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Daily Briefing – 421

Post: Dec. 8, 2021

US Job Openings Rose to 11 Million in October

Open positions in the US rose to 11 million from 10.4 million in October, according to Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, data published Wednesday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected openings to climb to 10.5 million. That means October’s figure was just shy of the all-time record of 11.1 million openings, from July.

The report suggests the labor market remained unusually tight with millions still out of work compared to early 2020. US job growth sharply accelerated in October as the Delta wave faded and companies ramped up their holiday hiring efforts. But while payroll creation surged, the latest JOLTS data shows openings still sitting close to record highs.

Read more more at Business Insider

4.2 Million Americans Quit Jobs in October

Roughly 4.2 million workers quit their jobs in October, down slightly from a record 4.4 million in the prior month, the U.S. Labor Department said Wednesday. The decline in October come after three straight months of record highs.  The so-called quit rate slipped to 2.8% overall from 3%. while quits for private-sector employees inched down to 3.1% from 3.3%.

More people tend to quit when the economy is doing well or they think they can find a better job. That largely explains the huge increase in people leaving their jobs this year. Companies are boosting pay and benefits.

Read more at MarketWatch

Senate Passes Resolution to Nullify Biden Vaccine Mandate

The Senate on Wednesday voted to nix President Biden’s vaccine mandate for larger businesses, handing Republicans a symbolic win. Senators voted 52-48 on the resolution, which needed a simple majority to be approved. Democratic Sens. Jon Tester (Mont.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) voted with Republicans, giving it enough support to be sent to the House. 

The resolution faces an uphill path in the House, where Republicans aren’t able to use a similar fast-track process to force a vote over the objections of Democratic leadership. Instead, Republicans are hoping to get the simple majority needed to force a vote through a discharge petition, which will require support from a handful of House Democrats. 

Read more at The Hill

JPMorgan: 2022 Will Mark the End of the Pandemic and a Full Economic Recovery

JPMorgan Chase is predicting 2022 will usher in a return to normalcy and a full healing of the economic wounds caused by the health crisis. “Our view is that 2022 will be the year of a full global recovery, an end of the global pandemic and a return to normal conditions we had prior to the Covid-19 outbreak,” Marko Kolanovic, JPMorgan’s (JPM)chief global markets strategist, wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday. “This is warranted by achieving broad population immunity and with the help of human ingenuity, such as new therapeutics expected to be broadly available in 2022.”

America’s biggest bank expects progress on the health front will spark a “strong” recovery in the economy, marked by a return of global mobility and robust spending by consumers and businesses.  
JPMorgan is forecasting continued growth for the stock market, albeit at a slower pace. The bank set a year-end target of 5,050 for the S&P 500, up by 8% from current levels.

Read more at CNN

US COVID Update – 19 U.S. States Now Have Detected the Omicron COVID-19 Variant

The  omicron variant of the coronavirus has now been reported in 50 countries and 19 states, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She added, “we expect that number to continue to increase.”  States that have detected the variant range from Hawaii to Texas to Massachusetts. The reports are part of a new surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. that now tops 100,000 cases per day.

Experts say it will likely be weeks before meaningful data about patient outcomes will emerge from South Africa, which first reported the variant. The country has seen an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases in Gauteng Province, the epicenter of the outbreak.

Read more at NPR

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update  

Vaccine Stats as of  December 8:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 79.5% of all New Yorkers – 15,083,186 (plus 24,476 from a day earlier).
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,583,273 (plus 2,943).

Fully Vaccinated

  • 69.2% of all New Yorkers – 13,477,363 (plus 23,356).
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,385,556 (plus 3,242). 

The Governor  updated COVID data through December 7 .  There were 40 COVID related deaths for a total of 59,689. 


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 3,489.

7 Day Average Positivity Rate  – Cases per 100K population

  • Statewide 4.75%    –    48.96 positive cases per 100,00 population
  • Mid-Hudson: 4.63%   –  42.85 positive  cases per 100,00 population

Useful Websites:

Pfizer and BioNTech Say Third Dose Provides High Level of Protection Against Omicron Initial Lab Study

Three doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine provide a high level of protection against the omicron variant of the virus that causes Covid-19, the companies announced on Wednesday.  The companies said two-doses of the vaccine showed a significant reduction in the ability of antibodies to target and neutralize omicron, though they may still protect against severe disease.

A booster shot of the vaccine increases antibody protection 25-fold compared with the initial two-dose series, according to a preliminary lab study. A third shot shows virus fighting abilities comparable to the 95% protection provided by two-doses against the original strain of the virus.

Read more at CNBC

Study: Covid-19 Vaccine Effectiveness in New York State

As of September 29, 2021, more than 2.4 million people in New York State have been diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), and more than 56,000 have died.1 Covid-19 vaccines are a critical prevention tool. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine researchers found that The effectiveness of the three vaccines against Covid-19 declined after the delta variant became predominant. The effectiveness against hospitalization remained high, with modest declines limited to recipients 65 years of age or older. 

The study compared cohorts defined according to vaccine product received, age, and month of full vaccination with age-specific unvaccinated cohorts by linking statewide testing, hospital, and vaccine registry databases. 

Read more at the New England Journal of Medicine

Kellogg’s Says It Will Hire Replacements After Striking Workers Reject Latest Contract

Kellogg employees represented by the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union, or BCTGM, voted December 7 to reject the latest tentative offer from Kellogg and opted to continue striking for higher wages. Workers there have been on strike since October 5. In a company statement, Kellogg North America President Chris Hood struck a skeptical tone on whether or not negotiations would continue after almost 20 failed sessions.

“After 19 negotiation sessions in 2021, and still no deal reached, we will continue to focus on moving forward to operate our business,” Hood said. “The prolonged work stoppage has left us no choice but to continue executing the next phase of our contingency plant including hiring replacement employees in positions vacated by striking workers.” Hood insisted that hiring replacements is necessary for business continuity.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Take if from a “Sinologist” The Fallout from Frayed Goodwill with China Will Be Swift and Intense

Eamon McKinney, Ph.D., M.B.A., (sinologist) writes that companies whose supply chain extends to China should be prepared to revise their material acquisition budgets. The advice he offers to any company dealing with China is to focus on relationships. Make contact, explain the issues and problems you are experiencing—and based on the level of remaining goodwill, they may try to make some accommodation.

As COVID started disrupting all aspects of business and industry, including supply chain, U.S manufacturers began leaning heavily on the existing goodwill they had with their Chinese suppliers to resolve supply-chain-related issues. This has been possible because the Chinese historically have believed in building relationships with their business partners. Goodwill is a critical factor of such a policy. However, over the last couple of months it’s become apparent that the goodwill reservoir is draining fast.

Read more at IndustryWeek

McMahon: NY is Leaking Millionaires

New York’s share of the nation’s income millionaire households continued to fall in 2019, capping a decade of sluggish growth in the high earners Albany depends on for an outsized chunk of state revenue. According to just-released data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)New York’s share of the nation’s total millionaire earner population dropped to 9.9 percent, down from 12.7 percent as of 2010, the year after the state enacted a supposedly temporary and ultimately permanent higher rate on millionaire earners. 

In 2019 the number of New York tax filers with adjusted gross incomes above $1 million dropped to 55,100, from 57,210 in 2018. That 3.7 percent decrease came even as the number of millionaire filers nationally was growing to 554,340 from 541,410, an increase of 2.4 percent. Only five other states experienced a decrease in millionaire filers in 2019—and the only state to experience a bigger drop than New York was Oklahoma (down 5.1 percent), whose oil barons were clobbered by an industry-wide slump that year.

CEO: BlackRock Investment of  $15.5 Billion in Aramco Gas Pipeline Not at Odds with Green Pledge

BlackRock supposedly went green a couple years ago, but now the financial giant is leading an investment into a new Saudi Aramco gas pipeline. BlackRock sees no contradiction, with CEO Larry Fink claiming Aramco and Saudi Arabia are “making meaningful, forward-looking steps to transition the Saudi economy toward renewables, clean hydrogen, and a net-zero future [and] responsibly managed natural gas infrastructure has a meaningful role to play in this transition.”

Germany’s Scholz Takes Power in Germany After Merkel’s 16-Year Rule

Olaf Scholz has, as expected, been elected by German parliamentarians as the country’s new chancellor. The Merkel era is now officially history. Scholz’s new coalition government has a lot on its plate: the pandemic, a troubled economy, the energy transition, and a potential diplomatic crisis over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline if Russia goes ahead and invades Ukraine.

Read more at the WSJ

WSJ Poll Shows Pessimism on the Economy and Inflation is an Increasing Concern

According to the poll Republicans are in a strong position heading into the midterm election year, though Democrats have advantages in some policy areas. Voters are pessimistic about the economy and said they believe Republicans have the better economic policy, 43% to 34%. Some 41% approve of Mr. Biden’s job performance, with 57% disapproving.
​Inflation is emering as a key concern. Some 56% in the new survey said inflation was causing them major or minor financial strain, including 28% who said they felt major pressures. Fifty percent of voters said they support Mr. Biden’s vaccine requirements for the private sector, while 47% oppose them.

Read more at the WSJ

Tyson Foods to Spend $50M on Bonuses at its Meat Plants

After spending more than $500 million in bonuses and wage hikes this year, Tyson Foods is giving its more than 80,000 hourly meatpacking employees a total of $50 million in year-end bonuses. CEO Donnie King said the company is also responding to employee needs by offering flexible scheduling and on-site health care services at little to no cost.

The meatpacking industry was especially hard hit by the virus that spread quickly through plants where workers stand shoulder-to-shoulder on production lines. A U.S. House report released this fall said that at least 59,000 meatpacking workers caught COVID-19 and 269 workers died when the virus swept through the industry. That estimate included workers at the largest meat companies, including Tyson, JBS, Smithfield Foods, Cargill and National Beef.

Read more at the AP