New job report is out today because of course it is Thursday and there are no surprises. The stock market is rallying as we await election results and we have some post-election info to share. Make sure to check out the links at the bottom of the update for grant information and webinars as there are still existing funds to be applied for.
*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital
National Job Report
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell slightly last week to 751,000, a still-historically high level that shows that many employers keep cutting jobs in the face of the accelerating pandemic.
Thursday’s report from the Labor Department said the number of people who are continuing to receive traditional unemployment benefits declined to 7.3 million. That figure shows that some of the unemployed are being recalled to their old jobs or are finding new ones. But it also indicates that many jobless Americans have used up their state unemployment aid — which typically expires after six months — and have transitioned to a federal extended benefits program that lasts an additional 13 weeks.
The pace of rehiring has steadily weakened — from 4.8 million added jobs in June to 661,000 in September. On Friday, when the government issues the October jobs report, economists foresee a further slowdown — to 580,000 added jobs — according to a survey by the data firm FactSet.
Illinois Job Report
Illinois reported the biggest weekly increase in initial claims for unemployment benefits Thursday of all states, according to the U.S. Labor Department. More than 53,000 initial claims were filed in Illinois for the week ending Oct. 24, an increase of 6,190 from the week before.
Michigan had the second largest weekly increase, with 5,442 more initial claims filed during the same time period, according to the Labor Department. Last week, nearly 363,000 people applied for jobless aid under a separate U.S. program that extended eligibility for the first time to self-employed and gig workers, up slightly from 359,000 the previous week. That figure isn’t adjusted for seasonal trends, so it’s reported separately. In Illinois, 9,338 people filed, compared with 8,704 the week before.
Stock Market Rally
Stocks extended their gains in a resounding rally on Thursday, even as the presidential contest between Donald Trump and Joe Biden showed no clear winner and the U.S. Federal Reserve warned that the pandemic continues to pose significant risks for the economy.
The S&P 500 rose nearly 2 per cent, continuing a winning streak that could deliver the best week of returns for the U.S. blue chip index since April.
While Wednesday’s remarkable gains heavily favored big technology companies, Thursday’s moves were broader. Banks, telecommunications firms, consumer-oriented companies and others sent the S&P 500 to within 2 per cent of its record high in September, suggesting that investors – relieved that the U.S. election is nearly over – are growing confident that the results will have a positive impact on business activity.
Within the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which rose 542 points, 28 of the 30 stocks in the index ended the day higher. “The market seems to have pivoted back to fundamentals,” Ian de Verteuil, a strategist at CIBC World Markets, said in a note before markets opened, pointing to strong third-quarter earnings and valuations that appear reasonable relative to low interest rates. He added: “This suggests equity strength should continue, subject to the vagaries of the virus.”
Covid vs. Flu
Here’s some good news, at least for now: There are no signs yet the Northern Hemisphere is about to be struck with a nasty flu season at the same time the coronavirus pandemic rages. The so-called “twindemic” has been a big worry for infectious-disease experts because two circulating respiratory viruses with similar symptoms could overwhelm health care systems this fall and winter.
Granted, it’s still early in the hemisphere’s flu season, but flu infections remain low so far, said a spokesperson for the WHO. Several countries have reported “low circulation” of the flu, though that’s not necessarily unusual for this time of year, the spokesperson said.
A quiet flu season would be a welcome gift right now, especially with coronavirus hospitalizations again surging in the United States and across Europe even earlier than expected. One reason to be optimistic is the Southern Hemisphere just went through a very mild flu season, which has been attributed to coronavirus safety measures like social distancing and mask-wearing. The demand for flu vaccines has also been high in countries like Australia, which made a record 18 million vaccines available this year, up from 13.2 million in 2019.
Pasi Penttinen, an expert in infectious diseases at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, said the start of the Northern Hemisphere’s flu season is looking similar to the low numbers in the Southern Hemisphere.
Election Follow Up
Here is the current Electoral College vote count: Biden has 253 votes. Trump has 214. 71 Electoral College votes are remaining. That means Biden needs an additional 17 Electoral College votes to win, while Trump needs 56.
The remaining states: Pennsylvania (20), Georgia (16), North Carolina (15), Arizona (11), Nevada (6) and Alaska (3).
One of the most watched and funded races here in Illinois from Tuesday was the retention of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride. His district includes Will and Kankakee counties and stretches west to the Iowa border.
Voters decided not to retain Justice Kilbride by a margin of 56-43%. He needed 60% to prevail, meaning a successor will be appointed and a partisan race will be on the ballot in 2022. The 2022 race to replace him, and which will determine the partisan makeup of The Illinois Supreme Court, will be one for the record books and just in time to hear opposition to the newest legislative map. The map, as many of you already know, is the key to majorities in Springfield and the enactment of policy.
In other news on the state front post-election, Governor Pritzker said today Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan should step down as the head of the Democratic Party of Illinois. It’s the first time the governor has taken that strong a stand on the issue since Madigan has been tied to the federal bribery.
Asked if he agreed on a need for new leadership at the party, Pritzker simply said “yes.” Speaker Madigan put out a statement saying he does not intend to quit. At his daily COVID briefing, Pritzker said he agreed with comments Sen. Dick Durbin made yesterday in which the senator said Madigan was a drag on the Democratic ticket on Election Day.
Program and Event Notices & Reminders
BIG Program Webinar
Join the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) this Friday, Nov. 6 for an overview and Q&A on the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) Program. This 1-hour webinar is specifically tailored to the hospitality businesses, which receive priority under BIG. $175M in grants are still available! Register here for the 1 PM start
Friday Feature with US Small Business Administration’s Stephen Konkle
In this Friday feature, Stephen Konkle with the SBA will discuss how small businesses who have a PPP loan of $50,000, or less can be forgiven. This webinar is for loan officers and small businesses.
When: Friday November 6, 2020, 10:00 am Central Time.
Ready to Grow Your Business?
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at JJC is offering assistance for existing businesses during these times.
21 Topics in 21 Minutes for 2021 Growth
In less than 30 minutes, the SBDC will help you prioritize key 2021 business plans whether it is for your people, your product, your marketing, your sales, your money, or the impact of this crisis. In this short, one-on-one exercise, we will help you determine up to three of the biggest opportunities for growth in the year ahead. We will offer no-cost tools to develop your strategy for success in those areas. Email us at SBDC@JJC.edu and we will send you a link for registration.
Will County Small Business Assistance Grant
Business Interruption Grant
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION PROGRAMS
ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS (EIDL)
Expanded by the CARES Act, the EIDL program has been around for a couple of years and is intended to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue during a declared disaster. Here’s our step-by-step guide.
DEBT RELIEF PROGRAM
The SBA will pay 6 months of principal, interest, and any associated fees that borrowers owe for all current 7(a), 504, and Microloans in regular servicing status as well as new 7(a), 504, and Microloans disbursed prior to September 27, 2020.
EXPRESS BRIDGE LOANS
These loans allow small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.
Click here for the Small Business Administration’s website, where you’ll find additional programs as well as more resources and guides for coronavirus-impacted businesses.
Finally, a reminder that our next virtual conference will be on Thursday, November 12th. The topic is an extremely important one as all should know by now that by the end of this year it is mandatory for ALL offices to go through anti-sexual harassment training. We have partnered with Marji Swanson from the offices of Mahoney, Silverman, & Cross, LLC to deliver this session that fulfills your requirement. Unfortunately, it does not apply to bars and restaurants as that training is an industry specific one. Webinar will begin at 11 am and last approximately one hour. You may register here:
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry