Member Briefing December 20, 2022
Climate Action Council (CAC) Approves Final Scoping Plan
Monday, the Climate Action Council (CAC) voted in favor of approving the final Scoping Plan. The official Scoping Plan is required to be delivered to the Governor and the Legislature and published on the Council’s website by January 1st. However, at the request of Councilmembers, a draft form of the final Scoping Plan was made available prior to today’s vote. There were no changes made to the draft document at today’s meeting.
In accordance with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), recommendations in the Scoping Plan will be incorporated into an updated State Energy Plan. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will have until January 1st, 2024 to promulgate regulations necessary to enforce the State’s emissions reductions goals. Proposals included in the Scoping plan which require legislative approval will go through the regular legislative process.
War in Ukraine Headlines
- Ukraine and Russia: The Latest News – The Guardian
- Drones Strike Ukraine as Kyiv Scrambles to Restore Power and Heating - WSJ
- Analysis: The Hardest Part is Yet to Come for Gas-Hoarding Europe - Reuters
- Putin Arrives in Belarus for Talks With Lukashenko – Yahoo
- European Energy Ministers Agree to Emergency Natural-Gas Price Cap - WSJ
- Putin Meets Generals as Russian Missiles Pound Cities - BBC
- Russia, China to Hold Joint Naval Drills as Moscow and Belarus Vow to Cement Ties - WSJ
- CEO of Ukraine’s Energy Operator Speaks to VOA Amid Russian Attacks – Voice of America
- Kyiv Says Russian 'Kamikaze' Drone Flies Over South Ukraine Nuclear Plant – Reuters
- Ukraine President Zelenskyy Says FIFA 'blocked' Peace Message - ESPN
- Map – Tracking Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine – Live Universal Awareness Map
NY Fed Survey: Businesses Foresee Inflation Moderating Next Year
Supplementary questions to the December 2022 Empire State Manufacturing Survey focused on recent and expected changes in firms’ selling prices and in the prices they pay. A somewhat similar set of questions had been asked in the December 2021 survey, as well as earlier surveys. Businesses were also queried on their expectations of the overall rate of inflation in the economy. The latest survey was in the field from December 2 through December 9.
Survey participants were asked about changes in both their selling prices and their input prices over the past year. For selling prices manufacturers noted an average hike of 9.5 percent. Regarding input prices, firms indicated an average increase of about 3 ½ percentage points higher—13 percent. Looking ahead to the next twelve months, firms indicated that they expected price pressures to abate considerably, anticipating an average increase of about 5 percent in both selling and input prices. Panelists were asked about their expectations for the overall rate of inflation in the economy, as measured by the CPI. Among manufacturers the average expected inflation rate for the year ahead was 6 percent.
Why the US Needs Manufacturing to Succeed
For the CEO of one of Chicago’s largest manufacturing operations, the future of manufacturing and the opportunities the sector represents is personal. Unlocking that future requires a focus on sustainability, diversifying the workforce and nearshoring. Manufacturing matters to the United States because it provides “high-wage jobs, commercial innovation (the nation’s largest source), a key to trade-deficit reduction and a disproportionately large contribution to environmental sustainability,” according to the Brookings Institution. Continuing the positive momentum behind manufacturing will be transformative for this country.
With newly focused attention on supply-chain availability and resilience, U.S. manufacturing is at an inflection point. The recently passed infrastructure and CHIPS acts enable direct investment of billions of dollars into the manufacturing sector responsible for critical components, to improve capacity and supply certainty. According to an analysis by the McKinsey Global Institute, the manufacturing sector was already on an upswing between 2010 and 2019, adding 1.3 million manufacturing jobs to the economy, following the loss of 5.8 million jobs over the previous 10 years.
U.S. COVID Update - COVID Steady, RSV and Flu Down, But Hospitals Still Packed Tight
Last week the CDC reported a 49.6 percent increase in average new daily cases of COVID-19—the largest such increase since last January, when the nation was in the grips of the initial omicron surge. On the eve of holiday gatherings, this raised the specter of another such wave—and was followed by the White House announcement that Americans can once again order free COVID tests.
Fortunately, this week’s national data shows a three percent drop in COVID cases. While this does not at all suggest that last week’s concerns were misplaced—especially in light of continued pressures on the nation’s hospitals due to the so-called “tripledemic” of COVID, RSV and the flu—the leveling off is welcome.
NYS COVID Update
The Governor updated COVID data through December 16
- Daily: 35
- Total Reported to CDC: 76,280
- Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 3,565
- Patients Currently in ICU Statewide: 364
7 Day Average Positivity Rate - Cases per 100K population
- Statewide 6.84% - 27.94 positive cases per 100,00 population
- Mid-Hudson: 6.80% - 29.43 positive cases per 100,00 population
Potential New Treatment for “Brain Fog” in Long COVID Patients
While symptoms vary widely, a common complaint among patients is “brain fog”—a colloquial term for significant, persistent cognitive deficits, with consistent impairment of executive functioning and working memory. Long-haulers may experience a lack of mental clarity, poor focus and concentration, memory problems, difficulty with multi-tasking, and more. Brain fog can be debilitating, but there currently are no treatment options that are approved for the condition.
Yale researchers—using their extensive experience with two existing medications—have published initial evidence that those drugs, given together, can mitigate or even eliminate brain fog. Guanfacine, developed in the lab of Amy Arnsten, and N-acetylcysteine (NAC), an anti-oxidant also used for the treatment of TBI. When used together was successful in relieving brain fog for their small cohort of patients. Larger, placebo-controlled clinical trials will be needed to establish these drugs as a bona fide treatment for post-COVID-19 neurocognitive deficits.
What’s On the Agenda for the 2023 Legislative Session in New York?
The new legislative session is just around the corner, and officials in Albany have a jampacked agenda for the upcoming year. Democrats in Albany have kept their numbers, successfully maintaining their supermajorities in both chambers despite some initial concern about the state Senate. That means that the significant bargaining power they held for the past two legislative sessions remains intact. Although lawmakers have not overridden any Hochul vetoes yet, their numbers give them a strong negotiating position.
There will be some big shake-ups next year. A series of retirements and surprise losses have left key Assembly committees in need of new leadership. And lawmakers may start the year in a politically unpopular position if they approve a pay raise for themselves this year. There are a lot of issues to keep track of as lawmakers, officials, lobbyists and activists make their way back to the state Capitol. Housing, Bail Reform, Climate and Energy, Education, Health care and more are on the agenda. Read on for some of the biggest issues in the new session.
U.S. Congress Aims to Pack Additional Measures Into Government Funding Bill
The U.S. Congress faces a tricky task this week as lawmakers try to use a $1.7 trillion government funding bill to also address other priorities, including tweaks to election rules, reforms to drug sentencing and a ban on TikTok from government-owned devices. Democrats and Republicans alike aim to tuck as many legislative wish-list items as possible into the "omnibus" bill funding the government through the end of its fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2023, without derailing the whole package.
Failure could bring a partial government shutdown beginning Saturday, two days before Christmas, and possibly lead into a months-long standoff after Republicans take control of the House of Representatives on Jan. 3, breaking President Joe Biden's Democrats' grip on both chambers of Congress.
Uptick in Cutting Tool Orders to Start Q4
Machine-shop activity drove cutting-tool consumption up 3.4% from September to October, up 11.7% from October 2021. According to the latest release of the monthly Cutting Tool Market Report, the value of cutting tools consumed in October was $200.6 million, bringing the year-to-date consumption total to $1.8 billion, 9.4% higher than last year’s January-October total.
The report is compiled jointly by the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute and AMT – the Assn. for Manufacturing Technology. CTMR data serves as an index to overall manufacturing activity due to the range of market segments driving shops’ consumption of cutting tools. While the consumption of cutting tools had been weakening since the start of Q2 2022, slowed by supply-chain disfunctions and rising inflation that reduced purchasing activity and demand for manufactured parts, the start of Q4 is a positive turn.
Why This Housing Downturn Isn’t Like the Last One
A 28% decline in U.S. home prices between 2006 and 2009 sent the value of some 11 million homes below their mortgage balances, triggering widespread defaults, a near-collapse of the financial system and a deep recession. Home prices would have to fall between 40% and 45% from their peak to put the same proportion of mortgaged homes underwater today, according to a CoreLogic analysis.
The pandemic housing boom is over. The bust will look nothing like the last one. Before the financial crisis of 2008, lenders barely bothered to verify mortgage applicants’ income. Today they demand reams of evidence that borrowers can afford their loans. Banks once held big pools of shoddy mortgages with little consequence. Now such exotic debt securities hardly exist, and banks would find them too costly to hold anyway.
US DOL Report: 9% Increase in Work Fatalities in 2021
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the 2021 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), on December 16, and the news was not good. The fatal work injury rate was 3.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, up from 3.4 per 100,000 FTE in 2020 and up from the 2019 pre-pandemic rate of 3.5.
Fatalities due to violence and other injuries by persons or animals increased to 761 fatalities in 2021 from 705 fatalities in 2020 (7.9%). The largest subcategory, intentional injuries by person, increased 10.3% to 718 in 2021. Exposure to harmful substances or environments led to 798 worker fatalities in 2021, the highest figure since the series began in 2011. This major event category experienced the largest increase in fatalities in 2021, increasing 18.8% from 2020. Unintentional overdose from nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol accounted for 58.1% of these fatalities (464 deaths), up from 57.7% of this category’s total in 2020.
Toyota Chief Says ‘Silent Majority’ Has Doubts About Pursuing Only EVs
resident Akio Toyoda said he is among the auto industry’s silent majority in questioning whether electric vehicles should be pursued exclusively, comments that reflect a growing uneasiness about how quickly car companies can transition. Auto makers are making big bets on fully electric vehicles, investments that have been bolstered by robust demand for the limited numbers of models that are now available.
Still, challenges are mounting—particularly in securing parts and raw materials for batteries—and concerns have emerged in some pockets of the car business about the speed to which buyers will make the shift, especially as EV prices have soared this year.
US States Raising Minimum Wage, with Four Above $15
Multiple states are raising their minimum hourly wages next month, with four boosting the minimum hourly rate to $15 or above at the start of the year: California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Washington. Inflation will boost the Golden State's hourly minimum wage to $15.50 and Washington state's minimum wage will increase to $15.74. Connecticut and Massachusetts will both raise wages to $15 an hour.
Washington, D.C., has the highest minimum wage in the country at $16.10 an hour and residents there voted to require employers to pay tipped employees $16.10 an hour, regardless of how much they earn in gratuity. In New York, employees will receive at least $14,20 an hour beginning on Dec. 31.
IBM: AI, Automation Curbs Data Breaches, Saves Money
According to a report by IBM, the global average cost of a data breach is $4.35 million, and the United States holds the title for the highest data breach cost at $9.44 million, more than double the global average.
In the same study, IBM found that organizations using artificial intelligence (AI) and automation had a 74-day shorter breach life cycle and saved an average of $3 million more than those without. As the global market for AI cybersecurity technologies is predicted to grow at a compound growth rate of 23.6% through 2027, AI in cybersecurity can be considered a welcome ally, aiding data-driven organizations in deciphering the incessant torrent of incoming threats.
Work in Review 2022: The Five Biggest Lessons of the Year
Although it’s true that we’ve learned more about what a pandemic-era workplace might look like, there's a lot we still don't know going forwards, particularly about working models and equality. Both employers and employees are still contending with a landscape that is anything but settled. And the power struggle over flexibility is still raging, even as the global economy takes a downturn.
Here’s what we’ve learned about work this year – and what it might tell us about what's coming in 2023.
COP15: Nations Reach 'Historic' Deal to Protect Nature
COP15, the UN’s biodiversity summit, concluded with a historic deal to protect 30% of the planet’s ecosystems by 2030 and raise up to $30bn in annual conservation aid for developing countries. The chair of the summit, Huang Runqiu, China’s environment minister, overruled an objection from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which wanted more support for developing countries, to push through the deal.
The main points include: Maintaining, enhancing and restoring ecosystems, including halting species extinction and maintaining genetic diversity. "Sustainable use" of biodiversity - essentially ensuring that species and habitats can provide the services they provide for humanity, such as food and clean water. Ensuring that the benefits of resources from nature, like medicines that come from plants, are shared fairly and equally and that indigenous peoples' rights are protected. Paying for and putting resources into biodiversity: Ensuring that money and conservation efforts get to where they are needed.