JEDE COVID-19 Weekend Update - August 9, 2020, Edition

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Presidential Executive Orders on COVID:  The New York Times and other news organizations are reporting the US President Trump signed four executive orders that are intended to extend a federal moratorium on evictions, add flexibility to student loan payments, and renew additional assistance to unemployed workers.  At the time of publication, copies of the executive orders were not available. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/08/world/coronavirus-updates.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

  • COVID-19 Guidance for Colleges:  The California Department of Public Health released statewide interim guidance for institutions of higher education.  https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/OPA/Pages/NR20-187.aspx

  • Federal Open Market Committee:  Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement, which reiterated that the Fed is “committed to using its full range of tools to support the US economy in this challenging time, thereby promoting its maximum employment and price stability goals…  To support the flow of credit to households and businesses, over coming months the Federal Reserve will increase its holdings of Treasury securities and agency residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities at least at the current pace to sustain smooth market functioning, thereby fostering effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions.”    https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/monetary20200729a.htm

  • CA Spaceport:  The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development joined REACH, the 30th Space Wing, Cal Poly State University, and Deloitte to announce a commitment to develop a spaceport at Vandenberg Air Force Base and the surrounding area.  https://business.ca.gov/industries/aerospace-and-defense/#et-boc:~:text=Regional%20Initiative%3A%20Central%20Coast  According to the memorandum of understanding, the parties will develop a master plan that identifies the required infrastructure, human capital development, governance and financing necessary to support the US Space Force mission and position California as a global leader in the future of the commercial space industry.  https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/press-releases/landmark-agreement-unites-parties-in-boosting-commercial-space-operations-in-california.html?nc=1

  • Help for Formerly Incarcerated Individuals:  The National Employment Law Project released a FAQ on accessing COVID-19 resources for individuals who were formerly incarcerated.  https://www.nelp.org/publication/radical-inequality-records-recovery/

  • China and US Exchanges:  The US President’s Working Group on Financial Markets releases Report on Protecting United States Investors from Significant Risks from Chinese Companieshttps://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm1086 The report makes five recommendations: 

    • Enhance the listing standards of US exchanges to require access to work papers of the principal audit firm for the audit of the listed company or meet a modified related requirement.

    • Require enhanced and prominent issuer disclosures of the risks of investing in Non-Cooperating Jurisdictions.

    • Review the risk disclosures of registered funds that have exposure to issuers from Non-Cooperating Jurisdictions.

    • Encourage or require registered funds that track indexes to perform greater due diligence on an index and its index provider, prior to the selection of the index to implement a particular investment strategy or objective.

    • Issue guidance to investment advisers with respect to fiduciary obligations when considering investments in Non-Cooperating Jurisdictions, including China.

GOOD NEWS ABOUT SMALL BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FRIENDS

  • Banner Named to ULI Board:  Michael Banner, the President and CEO of the Los Angeles Local Development Corporation was named to the Urban Land Institute’s America Executive Committee by the ULI Global Board of Directors.  The mission of the Urban Land Institute is to provide responsible leadership in the use of land to enhance the total environment.  https://uli.org/americas-leadership/

“It is a great honor to reengage with America Executive Committee (“AEC”) having served as a Trustee and Chair of the Los Angeles District Council. I am anxious to join with my fellow colleagues in guiding ULI’s pathway forward into a much more diverse world,” Banner said.  “I am looking forward to the opportunity to expand my contribution to the Institute while continuing to provide my insights on the revitalization of underserved communities of colors.”

  • Ashley Swearengin and Van Ton-Quinlivan Named to California Forward Leadership Team: California Forward announced new leadership of its Leadership Council.  Ashley Swearengin and Van Ton-Quinlivan will become co-chairs of the Leadership Council in September 2020.  Swearengin is president and CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation and Ton-Quinlivan is CEO of Futuro Health.

DISASTER- AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE-RELATED LEGISLATION

  • Liability Relief:  A broad-based coalition of statewide, regional, and local business organizations are calling on the US Congress to include comprehensive liability relief in the next round of COVID-19 relief legislation.  https://nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/retailers-ask-senators-support-healthy-workplace-tax-credit Most recently, the coalition sent a letter, signed by 480 organizations, to members of the US Congress to support the liability protections in Senate Bill 4317, the “SAFE TO WORK Act."  https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/4317

  • Senate Rep COVID-19 Proposal:   The US Senate released their proposal for $1 trillion COVID-19 response package, called the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act.  NCSLS has prepared a detailed outline of the HEALS Act. (https://www.ncsl.org/ncsl-in-dc/publications-and-resources/heals-act-provision.aspx)  Among other provisions, the HEALS Act:

    • State and Local Funding:  Modifies the Coronavirus Relief Fund by expanding allowable uses of relief payments by states and local governments to include revenue shortfalls. To be able to use relief funds to cover revenue shortfalls, a government must certify that it has distributed at least 25% of the CRF funds it received to downstream governments. A government can use no more than 25% of relief funds to cover revenue shortfalls.

    • Direct Payments:  Authorizes another round of direct payments to individuals, including $1,200 for single taxpayers and heads of household, and $2,400 for those married filing jointly.  There are expanded definitions of dependents to include adult dependents, as defined.

    • WOTC Tax Credit:  Temporarily expands the work opportunity tax to employers hiring individuals in qualified groups, and would include a new targeted group defined as 2020 qualified COVID-19 unemployment recipients. The maximum credit would be expanded from $2,400 (40 percent of the first $6,000 of qualified first-year wages) to $5,000 (50 percent of the first $10,000 of qualified first year wages).

    • Refundable Payroll Tax:  Creates a new refundable payroll tax credit equal to 50% of an employer’s qualified employee protection expenses, including coronavirus testing, cleaning supplies, and protective personal equipment (PPE). The maximum amount of qualified expenses is $1,000 for each of the first 500 employees, plus $750 for each employee between 500 and 1,000, and $500 for each employee over 1,000. The credit would apply to expenses paid after March 12, 2020 and before January 1, 2021.

    • UI Payments:  Decreases FPUC payments from $600 per week to $200 per week through September 30, 2020. Beginning in October of 2020, payments would be replaced with an up to $500 benefit, when combined with the state UI payment, which both collectively would replace 70% of lost wages.  Very detailed proposal – Please read the NCSL summary.

    • Workforce Development:  Allows local workforce boards to use more of their existing funds on incumbent worker training or transitional jobs by authorizing 40% of funds provided under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to be used for either activity.

      • Authorizes additional funding ($500 million) for National Dislocated Worker grants, supporting apprenticeships, and Reentry Employment Opportunities program at the Department of Labor.

      • Appropriates $1.15 billion to states for the administration of state unemployment laws, including $450 million in WIOA State grants for adult, youth and dislocated state grants for states and communities to respond to layoffs and workforce impacts and $350 million for re-employment services, job search assistance, placement assistance for job seekers and services offered to employers such as referral of job seekers and special recruitment services.

      • Authorizes funding for a formula grant to states in order to support job training, including through activities authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act such as customized training, on the job training, Individual Training Accounts, or transitional jobs.

    • Safe and Healthy Workplace Tax Credit:  Creates a “Safe and Healthy Workplace” Tax Credit - a refundable payroll tax credit covering 50% of small businesses’ expenses on coronavirus-related safety measures such as COVID-19 testing for workers, protective personal equipment, cleaning supplies and spending on “qualified workplace technology expenses,” like contactless point-of-sale systems and contact tracing. Those refundable tax credits are also available to independent contractors, gig workers and self-employed workers

    • Liability Shield:  Provides a five-year protection plan protecting schools, non-profits, medical facilities and other organizations from coronavirus-related lawsuits.

    • 7(a) Small Business Funds:  Authorizes $100 billion in long term, low cost 7(a) small business loans to “recovery sector” businesses, which includes seasonal businesses and businesses located in low-income areas that have no more than 500 employees and can demonstrate at least a 50% reduction in gross revenue.

    • PPP Second Draw Funds:  Provides $190 billion of appropriated PPP funds to support PPP Second Draw Loans, which allows small businesses that have already accessed a PPP loan to take another one. Defines eligibility for PPP Second Draw Loans as businesses that have fewer than 300 employees and demonstrate a 50% reduction in gross revenues.  Sets aside $25 billion for businesses with fewer than 10 employees.  Sets aside $10 billion for loans made by community lenders.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY

DATA, SURVEYS, AND ANALYSES

  • State Unemployment Insurance Numbers Released:  EDD released unemployment insurance data for California for the week ending August 1.  https://edd.ca.gov/About_EDD/pdf/news-20-37.pdf   Among other information, the weekly UI report stated:

    • 399,335 UI and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims were filed for the week ending August 1.

    • Between March 14 and August 1, 8 million UI and PAU claims were filed with EDD.

    • $59.8 billion has been paid to out-of-work Californians since start of pandemic.

  • National Unemployment Data Released:  The US Bureau of Labor Statistics released state unemployment figures for July 2020, showing total US nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1.8 million and the unemployment rate fell to 10.2%.  Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality (1/3 of total increase), government, retail trade, professional and business services, other services, and health care. The labor force participation rate of 61.4% was substantially similar to June.  The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job declined by another 463,000 individuals in June, bringing the total number to 7.7 million individuals (2.8 million higher than in February.)  State-level data for July 2020 will be available on or around August 15 and the August 2020 data will be released September 6, 2020.

  • US Trade in Goods and Services:  The US Bureau of Economic Analysis released June 2020 data on US international trade in goods and services.  In June 2020 the US deficit decreased from $54.8 billion in May (revised) to $50.7 billion in June. The goods deficit decreased $4.0 billion in June to $72.2 billion. The services surplus increased $0.1 billion in June to $21.5 billion.  https://www.bea.gov/news/2020/us-international-trade-goods-and-services-june-2020

  • US Import and Export Price Index:  The US Bureau of Labor Statistics released import and export data for June 2020.  According to the report, the import price index continued to advance from its low mark in April 2020 (down -6.9% from the prior year) recording a 1.4% increase from May (-3.8% from the prior year).  Higher fuel prices (21.9%) accounted for this increase.  Prices for foods, feeds, and beverages were slightly down (0.1%), after increasing 2.3% in the previous month. The price index for US exports increased by 1.4% in June, which was the largest 1-month rise since a 1.5% increase in March 2011.  https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ximpim.pdf

  • Analysis of CA Trade Activity:  Beacon Economics released its monthly analysis of California trade activity. This report analyzes data released by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Division.  https://beaconecon.com/publications/california-trade-report/   “Exports in June continued to be battered by unfavorable tariffs overseas, weaker than normal foreign demand, and by failure in the United States to suppress and contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Although June's numbers are an improvement over May's, Beacon Economics does expect the trade outlook to be plagued by the pandemic into next year."

  • Household Pulse Survey:  The US Census Bureau released results from its weekly (July 9 through July 14) Household Pulse Survey.  Among other findings, the US Census reported: 

    • 51.1% of American adults live in households which have experienced a loss in employment income

    • 12.1% of Americans lived in households where there was either sometimes or often not enough to eat in the previous 7 days

    • 40.1% of adults had delayed getting medical care in the previous 4 weeks

    • On average, households spent $211.34 a week to buy food at supermarkets, grocery stores, online, and other places to be prepared and eaten at home

    • 26.5% of adults either missed last month’s rent or mortgage payment, or had slight or no confidence that their household could make the next payment on time

  • IRS Small Business Division Annual Report:  The IRS Small Business/Self Employed division released a new annual report covering the division’s FY 2019 activities, including enforcement priorities, virtual currency, and other topics.   https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p5409.pdf

  • Navigating the Financial Impact of COVID-19:  Prosperity Now conducted a national survey of lower-income households in June and July 2020 to better understand the circumstances these households are confronted with and the strategies they use to navigate this crisis. Prosperity Now released is first report based on the survey, How are the Most Vulnerable Households Navigating the Financial Impact of COVID-19?  https://prosperitynow.org/resources/how-are-most-vulnerable-households-navigating-financial-impact-covid-19

GRANTS

UPDATES ON COVID-19 RESPONSE AND RECOVERY PROGRAMS

US Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance

CA Loans (EIDL) Approved (as of 7/27)

469,484

Dollar Amount of CA Loans (EIDL) Approved       (as of 7/27)

$29,697,072,596

CA Loan Advances (EIDL) Approved (as of 7/15)

809,792

Dollar Amount of CA Loan Advances (EIDL) Approved (as of 7/15)

$2,666,662,000

Payment Protection Plan (as of 7/31)

608,970

Payment Protection Plan Approved (total) (as of 7/31)

$68,102,850,783

Great Plates Delivered (as of 8/4)

Meals served as of 8/4

5,683,026

Individuals Served This Week as of 8/4*

39,872

Food Providers Contracted as of 8/4*

703

*Data received from Great Plates Data Portal updated twice per week. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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