Member Briefing October 9, 2023

Posted By: Harold King Daily Briefing,

September Employment Report: 336 thousand Jobs (MFG +17K), 3.8% Unemployment Rate

Employers added 336,000 jobs in September, the strongest gain since January and up sharply from the prior month’s upwardly revised 227,000 gain, the Labor Department said Friday. Job growth was also stronger in July than previously estimated. Not only was aggregate job growth impressively strong, but employment gains were broad-based across most industries. The employment diffusion index, a measure of hiring breadth across industries, jumped to 64.2, the highest reading since January. Leading the charge were leisure & hospitality (+96K) and government (+73K), two industries where payrolls are quickly closing in on their pre-COVID levels. Health care (+41K), professional, scientific & technical services (+29K) and manufacturing (+17K) also posted notable gains.

The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 62.8%. Many economists believe labor force growth will remain solid in the near-term as the still-strong jobs market pulls in workers and deteriorating finances give other workers a push. Average hourly earnings were softer than expected, up 0.2% in September. On a year on year basis, average hourly earnings have risen 4.2%—the slowest pace in more than two years.

Read more at The WSJ

War in Ukraine Headlines

Narrowing in Trade Deficit Likely to Boost Q3 GDP

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in August to its smallest since 2020. This is a continuation of a narrowing trend back toward something reminiscent of a pre-COVID normal. In the 2015-2019 period, the trade deficit averaged about $44 billion. At its widest point in early 2022, the trade deficit totaled more than $100 billion. The goods deficit decreased by $5.5 billion to $84.5 billion, while on the services side, the surplus swelled by another $1.0 billion to $26.2 billion.

Goods exports increased $3.1 billion, most of which was in exports of industrial products such as crude oil and fuel. U.S. firms also exported more capital goods and consumer goods products as well (chart). Exports of automobiles and parts were down sharply. On the goods imports side, the only category where U.S. firms imported more product during August was industrial supplies and materials. Every other major goods category saw imports fall in August. On balance, this is all a net positive for third quarter real GDP growth. The latest data suggest net exports are set to be a larger boost to third quarter growth than previously expected.

Read more at Wells Fargo

Factory Orders, Shipments Rose in August

New orders for manufactured goods increased in August after declining in July, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. New orders rose 1.2% in August following a 2.1% decrease the previous month. Factory orders for durable and nondurable goods increased 0.1% and 2.1%, respectively, but declines in nondefense aircraft and components pulled down durable goods demand. Excluding transportation equipment, new factory orders jumped 1.4%, rising for the third month in a row.

New orders for core capital goods—or nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, a proxy for capital spending in the U.S. economy—increased 0.9% to a record high of $73.95 billion in August. Factory shipments rose 1.3% in August, marking the fourth consecutive monthly increase. Total factory shipments have risen 0.5% over the past year, dipping 0.9% year over year when transportation equipment is excluded. Factory shipments excluding transportation equipment have increased 1.0% year to date. Shipments of core capital goods rose 0.7% in August, to an all-time high of $74.38 billion, reflecting 2.6% growth over the past 12 months.


COVID Update - CDC Stops Issuing New COVID Vaccination Cards

Wallet-friendly cards showing proof of COVID vaccinations served a purpose early in the pandemic, but they’re on their way out. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stopped printing the cards, likely changing how people track their shots in the future. The cards people have at home can still be used as proof of vaccination.

In many cases, the clinic, pharmacy or health department that provided the shot can provide those records. Every state and some cities have an immunization registry, though rules vary on when records are included and options for obtaining copies of your records. Records from the mass vaccination sites held early in the pandemic also should be available in those registries, depending on state laws. There is no national registry for immunization records.

Read more at AP


The Governor updated COVID data for the week ending September 29th.


  • Weekly: 106
  • Total Reported to CDC: 80,478


  • Average Daily Patients in Hospital statewide: 1,694
  • Average Daily Patients in ICU Statewide: 173

7 Day Average Cases per 100K population

  • 13.6 positive cases per 100,00 population, Statewide
  • 15.6 positive cases per 100,00 population, Mid-Hudson

Useful Websites:

First lady Jill Biden, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona Participate in DCC Mechatronics Lab Ribbon Cutting

The First Lady’s visit to the Hudson Valley Friday was at the grand opening of a first of its kind facility in the region – a new advanced manufacturing lab at DCC, funded in part by President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan and also with funds from the County, SUNY and Empire State Development. It was a chance for the first lady, an educator herself at Northern Virginia Community College, to promote the administration’s push to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. and upstate New York. The lab has been in the works for more than 2 years and was developed with input from Council of Industry members Onsemi, MPI, eMagin and IBM.

“The new Mechatronics lab will help students get the skills they need for the growing businesses right here,” she said. “Preparing them for careers, making everything from display screens to jet engines to semiconductors. And, like I said, as a community college professor myself, I am so excited to see how this work changes people's lives.” On a tour of the state-of-the-art lab was Dutchess Community College student Andrew Sciuto. The 19-year-old is excited about getting a hands-on, quality learning experience and eventually work in the industry. “It’s great that I can learn in such a nice environment with all this nice stuff, and new stuff, instead of, you know, trying to work with old junk from like 1990,” said Sciuto.

Read/Watch more at News12 Hudson Valley

After Hamas Attack US to Send Military Ships, Aircraft to Support Israel

The United States will send multiple military ships and aircraft closer to Israel as a show of support, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, with Washington believing Hamas' deadly attacks may have been motivated to disrupt a potential normalizing of Israel-Saudi Arabia ties. Hamas fighters rampaged through Israeli towns as the country suffered its bloodiest day in decades on Saturday. Israel battered Palestinians with air strikes in Gaza on Sunday, with hundreds reportedly killed on both sides. The spiraling violence threatens to start a major new war in the Middle East. At least three Americans were among those killed, CNN reported on Sunday, citing a U.S. memo.

Austin in a statement said he ordered the moving of the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the Eastern Mediterranean closer to Israel. The force includes the carrier, a guided missile cruiser and four guided missile destroyers. Austin also said the United States had also taken steps to augment U.S. Air Force F-35, F-15, F-16, and A-10 fighter aircraft squadrons in the region. He said the United States would also provide munitions to Israel.

Read more at Reuters

UAW Will Not Expand Strikes at Detroit Automakers After GM Proposal

President Shawn Fain said Friday that Ford, General Motors and Stellantis will all avert an expansion of the UAW’s work stoppages at this time, suggesting the unprecedented strikes against all three could be nearing an end. Fain said the union made that decision after a major breakthrough in talks with GM on a key bargaining goal concerning the future of auto jobs, as the automakers shift from traditional gas-powered cars to a lineup of EVs.

GM agreed to have the workers at its future EV battery plants be covered by the national labor agreement governing other UAW members at GM, Fain said, after the UAW threated an expansion of the strike to a GM plant in Arlington, Texas, that assembles the company’s full-sized SUVs. GM said in a statement Friday said negotiations are continuing with the UAW. “Our goal remains to reach an agreement that rewards our employees and allows GM to be successful into the future,” the company said.

Read more at CNN

As Mortgage Rates hit 7.5%, Applications Fall to Lowest Since 1995

A tough housing market for homebuyers got tougher as mortgage rates rose to their highest level since 2000, averaging 7.5% for a 30-year conventional loan this week, according to newly released data Thursday by Freddie Mac. The yield on the 10-year treasury bond, a benchmark for pricing an average 30-year loan that reached a 16-year high this week at 4.8%, was one of the main factors causing mortgage rates to climb, said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Not surprisingly, the swift climb in mortgage rates pushed more homebuyers out of the market. Mortgage applications decreased 6% from one week earlier and was 22% lower than the same week one year ago, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending Sept. 29. The median existing-home price for all housing types in August was $407,100, an increase of 4% from August 2022 ($391,700).

Read more at USA Today

NFIB: Unfilled Job Openings Increased in September

The labor shortage continues to hinder Main Street as 43% (seasonally adjusted) of all small business owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up three points from August. The percent of small business owners reporting labor quality as their top business operating problem remains elevated at 23%. Labor cost reported as the single most important problem for business owners increased one point to 9%, four points below the highest reading of 13% in December 2021. Overall, small firms have not been successful at adding to employment growth, and the major problem appears to be a lack of qualified applicants, even in the services sector which requires little technical training to fill a position.

Overall, 61% of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in September, up two points from August. Ninety-three percent of those hiring or trying to hire reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Seasonally adjusted, a net 36% of owners reported raising compensation. A net 23% of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months, down three points from August. Thirty-seven percent of owners have job openings for skilled workers and 18% have job openings for unskilled labor.

Read more at The NFIB

Delta, Southwest Search for Jet Engine Parts Sold With Forged Safety Records

The biggest U.S. airlines are searching for thousands of jet engine parts with fake safety certificates that were installed on their planes, an unusual incident that highlights the complexity and risks in the aerospace global supply chain. The spare parts, from simple nuts and bolts to more critical turbine blades, went into dozens of jet engines made by a General Electric joint venture during maintenance work. The engines were then installed back onto popular Boeing and Airbus airplanes, according to GE and safety officials.

The questionable parts have been found on 126 engines so far at a growing number of airlines. American Airlines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines have pulled aircraft from service. Delta Air Lines on Monday said it removed a small number of engines from service and is changing out parts to address the issue.  At the center of the scandal is a little-known broker of airplane parts, called AOG Technics. A lawsuit filed by General Electric and its engine partner Safran claims the small company used large-scale falsification of documentation to sell engine parts to airlines.

Read more at The WSJ

Energy Stocks and Crude Oil Prices Collapsed Last Week Amid New Concerns About Falling Energy Demand

International oil benchmark Brent crude tanked 5.1% to $86.26, falling to its lowest price since August 30, while domestic benchmark West Texas Intermediate also fell 5%. The slide came after JPMorgan strategists warned “demand destruction” has begun for the commodity globally and the Energy Information Administration revealed U.S. demand for gasoline declined 5% year-over-year during the four-week period ending Friday.

Lower oil prices are likely to make their way to the pump in the coming weeks, and the average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S., $3.74 per GasBuddy, is at its lowest level in two months. According to the EIA over the past four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied averaged 8.3 million barrels a day, down by 5.0% from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied averaged 3.9 million barrels a day over the past four weeks, up by 4.8% from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied was up 10.6% compared with the same four-week period last year.

Read more at Forbes

Weekly Jobless Claims in the U.S. Increased Slightly to 207,000 Last week

Initial filings for unemployment benefits totaled a seasonally adjusted 207,000 for the week ended Sept. 30, up just 2,000 from the previous period and below the Dow Jones consensus estimate for 210,000. Continuing claims, which run a week behind, were little changed at 1.664 million, below the 1.68 million estimate from FactSet. The four-week moving average of claims, which irons out volatility, fell to 208,750, a decline of 2,500.

The report comes at a critical time for the economy as the Federal Reserve considers the future of monetary policy. Central bank officials worry that continued tightness in the labor market could exert upward pressure on inflation and necessitate additional interest rate hikes.

Read more at CNBC

Super Batteries Will Transform the Performance of EVs

Asked what they most want from an electric car, many motorists would list three things: a long driving range, a short charging time and a price competitive with a similarly equipped vehicle that has an internal-combustion engine. To help with those goals, carmakers have been looking for ways to replace the traditional lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries that power most modern electric vehicles (evs) with more advanced “solid-state” versions. These new types of super batteries have long promised faster charging and much greater driving range. Finally, after years of technical problems, efforts to make them are coming to fruition, with the first solid-state Li-ion batteries due to go into production within the next few years.

By itself, a solid electrolyte does not necessarily improve the performance of a battery. But it does allow a Li-ion battery, for example, to be redesigned so that it can be made even smaller and lighter, and thus pack more energy into less space. It also allows engineers to broaden the range of materials which they can use to produce a Li-ion battery and tinker with how it works.

Read more at The Economist

Registered Apprenticeships are Having a Moment

There has been — and continues to be — a real hunger for skilled workers in this economy. Today, the Biden administration released a playbook suggesting investments states and municipalities can make in training those workers. There’s about $11 billion in American Rescue Plan funds to make it happen. One recommendation is to invest in registered apprenticeships. They’ve been around since the 1930s, but are having, as they say, a moment.

Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said they also help move workers off the sidelines and into the labor force. In the Milwaukee area, Amber Riskey is “Fixing small equipment or small engines, and, you know, hoisting and rigging — they want you to be well rounded,” she said. “So if you’re out of work, they can put you in a different field.” Riskey is one of more than 850,000 registered apprentices nationwide, all in programs that meet standards set by the Department of Labor. That’s nearly double the number from a decade ago. It feels good,” she said. “It feels really good.” And she said, she’s interested in mentoring future apprentices.