President Trump signed an executive order that expands the Hispanic Prosperity Initiative.
The U.S. Economy added 4.8 million jobs in June, which sets the all-time jobs gain record for the second month in a row, according to a report released this morning by the U.S. Department of Labor.
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced $2.5 billion funding for COVID-19 smackdown of small businesses in his state.
WASHINGTON, June 17, 2020 – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that David J. Byrd will be the new National Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). Mr. Byrd will be the 18th National Director of the agency.
Established by an Executive Order in 1969, MBDA is the only Federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority-owned businesses.
“David’s vast experience in public service and as an entrepreneur are true assets to MBDA and the Department of Commerce,” said Secretary Ross. “In his new role, I fully expect him to continue to provide the type of leadership that will lay the foundation to usher in the next 50 years of opportunities and growth for minorities as well as the country as a whole.”
Mr. Byrd is originally from New Jersey and has served in many public service roles over the years at the local, state and federal levels. Several years ago, Byrd was named by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the “10 Black Republicans You Probably Don’t Know but Should.”
Mr. Byrd joined MBDA in October 2019 as the National Deputy Director responsible for overseeing the day-to-day departmental operations and establishing a streamlined information portal to track Agency milestones and program execution. As MBDA National Director, Mr. Byrd will oversee the development and implementation of Agency initiatives, policy agenda, and federal grant programs.
“I am honored to be selected by Secretary Ross to lead the Minority Business Development Agency”, said Mr. Byrd. “I am proud to take the helm as the National Director following several of my career mentors who were instrumental in shaping the mission and strategic direction of MBDA since its founding in 1969. I look forward to continuing the Agency’s work ensuring the resiliency and growth of America’s minority-owned firms today, tomorrow, and for future generations of minority entrepreneurs.”
Prior to accepting the fourth presidential appointment of his career at MBDA, Mr. Byrd served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Policy Development, at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. His more than 28-year career in public service has included executive positions at the county, state, and federal levels. Mr. Byrd is also an experienced entrepreneur who owned and operated a consulting firm specializing in government relations, political consulting, executive and life skills coaching.
By Staff Writers and U.S. Department of Commerce Press Release
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Consumer Price Index (CPI) is stabilizing, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for May 2020. Prices declined by only 0.1% in May, compared to the more dramatic declines of 0.4% and 0.8% in March and April, respectively.
Represents the biggest monthly jobs gain ever recorded
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Economy added 2.5 million jobs in May, which is the biggest gain ever recorded, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. These job gains coincided with the widespread lifting of COVID-19 lockdowns and the limited resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April. These additional jobs caused a drop in the unemployment rate from 14.7% down to 13.3%.
Women benefited more than men in the May jobs recovery, according the report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Unemployment among adult female workers decreased by 13.9%, compared to an 11.6% drop for adult male workers.
The industries that were the big winners in May were:
- Leisure and hospitality (+1,200,000 jobs)
- Construction (+464,000)
- Education and health (+424,000)
- Retail (+368,000)
- Other Services (+272,000)
- Manufacturing (+225,000)
The industries that continued to be challenged in May were:
- Government (-585,000 jobs) – most of those losses consist of public education workers
- Information (–38,000)
- Mining (-20,000)
President Trump reacted very positively to the news, as expected. “We’re bringing our jobs back,” said Trump at a White House press conference this morning. “We’ll go back to having the greatest economy anywhere in the world, nothing close.”
Most economists agree that the economy hit bottom on our about April 15th.
Jason Furman, who is currently an economics professor at Harvard and was previously President Obama’s chief economist has praise for the Trump administration’s initial handling of the COVID-19 economic aftermath, but some reservations about whether Trump will stay the course in providing the required additional stimulus. “One reason for optimism: the fiscal and monetary response to this crisis has been better than any previous crisis,” tweeted Furman. “One reason for pessimism: people who misunderstand the above and want to stop the response when more is needed.”
It should be noted that lockdown restrictions have only been partially lifted in most areas, and that the lifting only began in earnest in the middle of May. Thus, June could have much larger job gains. There is still a long way to go before America recovers to the employment levels before COVID-19. February 2020 represented the peak employment, at 158.8 million civilians employed. Due to the shutdown of the economy, the number of civilians employed bottomed out at 133.4 million in April of 2020. With the latest May additions, the current number of employed is 137.2 million.
Even though May’s increase is the largest monthly employment increase ever recorded, we still have a long to go before we get back to the levels before COVID-19. Nevertheless, the fact that the U.S. economy added 2.5 million jobs in May indicates that the economic recovery seems to be off to a good start. This is earlier than most of us had predicted the recovery would begin, so it can only be seen as very good news.
By Craig R. Everett, PhD. Opinions are solely my own. To follow me or add me as a friend on Bigwigg, please visit my Profile Page.
Dr. Everett is a finance professor at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, where he teaches entrepreneurial finance and private capital markets.
There was considerable outcry from COVID-19 lockdown advocates when certain states decided to reopen early. Their argument was that COVID-19 cases would spike, resulting in a large increase in deaths. But the spike in infections of COVID-19 in reopened states did not happen.
The logic of the pessimistic predictions was understandable. If the purpose of the lockdowns was to “flatten the curve” then it was reasonable to assume that removing the lockdowns would “bulge the curve.”
According to a tweet by ABC News lead medical reporter Eric Strauss, ABC reviewed the stats from 21 states that lifted or eased their lockdowns on or before May 4, 2020 and found no spike in infections. Strauss based his statement on research done by fellow ABC reporter Ariel Mitropoulos (Twitter handle @AMitrops).
“JUST IN: [ABC News] looked at 21 states that eased restrictions May 4 or earlier & found no major increase in hospitalizations, deaths or % of people testing positive in any of them. [SC, MT, GA, MS, SD, AR, CO, ID, IA, ND, OK, TN, TX, UT, WY, KS, FL, IN, MO, NE, OH] via @AMitrops,” tweeted Strauss on May 28.
These results imply that perhaps medical professionals still do not fully understand how COVID-19 is spread. If implementing the lockdowns actually worked in reducing the spread of the disease, then lifting the lockdowns should have had the opposite effect. If we aren’t seeing large outbreaks with the easing of restrictions, then people are reasonably asking why we had the lockdowns in the first place.
Regarding the progress being made against the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp stated, “We remain encouraged by the numbers that we are seeing in testing, hospitalizations, and a wide variety of other data points from across the state.” Kemp continued, “We are also encouraged by the new treatment being rolled out for patients in Georgia in partnership with the Trump administration. This week, the Department of Public Health will distribute over 18,000 vials of Remdesivir to eighty-five hospitals across the state.” Georgia was one of the first states to start reopening.
Despite the lack of major outbreaks, it hasn’t been a completely smooth reopening everywhere. For example, Texas is currently fighting a surge in infections in the city of Amarillo. “Here in Texas, we have implemented a strategy that enables Texans to get back to work while mitigating further spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott. “Amarillo is an example of this strategy in action, and our surge response teams have done a tremendous job in containing the hot spots within the Amarillo community and protecting health and safety. As we continue in our efforts, we are committed to prioritizing public health while safely and strategically opening the state.”
Many people across America and the world are experiencing considerable anxiety over the prospect of lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Hopefuly this report by ABC News will help reduce some of their stress.
As of the writing of this article, ABC News had not yet published their research.
By Sterling Szymanski. Opinions are my own. To follow me or add me as a friend on the Bigwigg Social Network, please visit my Profile Page.
On Bigwigg there is no shadow-banning or ideological censorship. Join Bigwigg today for free and invite your patriotic friends.
By Dr. Craig Everett
I am a finance professor and a firm believer in free market capitalism, so my thoughts in this article regarding the drawbacks of free trade may upset some of my academic colleagues. This is because there is a very widely held belief among economists that free trade is always a good thing. My scandalous proposition is that free trade is mostly a good thing.
The standard argument is that any barriers to international trade (like tariffs, for example) create a friction that shrinks economic activity. This is bad. Removing tariffs, on the other hand, lubricates international trade and both economies grow. This is good.
But it’s not quite that simple. What many people don’t realize is that free trade generally benefits smaller countries much more than the big ones. The bigger the difference in size between the two countries, the greater the lopsided benefits to the smaller partner. Therefore, since we are the first or second largest economy in the world (depending on whose numbers you trust), nearly every country gets more benefit from trading with America than America does by trading with them. We do indeed benefit, just less.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with helping smaller countries. We just need to be aware that the smaller country is typically getting the better deal. Foreign aid should be intentional, not accidental or naïve.
One reason why small countries benefit more from trade is because they often have fewer natural resources and thus their need for trade is more urgent. Large countries generally have all the natural resources they need, so international trade is not absolutely necessary for survival. Nearly every raw material we need exists naturally in the United States. There are exceptions, of course, like arsenic, chromium, gallium, manganese, rubidium, tantalum, and tin. There are no active domestic sources for any of those, so international trade is required. No way around it. Diamonds are another example. There are only two diamond mines in the U.S., neither of which is still open for commercial mining.
When economists argue that international trade benefits both countries, they are leaving out a critical piece of information. The overall economies of both countries benefit, but not necessarily all the people. The big loser for the larger country is the middle-class workforce.
For example, when companies decide to make their products in low-wage countries, the low-wage country obviously benefits by having more jobs, taxes, etc. In the large country, on the other hand, the management and stockholders benefit from the international trade by earning higher profits. The low-end consumers also benefit from the lower prices on those imported goods.
The group that typically gets hurt the most is the skilled middle-class worker in the larger, richer country. A generation ago, these were the people that used to graduate high school, go to work at the local factory, have a great career, buy a house, buy a boat, take nice vacations, and then enjoy a comfortable retirement. This group is rapidly disappearing because those jobs have been shipped overseas. Soon, most of our economy will consist of highly-paid information workers on the one extreme, and low-paid service workers on the other extreme (with very little in-between). If this is what we want, then it needs to be a deliberate decision, not a surprise when we wake up and realize that we no longer have the ability as a nation to make anything ourselves.
Make no mistake, there are many middle-class business owners and entrepreneurs that benefit from free trade. This should be celebrated. I am specifically speaking about the negative impacts of trade on skilled middle-class workers, particularly workers that are in manufacturing.
A robust middle-class is the hallmark of a true capitalist economy. If the middle-class is struggling, then maybe we don’t have real capitalism anymore. Crony capitalism is actually economic aristocracy, so it doesn’t really count.
There is an obvious national security component to this issue. Is it safe for us to give away our manufacturing base to countries that don’t like us? Even if offshoring these activities makes economic sense right now, what happens when there are geopolitical changes? Many of us were very surprised to find out recently, during the COVID-19 situation, that most of our medications are made in China. This seems like a very risky situation. How much of our population would die if one day prescription drug shipments from China suddenly stopped?
I am a huge fan of free markets, but it really seems like we need to entice more manufacturing back to our own shores, even if it costs a little more. It is a national security issue and a matter of survival. A strong national defense – both military and economic – brings a peace of mind that is not easily measured in dollars.
President Trump appears to have improved the manufacturing situation with his tariffs, deregulation and tax reform. He campaigned in 2016 on the promise of bringing manufacturing jobs back, and to his credit, total manufacturing output in real dollars hit an all-time high in 2019. The number of U.S. manufacturing jobs, which fell by 200,000 during the previous administration, had increased by over 500,000 during the Trump administration before the COVID-19 shutdown happened. This has caused me to reflect on my previous hard-line position about the absolute virtue of free trade in its purest form.
Is free trade always a good thing? Well, it definitely helps both economies on the whole. However, it mainly benefits the rich and the poor, while simultaneously hurting many workers in the middle-class. So the answer is no – free trade is not always a good thing, just mostly.
By Craig Everett. I am a finance professor at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School and I teach entrepreneurial finance and private capital markets. Opinions are my own. To follow me or add me as a friend on the Bigwigg Social Network, please visit my Profile Page.
On Bigwigg there is no shadow-banning or ideological censorship. Join Bigwigg today for free and invite your patriotic friends.
By Jonathan Geach, M.D.
This article is reprinted from the Conejo Guardian.
Original Goal: Flatten the Curve
The curve of new infections is declining and we do not need to wait for additional testing or a surveillance apparatus to be in place to reopen America.
In response to warnings that millions of Americans could die, and the carnage COVID-19 created in Italy, state and local governments instituted drastic social distancing in America. In the meantime, the epidemiological curve in the US has followed the trend seen in Europe and is well past its peak.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model estimates that the peak of deaths in the U.S. occurred on April 13, 2020. This would seem to indicate the time to loosen social distancing and allow a return-to-work has arrived.
Despite this new information, several public health officials have said that May 1 may be too soon to reopen. They claim that we don’t know enough about the virus, and it won’t be safe to reopen America until we have improved testing and surveillance.
Original Goal: Prevent Healthcare System Saturation
The healthcare system is not overwhelmed, it is underwhelmed and being damaged.
The purpose of “Flatten the Curve” was to prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed with patients suffering from COVID-19. The reality is that the healthcare system is now underwhelmed and healthcare workers are being laid off and furloughed in droves as a result of healthcare centers having neglected patient care not related to COVID-19 in fear of a COVID-19 surge that failed to materialize on a nationwide basis. This means tens of millions of patients are failing to receive the medical care they need in a timely manner. Almost every hospital outside of the hotspots is empty.
The dramatic reduction in healthcare utilization and capacity is by no means limited to small, country hospitals. Mayo Clinic is empty: 65% of the hospital beds at Mayo Clinic are empty, as are 75% of the operating rooms. This is the world’s premier medical center. If Mayo Clinic is empty, imagine how dire the situation is at smaller, community-based healthcare centers. Given the complexity of the patients referred to Mayo Clinic, its emptiness alone will have a significant negative impact on healthcare outcomes.
Healthcare underutilization leads not only to patient care being delayed, which will likely result in deaths from delayed cancer diagnoses; it also leads to the loss of countless jobs in the healthcare industry, many of which will never return. Even if the patients that are not being seen at this time are seen several months in the future, many will still suffer negative health outcomes. In Medicine, timing is of the essence and diagnosing and treating a patient today is more beneficial than diagnosing and treating the same patient for the same condition in the future.
If the goal of the shutdown was to flatten the curve and prevent healthcare system utilization, why are we still under a shutdown when the healthcare system is significantly underutilized and tens of thousands of healthcare workers are being terminated or furloughed? Why are we still denying non-COVID-19 patients the care they need when hospitals are sitting idle and laying off staff in droves? The only surge we’ve seen thus far is with respect to initial weekly jobless claims; tragically, there’s a good chance we will see a surge in suicides later this year as well.
Original Goal: Determine the true mortality
The evidence that the true mortality is much lower than early estimates continues to mount.
Now, I know many people will say, “But look at New York. Look at how the hospitals were full and we almost ran out of ICU beds and ventilators. COVID-19 is nothing like the flu.” To these objections I must point out that COVID-19 kills people through a prolonged process that generally keeps people in an ICU on a ventilator for two weeks before they die. Most people who die of the flu have a much faster disease process.
A new study in The New England Journal of Medicine supports the claim that COVID-19 is much more common and mild than first believed. Researchers from Columbia University in Manhattan tested every woman who presented in labor for COVID-19 from March 22 until April 4. Fifteen percent of the women tested positive for COVID-19, but, of these, eighty eight percent were totally asymptomatic. Also interesting, none of the women who tested positive were even sick enough to seek COVID-19 care; they simply came to the hospital to have a baby. Eighty-eight percent of positive women were asymptomatic.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt has been in the news for an outbreak aboard the ship. The US Navy is testing every sailor on board. Of the 4,800 sailors, 600 tested positive and 60 percent of those were entirely asymptomatic.
The first prevalence antibody study from Stanford was released on 4/17/20. After sampling the blood from 3,300 people, researchers found that 48,000 to 81,000 people in Santa Clara county had been previously infected. Only 1000 people tested positive in the county.
Many people are actually claiming that the large number of asymptomatic people with the disease requires prolongation of the shutdowns. The large asymptomatic group does quite the opposite. It demonstrates that the number of people who have already had the disease is very high and the actual infection mortality rate is much lower than we previously believed.
Original Goal: Prevent a catastrophic second wave
If there is a second wave, it will most likely be this fall which will give us plenty of time to prepare
The biggest concern voiced by public officials is that opening the economy is unsafe because it could, “Pour gasoline on the fire.” These officials don’t understand that most people who recovered from the infection are now immune and, thus, contribute to the development of “herd immunity.” If the next wave comes, the peak will be lower or, like in South Korea, where social distancing was only voluntary, it may be just a period of a low rate of new cases until herd immunity is build.
If the current level of herd immunity is so low that a second wave builds, it will take at least several months. The CDC estimated that it will likely be at least 150 days before a possible second wave. This would push it back to the fall at the earliest. A study published in The Lancet also states it would be several months before a possible second wave.
Personal protection equipment (PPE), testing, and surveillance may not be optimized today, but all should be in place by this fall. At that time, politicians and scientists can determine how the elderly and vulnerable can be protected without needing to interrupt the economy.
In addition, the shutdowns are slowing if not preventing the development of herd immunity. This increases the chance and possible severity of a second wave of COVID-19 several months after the shutdowns are lifted.
The idea of herd immunity is simple: Once enough people in society are immune to a disease, if one person becomes infected, the chance they give it to someone else is less than one. It is estimated that 80% of the population would need to be immune to have true herd immunity. However, if we have even half that, we would slow the increase of the virus dramatically. This would make surveillance easier and decrease the chance that a second wave could overwhelm our health care system this fall.
Continued shutdowns threaten our economy, our health and even our healthcare system.
The state of our economy is not just a monetary risk, it is a health risk. When people lose their jobs, they typically lose their health insurance. The British Journal of Psychiatry found that there were more than 10,000 “economic suicides” as a result of the 2008 recession. Similarly, a 2016 study from The Lancet found that there were an excess 260,000 cancer deaths as a result of the recession. These statistics also fail to mention the increased domestic violence, increased child abuse and home loss when schools and businesses are closed.
In spite of the moving goalposts: The number of new cases is declining. The mortality is likely much lower than early estimates. Those who have been infected by the disease will most likely be immune for at least a year. Finally, the lives saved by starting the economy sooner vastly outnumber those that could be saved by extended shutdowns.
Jonathan Geach, M.D.
Ankur J. Patel, M.D.
Knut M. Wittkowski, PhD, ScD
Lacy Windham, M.D.
Ashkan Attaran, M.D.
Jason Friday, M.D.