demand for rental accommodation as the economy reverts to normal, thanks to vaccinations against COVID-19.

Read more at Reuters

Metal Process Manufacturers Face Continued Strain

Process manufacturers working with metal and steel see little respite from increasing lead times and labor and supply shortages, according to a recent trade association survey. The Precision Metalforming Association’s latest survey also included a snapshot of conditions as of November 1.

Two thirds of respondents reported that shipment activity is up from a year ago, slightly fewer than last month, when 70% said shipment was up compared to 2020. Almost 50% of companies said daily shipping levels are up in the same timeframe. More than half of the 105 surveyed metalforming companies predicted little change in economic conditions through the end of the year and a plurality predicted the amount of orders would not change, although a slightly higher percentage anticipate orders will dip.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Is Higher Financial Stress Lurking around the Corner for China?        

Despite China’s tighter financial policies and the Evergrande troubles, Chinese financial stress measures have been remarkably stable. Chinese financial conditions, though, are affected by global markets, making it likely that low foreign financial stress conditions are blurring the state of Chinese financial markets. In this post, the authors parse out the domestic component of a Chinese financial stress measure to evaluate the downside risk to future economic activity.

Although Chinese financial conditions are at historically average levels, they have trailed the rest of the world. Given the relatively large degree of co-movement in financial conditions across countries, this suggests that a potentially significant buildup in Chinese domestic financial market stresses has been masked by conditions abroad.

Read more at the NY Fed

Haverstraw and Ossining are Winners of State’s $10 Million Downtown Revitalization Initiative

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that Haverstraw and Ossining will receive $10 million each in funding as the Mid-Hudson region winners of the fifth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). As part of DRI Round 5, each of the state’s 10 regional economic development regions are being awarded $20 million, 

Each selected community will develop a strategic plan through a bottom-up, community-based planning process that articulates a vision for the revitalization of its downtown and identifies a list of signature projects that have the potential to transform the downtown and leverage further private and public investments. DRI funds will then be awarded for selected projects that have the greatest potential to jumpstart revitalization and realize the community’s vision for the downtown. 

Eurozone Economic Growth Accelerated in November, Survey Shows

The eurozone’s economic growth accelerated slightly in November compared with the previous month but persistent supply bottlenecks and rising Covid-19 cases clouded the near-term outlook, according to a survey of purchasing managers.  The flash reading for the eurozone composite output index increased to 55.8 in November from 54.2 in October, a two-month high, data from IHS Markit released Tuesday showed. The index is based on data from the firm’s PMI surveys for manufacturing and service sectors. 

“A stronger expansion of business activity in November defied economists’ expectations of a slowdown, but is unlikely to prevent the eurozone from suffering slower growth in the fourth quarter, especially as rising virus cases look set to cause renewed disruptions to the economy in December,” IHS Markit’s chief business economist Chris Williamson said.

Read more at MarketWatch

Hudson Valley Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.1 Percent, Labor Force Drops

The October 2021 unemployment rate for the Hudson Valley Region is 4.1 percent.  That is down from 4.3 percent in September 2021 and down from 6.0 percent in October 2020.  In October 2021, there were 45,400 unemployed in the region, down from 47,200 in September 2021 and down from 66,700 in October 2020.  Year-over-year in October 2021, labor force decreased by 10,300 or 0.9 percent, to 1,104,900.

There were 41,900 employed in manufacturing in October, up 200 from September and up 1,100 from a year ago. 

Hudson Valley Labor Market Profile October 2021

A Deadly New COVID wave in Europe is Met by Popular Fury Over Lockdowns

Europe, once again, is at the center of the pandemic. Cases are surging as the contagious Delta variant makes its way, belatedly, through Europe’s population. The World Health Organization reported this month that coronavirus deaths in Europe rose by 5% in the week of November 8th–the only region in the world where covid-19 deaths increased. Hans Kluge, the boss of the WHO, warned that by March Europe could see another 500,000 deaths.

In Germany support for a nationwide vaccine mandate, previously a taboo, is rising. As such mandates are becoming likelier in many places, the polarization between rival camps is growing. Anti-vaxxers consist mainly of supporters of populist and far-right parties, but also acolytes of alternative medicine, hippies and libertarians. Some are taking to the streets. Over the weekend thousands of opponents of measures to fight the pandemic marched in the Benelux countries, Italy, Switzerland and northern Ireland. In Belgium and the Netherlands rioters clashed with the police over three days.  Thierry Baudet, leader of the far-right Forum for Democracy, recently said that he believes such measures make “the unvaccinated the new Jews”.

Read more at The Economist

Samsung Plans $17 Billion Semiconductor Fab in Taylor, Texas

Samsung, the global electronics and appliances manufacturer, is expanding its stateside semiconductor operations. The Korean conglomerate will build a new $17 billion semiconductor fabricator, or “fab,” in Taylor, Texas, about 30 miles away from the company’s existing U.S. fab in Austin. The announcement is the second in less than a week of new semiconductor manufacturing in the Lone Star State. Texas Instruments Inc. announced November 19 that it would build a new semiconductor campus in Sherman, Texas, about 65 miles north of Dallas.

The new site will be 1,200 acres and could create an estimated 1,800 new manufacturing jobs, the Journal reported, though production of chips there is unlikely to start any earlier than 2024. 

Read more at IndustryWeek