Member Briefing September 7, 2022

Posted By: Harold King Daily Briefing,

Mfg Day is October 7th – One Month Away 

MFG Day is manufacturing’s biggest annual opportunity to inspire the next generation to start careers in modern manufacturing through a series of focused events to promote manufacturing to students, parents and educators on the first Friday of October continuing throughout the rest of the month. 

Manufacturers across the region and the nation will be hosting events and inviting young people, as well as educators and policy makers to learn more about their businesses. Fair-Rite Products and the Council of Industry will host the Hudson Valley Focus Live Radio show from 6:00 – 9:00 am on October 7th. Guests will include Fair- Rite leadership and employees, educators and elected officials. Hudson Valley Focus Live is hosted by Tom Sipos on News Radio WKIP, Poughkeepsie 1450 am.  Others are in the works

War in Ukraine Headlines

Small Businesses are Still Desperate for Workers Even as Other Companies Slow Hiring 

Hiring at U.S. small businesses with fewer than 50 employees has slowed for five straight months, according to data from Paychex and IHS Markit, but ADP President Steve Mucci said that has more to do with a lack of applicants than a reflection of small businesses pulling back.

“For small businesses, the toughest thing is they have the demand, and they have the need for workers — they just have a little bit harder time finding it,” he said. That is counter to what is happening at some larger companies. In August, private payrolls grew by 132,000, a drop from the 268,000 gain seen in July, according to ADP’s monthly payroll report.

Read more at CNBC

Lawmakers Want to Hike New York’s Minimum Wage Rates Next Year – Index to Inflation

A coalition of state lawmakers and advocates will push in next year’s legislative session to raise the minimum wage incrementally over the next few years on three separate tiers – New York City, downstate (Long Island and Westchester) and upstate – until likely 2025, then peg the minimum wage to inflation annually thereafter. That kind of annual indexing is already done in 16 states and Washington, D.C.

A version of such a bill, introduced in the state Senate by Sen. Jessica Ramos, died in the previous legislative session – due largely, advocates said, to having been introduced late, with little time to promote it properly. The bill called for raising the minimum wage by 2025 to more than $20 in New York City, to $17.95 downstate and to $15.75 upstate – and then pegging those floors to inflation going forward.

Read more at City & State

US COVID – White House Signals Most People Will Only Need Annual COVID Booster

As part of its push to encourage vaccine-weary Americans to get the updated Covid shot, the White House put forth a new selling point Tuesday: to view it as a first annual shot, akin to the annual flu shot. The messaging from the White House — part of a briefing where health officials outlined the rollout of the new bivalent booster shots authorized last week — reflects another transition point in the country’s fight against the coronavirus. Federal health officials last month, for example, tossed out quarantine and certain testing guidelines.

“It is becoming increasingly clear, that looking forward with the Covid-19 pandemic, in the absence of a dramatically different variant, we likely are moving towards a path with a vaccination cadence similar to that of the annual influenza vaccine, with annual updated Covid-19 shots matched to the currently circulating strains for most of the population,” Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease official, said at the briefing.

Read more at STAT News

Scientists Say that Inhaled and Nasal Vaccines may be Needed to Beat Omicron –

Prominent scientists like Scripps Research executive vice president Eric Topol have called on the U.S. government to accelerate efforts to develop inhaled and nasal spray vaccines, believing that they may better target Omicron infections than injected jabs.

“Once [Omicron] gets in through our nasal mucosa, or our oral mucosa, upper airway. That’s game over [for] infection,” Topol said recently in a podcast with U.S. President Joe Biden’s former COVID-19 Response Coordinator Andy Slavitt. “The best way… to induce the mucosal immunity right at the upper airway is with either nasal or oral vaccines.

Read more at Fortune

China Approves First Inhaled Vaccine – “Convidecia Air”

China’s government approved the world’s first inhaled vaccine against COVID-19, the vaccine’s maker, CanSino Biologics, announced on Sunday.

In July, Chinese scientists published a pre-print study showing that people who received one booster dose of Cansino’s inhaled vaccine after two doses of the inactivated jab from Chinese maker Sinovac developed more antibodies than people who received three Sinovac shots. Four weeks after receiving the inhaled booster, 92.5% of people had developed neutralizing antibodies for Omicron.

Read more at Fortune

China Locks Down 65 Million, Discourages Holiday Travel

China has locked down 65 million of its citizens under tough COVID-19 restrictions and is discouraging domestic travel during upcoming national holidays.  Across the country, 33 cities including seven provincial capitals are under full or partial lockdown covering more than 65 million people, according to a tally published late Sunday by the Chinese business magazine Caixin.

Despite a relatively low number of infections, authorities have adhered to a “zero-COVID” policy requiring lockdowns, quarantines and the confining of people suspected of being in close contact with any confirmed case. China recorded 1,552 new cases in the latest 24-hour period across a nation of 1.4 billion people, the National Health Commission reported Monday.

Read more at the AP

China Cuts Banks’ Forex Reserve Requirement as Yuan hits 2-Year Low Against US Dollar

China has announced a cut to the foreign exchange reserves that banks must set aside, sending “a strong signal” to stem the recent depreciation of the yuan as the central bank warns the market not to bet against the currency. The People’s Bank of China said it would cut the foreign exchange reserve requirement ratio to 6 per cent from 8 per cent, effective September 15. The move is aimed at boosting dollar liquidity and improving the ability of financial institutions to use foreign exchange funds.

Still, as the yuan reached its weakest point against the US dollar in more than two years on Monday, China’s central bank downplayed concerns.

Read more at the South China Morning Post

Uncertainty Flattens Global Steel Output

Inflation, war, and regulation have a grip on manufacturing and construction spending worldwide, which has leveled steel production in most of the major producer nations.

Global steel production totaled 149.3 million metric tons during July, fairly even (-0.06%) with the June output but -6.4% less than the total for July 2021, as the world’s steelmakers adjust to decreased industrial and construction demands. Through the first seven months of 2022, global steel production has totaled 1.1 billion metric tons, which is -5.5% less than the January-July 2021 result.

Read more at American Machinist

July 2022 Auto Sales Report: Several Brands Slide, While Ford Sales Rally More Than 35%

High prices, supply issues and a relative lack of volume continue to hamper this year’s car sales. That frustrating reality remained in July, as some carmakers roll out the month’s delivery figures. While companies are keen to emphasize strong retail demand, the overall trend points downward for those companies that reported July delivery numbers – with one notable exception.

  • Production and supply chain issues continue to impact volumes in July.
  • Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Lexus, Mazda, Subaru, Toyota and Volvo all reported lower sales in July 2022, versus the same period last year.
  • There were a few gains, including Ford (up 35.5% month-over-month), Lincoln (up 64.5%) and Genesis (up 0.4%).
  • Some automakers (including General Motors and Stellantis) only report quarterly – those figures will be available in October.

Read more at The Fast Lane

OPEC+ Agrees To Small Oil Production Cut

OPEC and its allies led by Russia on Monday agreed a small oil production cut to bolster prices that have slid on fears of an economic slowdown. The oil producers will cut output by 100,000 barrels per day (bpd), amounting to only 0.1% of global demand, for October. They also agreed that OPEC’s leader Saudi Arabia could call an extraordinary meeting anytime if volatility persists. read more

The decision essentially maintains the status quo as OPEC has been observing wild fluctuations in oil prices. Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Monday the OPEC+ oil output cut was merely a reflection of expectations of a weaker global economic growth.

Read more at Reuters 

Germany to Delay Closure of Two Nuclear-Power Plants as Energy Crisis Bites

Germany will keep two of its three remaining nuclear-power plants online past their December shutdown deadline in an effort to buttress its power supply after Russia halted gas flows, the government said Monday. The decision, earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal, is a compromise between members of a government that includes nuclear-energy supporters and the Greens, a party that was born from the antinuclear movement.

The move, which will require new legislation and a vote in parliament, marks the latest policy U-turn for Germany, which has for decades pursued a policy of simultaneously phasing out nuclear power, coal and—soon—gas in a bid to transition Europe’s biggest economy to renewable energy.

Read more at the WSJ

Energy, Business, and Labor Groups in Agreement on Seven Principles to Responsibly Advance New York State’s Climate and Energy Goals

The Independent Power Producers of New York (IPPNY), The Business Council of New York State, the New York State AFL-CIO, and the New York State Building & Construction Trades Council have jointly developed a set of seven principles to address several shortcomings in the current version of the Scoping Plan drafted by the State’s Climate Action Council (CAC). 

  • Maintain safe, reliable, and resilient energy infrastructure.
  • Communicate impacts on energy consumers and businesses.
  • Create and retain high quality union jobs.
  • Leverage the power of markets to achieve decarbonization.
  • Reduce emissions from all sectors, including transportation and heating.
  • Promote development and maintenance of needed energy infrastructure.
  • Support fuel and technology diversity.

Read more at the Business Council 

California Power Grid Faces Biggest Blackout Risk of Year as Heat Wave Intensifies

California’s power grid, already strained for a week by record-breaking heat, was set to face its biggest test yet Tuesday as state officials warned residents to cut their energy use even further to avoid the threat of rolling blackouts. The California ISO said Monday the state needed residents to conserve two to three times more energy than they already have been to keep the power on. Otherwise, rotating outages or blackouts could gradually move through affected areas.

Officials have been asking people to conserve energy since last week, when a heat wave began unleashing triple-digit temperatures across the state. California narrowly avoided blackouts Monday, as conservation helped meet surging demand, according to the California Independent System Operator, which provides electricity to most of the state. Residents have used more power this week than at any time in recent years, it said.

Read more at the WSJ