American Economy Added 199,000 Jobs in the Month of December 2021

U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh issued the following statement on the December 2021 Employment Situation Report:

“Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the American economy added 199,000 jobs in the month of December, and the unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, down from 4.2 percent in November. This marks the first time unemployment has been under four percent since the pandemic began, and the largest ever one-year drop in the unemployment rate on record. With strong, steady job growth every month of the Biden-Harris Administration, we added 6.4 million jobs in 2021, reaching 84 percent of the jobs lost at the start of the pandemic recovered, and empowering workers to secure higher wages, especially for low wage workers. 

“In the Department of Labor, we are focused on building an inclusive recovery that lifts up all workers and communities, and that means identifying and addressing persistent inequities as reflected in an increase in Black unemployment in December. We are investing in equity and diversity in job training programs and career services, strengthening health and safety, wage and anti-discrimination protections for the most vulnerable workers, and making sure the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law creates good jobs for every community. We are devoted to empowering all workers morning, noon and night.

“This work is especially important as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 impacts communities across the country this month, including many workers and workplaces. We have the tools to keep people safe, including mask guidance, increased testing capacity, and vaccines that work to prevent severe illness. I urge anyone who is eligible and has not received a vaccine or a booster yet to visit vaccines.gov and find a vaccination site near you. And I urge all employers to provide the flexibility and support necessary to help workers get vaccinated, protect their health, and continue our historic, worker-centered recovery.”

Labor Secretary Walsh reacts to brand new jobs report, Economy added 210,000 jobs in the month of November

WASHINGTON .D.C., Dec 3rd U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh issued the following statement on the November 2021 Employment Situation Report:

“Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the American economy added 210,000 jobs in the month of November, and the unemployment rate was 4.2 percent, down from 4.6 percent in October. With more people entering the job market and an unemployment rate approaching pre-pandemic levels three years ahead of projections, the Biden-Harris Administration continues to deliver a historic, worker-centered recovery. We are committed to an inclusive recovery and among the highlights of this report were major reductions in the unemployment rates for Black workers, Hispanic workers, and workers with less than a high school diploma. ”

“The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will drive more job growth in the months and years ahead, and at the Department of Labor we are focused on making sure those new jobs are good jobs with access for all through proven pathways like Registered Apprenticeship. Moving forward, the President’s Build Back Better plan is the key to both reducing the biggest costs working families face and increasing equity in our labor market by investing in the care needs that keep so many women, especially Black women, from fully participating in our economy. We are committed to supporting all workers and their families morning, noon and night. ”

“As the holiday season begins, to stay safe and keep our economy moving forward I urge everyone to remain vigilant about COVID transmission and committed to getting yourself and your family vaccinated and boosted as soon as you are eligible.”

Gina Raimondo Meeting with Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hagiuda Koichi

Today, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hagiuda Koichi held an introductory meeting via teleconference.

The Secretary congratulated the Minister on his recent reappointment by the Prime Minister. The Secretary and Minister discussed opportunities to grow the U.S.-Japan commercial relationship. They also discussed collaborative efforts to improve supply chain resilience and cooperation on digital technology. The Secretary also thanked the Minister for his efforts to encourage continued Japanese investment in the United States and for the strong participation from Japanese investors at the SelectUSA Investment Summit.

Manufacturing Continues to be Among Top Five Largest Employment Sectors

It’s no secret the manufacturing sector has a major impact on the U.S. economy, and every year Manufacturing Week offers an opportunity to recognize this sector’s significant impact on the nation. Manufacturing Week is designed to coincide with Manufacturing Day, which has been held the first Friday in October since 2011.

U.S. Census Bureau’s 10th-anniversary celebration of Manufacturing Week.

Manufacturing Week expands upon the traditional Manufacturing Day launched by the Manufacturing Institute in 2011. The Census Bureau is celebrating the 10th anniversary by providing a worth of rich content & statistics that inform businesses and policymakers.

Gina Raimondo Announces $3 Billion Investment in America’s Communities

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) will implement a series of programs, collectively called Investing in America’s Communities, to equitably invest the $3 billion it received from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act to help communities across the country build back better. The EDA investment is the largest economic development initiative from the Department of Commerce in decades.

Later today, Secretary Raimondo will address the White House Briefing Room to further lay out the Biden Administration’s vision for how this historic investment will help every community not only rebuild their local economy but also reimagine it for the future.

“President Biden’s American Rescue Plan delivered direct relief to the American people and was the first step to energizing the American economy following the devastating impacts of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Secretary Raimondo. “Now, its medium-term investments will allow communities around the country not only rebuild but reimagine their economy for the future.”

“With an emphasis on equity, EDA’s investments made possible by the American Rescue Plan will directly benefit communities that have been denied full access to economic prosperity and who have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” Secretary Raimondo continued. “We will work with local communities across the country on innovative new approaches to ensure that we can increase American competitiveness by strengthening our workforce, businesses, and communities and build back better in regions across the country.”

Investing in America’s Communities, was launched today with six Notices of Funding Opportunity:

  • Build Back Better Regional Challenge ($1 billion)
  • Good Jobs Challenge ($500 million)
  • Economic Adjustment Assistance Challenge ($500 million)
  • Indigenous Communities Challenge ($100 million)
  • Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Grants ($750 million)
  • Statewide Planning, Research, and Networks Grants ($90 million)

As part of the six programs, the Department of Commerce and EDA, working with President Biden’s Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities, is making a Coal Communities Commitment, which allocates $300 million in American Rescue Plan funds to coal communities. This investment will ensure that they have the resources to recover from the pandemic and will help create new jobs and opportunities, including through the development or expansion of a new industry sector.

The American Rescue Plan funding empowers EDA to build upon its greatest strength—flexible funding to support community-led economic development—and provide larger, more transformational investments across the nation. Under the American Rescue Plan, EDA will make grants to state and local governmental entities, institutions of higher education, not-for-profit entities, unions, and Tribes. EDA is not authorized to provide grants to individuals or for-profit entities.

America’s Strong Marine Economy Vital to Building Back Better

America’s marine economy contributed about $397 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product in 2019 and grew faster than the nation’s economy as a whole, according to the most current results of the first official Marine Economy Satellite Account released today by two Department of Commerce agencies.

“America’s strong marine economy is absolutely vital for building back better,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “President Biden sees the immense value and potential of strengthening America’s blue economy, and this administration will continue to take actions to combat the climate crisis, conserve our oceans, and protect our coastal communities.”

“These statistics show how powerful America’s blue economy is as a driver of jobs, innovation and economic growth,” said Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator. “This information will assist our nation’s economic recovery by helping policymakers, industry advocates, and organizations track and accelerate investments in target markets.”

For these statistics, experts from NOAA and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) described 10 sectors representing businesses dependent on the nation’s oceans, coasts and Great Lakes between the years 2014 and 2019. Marine-related gross domestic product grew 4.2% from 2018 to 2019, faster than the 2.2% growth of the total U.S. gross domestic product as measured in inflation-adjusted dollars. Businesses included in the report also generated a total of $665.7 billion in sales and supported 2.4 million jobs in 2019.

The 10 sectors ranked by their sales are:

  • Tourism and recreation, including recreational fishing ($235 billion)
  • National defense and public administration ($180 billion)
  • Offshore minerals ($93 billion)
  • Transportation and warehousing ($64 billion)
  • Commercial Ship and boat building ($31 billion)
  • Living resources, including commercial fishing and aquaculture ($27 billion)
  • Utilities ($12 billion)
  • Research and education ($10.4 billion)
  • Construction ($7.0 billion)
  • Professional and technical services ($6.3 billion)

“These statistics are further proof that our waters are vital for America’s economy,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, acting director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “It is nearly impossible to go a single day without eating, wearing, or using items that come from or through our ports and coastal communities.”

Last year, NOAA and BEA released the Ocean Economy Prototype statistics which covered 2014-2018 and were the most comprehensive measurement of the marine economy at the time. This year’s statistics offer improved national estimates for ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes-related economic activity by major sector, accounting for inflation. 

NOAA Predicts Another Active Atlantic Hurricane Season

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. However, experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020. 

For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected. NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through November 30. 

“Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The experts at NOAA are poised to deliver life-saving early warnings and forecasts to communities, which will also help minimize the economic impacts of storms.”

Last month, NOAA updated the statistics used to determine when hurricane seasons are above-, near-, or below-average relative to the latest climate record. Based on this update an average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which 7 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.

El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are currently in the neutral phase, with the possibility of the return of La Nina later in the hurricane season. “ENSO-neutral and La Nina support the conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era,” said Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Predicted warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon will likely be factors in this year’s overall activity.” Scientists at NOAA also continue to study how climate change is impacting the strength and frequency of tropical cyclones.  

“Although NOAA scientists don’t expect this season to be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to devastate a community,” said Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator. “The forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are well-prepared with significant upgrades to our computer models, emerging observation techniques, and the expertise to deliver the life-saving forecasts that we all depend on during this, and every, hurricane season.”

In an effort to continuously enhance hurricane forecasting, NOAA made several updates to products and services that will improve hurricane forecasting during the 2021 season.

  • In March, NOAA upgraded the flagship Global Forecast System (GFS) to improve hurricane genesis forecasting and coupled GFS with a wave model extending ocean wave forecasts from 10 days out to 16 days. Additionally, Global Positioning Satellite Radio Occultation (GPS-RO) data are now included in the GFS model, providing an additional source of observations to strengthen overall model performance.
  • Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are now using an upgraded probabilistic storm surge model — known as P-Surge — which includes improved tropical cyclone wind structure and storm size information that offers better predictability and accuracy. This upgrade extends the lead time of P-Surge forecast guidance from 48 to 60 hours in situations where there is high confidence. 
  • NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory will deploy its largest array of air and water uncrewed systems to gather data designed to help improve hurricane intensity forecasts and forecast models. New drones will be launched from NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft that will fly into the lower part of hurricanes, and in the ocean, saildrones, hurricane gliders, global drifters, and air-deployable technology — called ALAMO floats — will track various parts of the life cycle of tropical storms.

Last year’s record-breaking season serves as a reminder to all residents in coastal regions or areas prone to inland flooding from rainfall to be prepared for the 2021 hurricane season. 

NOAA also issued seasonal hurricane outlooks for the Eastern and Central Pacific basins, and will provide an update to the Atlantic outlook in early August, just prior to the peak of the season.

PBGC Announces New Inspector General Appointment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) announced the appointment of Nicholas J. Novak as the agency’s Inspector General. In his 35-year career, Novak spent nearly 20 years holding various positions within PBGC’s Office of Negotiations and Restructuring (ONR) and the agency’s Office of the Inspector General. Novak’s ONR portfolio included supervising aspects of the Multiemployer Pension Insurance Program. He most recently served as PBGC’s Acting Inspector General since April 2020.

“I know that Nick shares my commitment to ensuring PBGC and everyone at the agency operate ethically and effectively,” PBGC Director Gordon Hartogensis said. “I look forward to continuing our work together as he takes on the role of Inspector General.”

As Inspector General, Novak will continue to oversee independent audits and investigations, provide guidance to improve the agency’s business practices, and execute procedures to prevent and detect fraud. Novak reports directly to PBGC’s Board of Directors and Congress to help improve and maintain the integrity of PBGC’s programs and operations.

A proven public servant, he previously worked at the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service, the Government Publishing Office, and in the private sector.

He is a certified public accountant and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Maryland.

About PBGC
PBGC protects the retirement security of over 35 million American workers, retirees, and beneficiaries in both single-employer and multiemployer private-sector pension plans. The agency’s two insurance programs are legally separate and operationally and financially independent. PBGC is currently responsible for the benefits of about 1.5 million people in failed pension plans and receives no taxpayer dollars. The Single-Employer Insurance Program is financed by insurance premiums, investment income, and assets and recoveries from failed single-employer plans. The Multiemployer Insurance Program is financed by insurance premiums and investment income. For more information, visit PBGC.gov.

U.S. and Singapore Sign MOU on Trade Financing and Investment Cooperation

The United States of America (U.S.) and Singapore have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to deepen economic cooperation and extend trade financing and investment support to companies in Singapore and the U.S. The MOU was signed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing.

“The U.S. and Singapore have enjoyed more than fifty years of official partnership since we established diplomatic ties in 1966,” said Secretary Ross. “This MOU will help Singapore importers finance the purchase of U.S. exports and support Singapore investors looking at opportunities in the U.S.”

Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said, “As like-minded partners, Singapore and the U.S. are committed to supporting our businesses as they respond to the global economic disruptions caused by COVID-19. Through this MOU, we will facilitate company investments into Singapore and the U.S., and help businesses access more trade financing facilities. We also look forward to catalysing greater trade and investment flows between the U.S., Singapore, and Southeast Asia, and enabling our companies to continue trading and accessing opportunities in these challenging times.”

The U.S. and Singapore are like-minded and longstanding partners with a strong record of economic cooperation. Recognising the significant global tightening of credit following the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the MOU aims to enhance the availability of and access to trade financing options for U.S. and Singapore companies. The MOU will also facilitate bilateral trade in goods and services to enhance our respective regions’ growth opportunities. In addition, the MOU seeks to strengthen cooperation on investment promotion and provide opportunities for both countries to explore the use of technology (e.g. FinTech) to address new trade financing and investment challenges.

The renewable, two-year MOU will be overseen by the U.S. Department of Commerce and Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry. The MOU will also be supported by implementing agencies, including the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., the U.S. Commercial Service in Singapore, and Enterprise Singapore.

The MOU is the latest tangible result of the robust economic and investment partnership between the U.S. and Singapore. The U.S. is Singapore’s largest foreign investor, while Singapore was the fourth-largest Asian investor in the U.S. in 2019. Both countries are committed to working together towards a stronger post-COVID-19 economic recovery. Our continued partnership will help to facilitate bilateral trade and investments and ensure that our companies are well positioned to tap into growth opportunities in our respective markets and regions.

Remarks by Wilbur L. Ross at the Manufacturer & Business Association Roundtable in Erie, Pennsylvania

Thank you, Mark, for that kind introduction, and for hosting us here at the MBA Conference Center. And congratulations on 115 years of your company providing goods and services to the many generations of industrial firms that have benefited from your longevity. It says a lot about your company culture for it to have weathered countless downturns, big changes in technology, and the rise of global competitors. That’s quite an achievement.

Thank you also, John, for hosting us, and a special thanks to your members. Your organization is essential in helping companies connect with each other and to national networks to solve mutual problems. I know this is especially important in these challenging times.

We need more organizations like yours promoting the benefits of manufacturing and industry to the U.S. economy. Since fostering economic growth is job number-one for all of us, today is significant for American producers.

July 1 is the first day that the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement enters into force – and this ground-breaking trade agreement couldn’t come at a better time. It fortifies the world’s largest trading block, and it provides American companies with a level playing field on our own continent for the first time since 1994. USMCA is the result of President Trump’s unwavering commitment to rebalance U.S. trade in favor of American producers and American workers. The agreement should be of particular help to Pennsylvania, the country’s tenth largest exporting state, and the backbone of our manufacturing economy.

Last year, Pennsylvania’s exports to Canada and Mexico topped $15 billion, representing 36 percent of the state’s total global exports. USMCA’s new rules of origin will help rebuild U.S. production that was outsourced to Asia, and it will go a long way to re-establishing domestic supply chains in many industrial sectors. USCMA increases North American content of vehicles to 75 percent, and it requires that up to 45 percent of the value of passenger cars be made by workers earning an average base-wage of at least $16 an hour.

Now, we finally have an agreement that levels the playing field for American workers. With the economic lockdowns required by the coronavirus pandemic, the last three-and-a-half months have not been easy for anyone.

More than 15,000 workers have been furloughed in Erie, 10 percent of whom were employed in manufacturing. Thankfully, most manufacturers have been proactive ─ and creative ─ in re-engineering production lines to protect their employees. Many have switched to producing life-saving PPE, and we are grateful for your doing so. As a result, there have been far fewer layoffs in manufacturing than in many service sectors.

We also hope the worst of the downturn is behind us. May’s job numbers were encouraging, as nearly 200,000 Pennsylvanians returned to work, with more than 25,000 of them headed back into manufacturing plants. Moreover, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate remained below the national average.

One hopeful sign for a speedy recovery is reflected in the U.S. savings rate that has increased to 23.1 percent. Total bank deposits have jumped by $2.1 trillion during the past four months. It means that our financial institutions are sound, as compared to 2008. And as the economy opens with pent-up demand, these consumer savings will be spent in local businesses with more workers being rehired. Already, we are seeing healthy and record increases in retail sales.

Your region’s commitment to manufacturing should bode well for a strong recovery. As the one-time “Boiler and Engine Capital of the World,” Erie now supports more than 18,000 manufacturing jobs. At 17 percent of the local labor force, this is double the national average of 8.5 percent.

In the global competition for jobs and industries, Erie has many advantages, including:

• Your central location between major metropolitan areas;

• Your eight Opportunity Zones that will generate new investment in the downtown area.

• Your skilled workforce and excellent education and training institutions such as Penn State Erie, the Erie Business Center, and many others;

• The fact that you have such a diverse group of industries within your midst;

• An attractive cost of living and the availability of affordable housing;

• And an incredible setting overlooking one the world’s largest and most pristine fresh-water lakes.

• We hear there is a healthy stock of more than 100 million two-year-old walleye in Lake Erie right now ready to be caught by anglers.

You also have some great employers. Wabtec generated $2.7 billion in economic activity in Erie County alone, and the plastics industry has emerged as an economic force, with 10 percent of the nation’s plastics either manufactured or finished in Erie. I look forward to touring one of your area’s outstanding manufacturers later this morning, when we visit 91-year-old Howard Industries.

Now, I am eager to hear your ideas on how we can work together to accelerate our economic recovery, re-shore our industries, and generate thousands of great jobs for the workers of Erie and Northwestern Pennsylvania.

Thank you.