Member Briefing May 4, 2022

Posted By: Harold King Daily Briefing,

U.S. Job Openings, Total Quits Reach March Records in Tight Labor Market

The Labor Department on Tuesday reported a seasonally adjusted 11.5 million job openings in March, an increase from 11.3 million the prior month. The number of times workers quit their jobs rose to 4.5 million in the same month, slightly higher than the previous record in November of last year. Meanwhile, hiring cooled slightly from the month before to 6.7 million in March.

Average hourly earnings for workers in the private sector were 5.6% higher than the year before in March, rising significantly faster than the roughly 3% rate recorded the year before the pandemic began, according to the Labor Department. Employers have had difficulty hiring from the limited pool of available workers, and millions of employees are expected to remain on the sidelines indefinitely. Many people in the labor market also are finding they have gained leverage, making it easier to switch jobs.

Read more at the WSJ

Invasion of Ukraine Headlines

Hochul Picks Rep. Antonio Delgado to Run as Her Lt. Governor

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced she will appoint Rep. Antonio Delgado (NY-19) to fill out the rest of Brian Benjamin’s term as lieutenant governor. That will leave his upstate swing seat open at a time Democrats are desperate to hold onto the House, and with district lines in limbo in the state. Delgado will also be tapped to replace Benjamin on the primary ballot as he runs to win a full term as the state’s number two.

Hochul is expected to call a special election to fill Delgado’s empty upstate swing seat, where he had been expected to face a tough reelection.

Read more at City & State

4 Things to Know as the Fed Ahead of Today’s Fed Meeting

The Federal Reserve is about to deliver its biggest punch yet in the fight against surging inflation. Policymakers start a two-day meeting on Tuesday, and they are widely expected to raise interest rates by half a percentage point — the largest rate hike in more than two decades.

It’s a clear sign of the urgency with which the Fed is approaching inflation, as prices continue to climb at the fastest pace in 40 years. And the Fed won’t be done there. The central bank is likely to keep pushing borrowing costs higher in the months to come. Here’s a quick look at the Fed’s likely battle plan.

Read more at NPR


While daily COVID-19 incidence remains relatively low across the US, the 7-day moving average of new cases has increased by about 50% over the last month. In New York City, daily incidence jumped from about 600 daily cases in early March to nearly 2,500 new cases per day, with cases driven by the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron. While hospitalizations and deaths remain low, the city this week entered a higher risk level (medium, or yellow, for virus transmission). California also is experiencing a rise in cases, with the state recording a 30% increase in new COVID-19 cases over the last week, as well as a smaller increase in hospitalizations.

The rising case numbers coincide with relaxed public health measures and many states scaling back their frequency of COVID-19 data reporting to only once a week or every 2 weeks. These data reporting delays could produce misleading trends and hinder subsequent interventions. As the nation shifts its response from an acute emergency phase to a more long-term response, and as immunity from vaccination and natural infection wane, the country will continue to rely on these imperfect data to help inform individuals and jurisdictions about their current and future risks of contracting COVID-19.

Read more at The Jones Hopkins Center for Health Security

Pfizer Q1 Revenues Jump 77% to $25 Billion on COVID-19 Vaccine

Pfizer reported another quarter of huge revenues growth because of its COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, but lowered the company’s full-year profit forecast due in part to shifts in foreign exchange.  The drugmaker reported revenues of $25.7 billion for the first quarter, up 77 percent from the year-ago period, with the COVID vaccine taking in $13.2 billion. Net income jumped 61% to $7.9 billion.

Pfizer confirmed its full-year revenues forecast, in which about just over half of total sales stem from the Covid-19 inoculation and from Paxlovid, the company’s therapeutic to treat the coronavirus. The company, which has shipped some 3.4 billion doses of vaccine to 179 countries, has won regulatory approval for its shot in most age groups, but continues to study its use in children younger than five.

Read more at IndustryWeek

What We Know About the New Omicron Subvariants From South Africa, UK

New subvariants of omicron named BA.4 and BA.5 are sublineages of earlier omicron variants.  These new strains are estimated to have emerged in mid-December 2021 and have reached 50 percent of sequences in South Africa as of the first week of April. Cases are rising rapidly again in South Africa. These subvariants have also been detected in the U.S. and elsewhere at low levels. The subvariants do not currently seem to cause more severe disease than BA.2 and other omicron variants, according to the World Health Organization. However, officials think that the data suggest they may be more transmissible than BA.2. 

A study posted on a pre-print server over the weekend suggests that these two variants may be able to evade immunity acquired from an original omicron infection. The study hasn’t gone through the peer review process yet and has not yet been published in an academic journal. 

Read more at The Hill

New York On Track to Experience Energy Deficits of Ten Percent or More

A report from the Empire Center shows that The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) places New York communities at risk of devastating blackouts due to insufficient electricity levels, according to Cold & Dark, a new Empire Center study.

By the Climate Action Council’s own admission, “there are many weeks in the year when contributions from renewables and existing clean firm resources are not sufficient to meet demand.” Under these circumstances, an ill-timed blackout caused by a severe winter storm could lead to hundreds of deaths.

Read more at the Empire Center

10 Year Treasury Briefly Topped 3%

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield has broke above 3% for the first time since December 2018 as the Federal Reserve is poised to hike interest rates and shrink its balance sheet to fight inflation. The recent climb higher has weighed on stocks, which were more attractive when rates were low under the so-called TINA trade (there is no alternative). Higher rates have also pushed up borrowing costs on mortgages and other long-term loans, raising worries about economic growth and a possible recession.

“While it’s clear that this economy doesn’t need stimulative monetary policy, what is less clear is the speed at which this stimulus should be removed, and the reasons for choosing that speed,” said Alex Roever, U.S. rates strategist at J.P. Morgan.

Read more at Seeking Alpha

USCIS Announces Temporary Increase to EAD Automatic Extension Periods

The United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) has released a Temporary Final Rule (TFR) that is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, today, May 4, 2022, and which will be effective immediately upon publication. The TFR increases the automatic extension period for employment authorization and Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), available to certain categories of EAD renewal applicants, from 180 days to 540 days.

The TFR will help applicants to avoid a lapse in their employment authorization. According to the TFR, USCIS simultaneously is implementing backlog reduction plans for EAD processing, and plans to reduce the EAD processing time to 90 days. Moreover, the TFR states that those applicants who already filed an EAD renewal application and whose 180-day automatic extension previously expired, may return to work if they are still within the 540-day window following expiration of their prior EAD cards.

Read more at Harris Beach

A Republican Primary is Looking More Likely in Race for New York Governor

Republican officials in New York — from state Chairman Nick Langworthy to local members of the state Assembly — believe this year is their best chance in a generation to recapture the governor’s office, ending a 20-year statewide election drought in a very blue state.  Voters are increasingly concerned about public safety and crime, and a plurality of voters in a Siena College poll this week said they would prefer a generic “someone else” instead of giving Gov. Kathy Hochul a full term.

But a primary is likely looming for Republicans. Andrew Giuliani’s petitions passed the hearing on Friday, and so did those of former Westchester County Rob Astorino. The party’s nominee for governor in 2014, Astorino is now running as an outsider after Zeldin secured the overwhelming majority of the party’s delegates at the February convention. 

Read more at State of Politics

NY Democrats Seek Federal Appeal in Redistricting Case

Democratic officials are making a last-minute appeal to the federal courts after the top state court in New York rejected the lawmaker-drawn congressional maps as an unconstitutional gerrymander. The 17-page complaint alleges there is not enough time to draw new district lines, hold a June primary and comply with a federal law that requires timely access to military and overseas ballots. 

The state Court of Appeals decision last week rejected both the U.S. House districts as well as the state Senate maps. A June 28 primary scheduled for those races could be moved to Aug. 23 as a result. But the complaint alleged New York “is in no position to meet its obligation to redraw its congressional district in time to conduct its congressional primary on June 28.” 

Read more at State of Politics

A Great HR Resignation is Coming

The narrative of the Great Resignation or Great Reshuffling is well-worn at this point and yet no less real. Voluntary attrition rates during early 2022 have remained high, and many companies are still struggling to adjust. There’s also a side of the Great Reshuffling that many are overlooking—and it involves the very people they are depending on to navigate the path forward.

HR teams have been at the center of responding to COVID, managing layoffs during the downturn (often including much of the HR team itself), and transitioning to hybrid work. Now HR is at the center of hiring and retention challenges, and it’s driving massive demand for talent—job postings for HR are up more than 130 percent compared to pre-COVID, a larger increase than even software engineers.

Read more at HR Executive

Round XII Regional Economic Development Council Initiative Launched

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the launch of Round XII of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. Round XII includes core capital grant and tax-credit funding to be combined with a wide range of programs from 10 state agencies that will provide funding for prospective projects. As with Round XI, $150 million in grant funds from Empire State Development will be available to projects on a continuous basis, in order to be responsive to the immediate needs of communities.

Manufacturing continues to be a priority for the Mid-Hudson Region. 

Read the Announcement

SUNY Board of Trustees Appoints Dr. Darrell P. Wheeler as President of SUNY New Paltz

Upon the recommendation of the State University of New York Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley, the SUNY Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Darrell P. Wheeler as President of SUNY New Paltz. The statement was announced by the Board of Trustees and Chancellor Stanley and is effective July 18, 2022.

Dr. Darrell P. Wheeler currently serves as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Iona College. Prior to that, he served as Dean of the School of Social Welfare and Vice President for Public Engagement at the University at Albany, Dean for the School of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago, and has held academic positions at Hunter College, CUNY, Columbia University, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Wheeler received his Ph.D. in social work and MPH in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh, his MSW in health/mental health from Howard University, and his BA in sociology from Cornell College. He served in the United States Air Force and as an intern officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

Read the Press Release