Bullish Jobs Prediction: Bank Of America Says Employment Will Return To Pre-Pandemic Levels By Year’s End

Daily Life in New York City Around The One-year Anniversary of The COVID-19 Shut Down

Following blockbuster data showing the U.S. added 917,000 jobs in March, analysts from Bank of America said they expect jobs to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year if that pace of improvement continues.

It’s a much more aggressive prediction than other experts, including the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department, have taken so far this year.

Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell has said that while he’s optimistic that hiring will pick up in the coming months, it’s “not at all likely” the U.S. will reach maximum employment this year.

In a hearing before Congress last month, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she believes the economy may return to full employment next year.

Bank of America’s analysts said they expect “considerably more job creation” in the leisure and hospitality sectors—two areas hit hardest by the pandemic—in the months ahead as the U.S. economy reopens.

The growth Bank of America is predicting also comes with a risk, the analysts said: jobs could continue to accelerate beyond pre-pandemic levels right as trillions of dollars in stimulus spending kick in and the economy reopens in earnest.


Employment Lawyer Alex Lucifero answers questions about Employee Rights When Businesses Reopen during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada. Can my employer discipline or fire me if I don’t feel safe returning to work when the business reopens? Can my employer recall me from work and put me in a different job, or give me different responsibilities? Can my employer recall younger employees before older employees, in an effort to protect the latter from COVID-19? Lucifero, an Ottawa employment lawyer and partner at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, joined Annette Goerner on CTV Ottawa Morning Live, where he answered those questions and more.



All those factors could lead to dangerous overheating and inflation, which could destabilize an already fragile economic recovery and rattle investors.

Crucial Quote

“We saw the economy gain traction in March as the American Rescue Plan moved and got passed, bringing new hope to our country,” President Biden said during prepared remarks on Friday. Biden’s flagship pandemic relief bill authorized another $1.9 trillion in federal stimulus spending.

Big Number

9.7 million. That’s how many people are now unemployed across the country, according to the Labor Department, down from 22 million at the onset of the crisis last spring.

Key Background

Biden unveiled his next legislative effort, the $2+ trillion American Jobs Plan, earlier this week. That plan is designed to revitalize American infrastructure and manufacturing and  jumpstart the transition to clean energy and industry. The Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce estimated that the plan would create or save 15 million jobs over a decade and that three-quarters of the infrastructure jobs it creates would be for workers with no more than a high school diploma.

Further Reading

The U.S. Added 916,000 Jobs In March As Labor Market Comes Roaring Back (Forbes)

The Economy Doesn’t Need The Fed’s Easy Monetary Policy To Keep Booming, BofA Says (Forbes)

$1,400 Stimulus Checks Are Already Working As Credit, Debit Spending Surges 45%, BofA Says (Forbes)

Powell And Yellen Praise Aggressive Stimulus Spending, Acknowledge Incomplete Economic Recovery In Congressional Testimony (Forbes)

I’m a breaking news reporter for Forbes focusing on economic policy and capital markets. I completed my master’s degree in business and economic reporting at New York University. Before becoming a journalist, I worked as a paralegal specializing in corporate compliance.

Source: Bullish Jobs Prediction: Bank Of America Says Employment Will Return To Pre-Pandemic Levels By Year’s End.


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107.5 million private sector workers in pandemic-essential industries in 2019 : The Economics Daily: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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January 2021 LFS Preview: Will Employment Take Another Hit?
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[…] Yet despite the fact that many immigrants have increased exposure to COVID-19 due to their employment in pandemic-response occupations, their reduced connectivity and familiarity with digital tools may preven […]
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One-third of Hispanic parents or primary caregivers in New Mexico has had difficulty paying their rent or mortgage, while nearly half of them have seen their hours or pay cut…

Daylight Saving Time Should Be Permanent The Pandemic Shows Us Why

Fall typically signifies a return to normalcy—back to sports, back to school and back to work after a long summer vacation. But not this year.

COVID-19 maintains a stranglehold on American life, ensuring that fall 2020 will be anything but normal. Pandemic restrictions have left our nation grappling with a severe economic recession alongside a growing mental health crisis. While there’s no panacea for these problems, one simple step by Congress could help alleviate the pain: Passing federal legislation to make daylight saving time (DST) permanent.

For months, Republicans and Democrats have been at loggerheads over a broad stimulus package—but a permanent switch to DST would be a stimulus package all on its own. It would boost economic growth, ease the mental health crisis, reduce crime and even save lives. That’s why Congress must act now. The clock is ticking, and we can’t afford to move it back.

Understanding the history of DST strengthens the case for its future. It’s a common misconception that DST was invented for farmers—the reasons behind it have always been centered on cost-savings and the economy. Congress first implemented the clock change during World War I to conserve fuel in the summer. Over time, however, the salutary effects of increasing daylight hours became so clear that Congress voted to extend DST in 2005 so that we now observe it eight months of the year.

The argument for making DST permanent is strong in a normal year—but amid a global pandemic, it’s stronger than ever. Our society is staring down the barrel of a mental health disaster unseen in our lifetimes. Since the lockdowns began, the number of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression has more than tripled. Compounding this crisis is an economy in shambles: COVID-19 has destroyed an estimated 30 million jobs since March and unemployment today sits at 8.4%.

Now consider this—on November 1, we will move our clocks back one hour to reflect U.S. standard time. The result will be painfully short days, with the sun setting in many states before 5 p.m. Each year, we see higher rates of depression associated with less exposure to sunlight; higher energy consumption across the country; higher traffic fatalities with more Americans driving in the dark; higher incidence of crime; and a steep decline in retail sales with fewer consumers willing to shop at night.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we observe a time change that ultimately hurts small businesses and makes life more difficult for individuals struggling with anxiety and depression? Our economy is on the ropes, and the number of Americans reporting mental illness has reached record levels. So why would we change our clocks this November knowing it will only make the situation worse?

Here’s a radical idea: Maybe we shouldn’t.

This year, and every year hereafter, we should keep our clocks fixed to daylight saving time. This is the time standard we observe for most of the year anyway—from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. The public health, social and economic benefits of making this change are manifold.

Research suggests an association between the biannual clock change and not just seasonal affective disorder but stroke and cardiac arrest as well. By allowing more people to commute home during daylight hours, permanent DST could likewise decrease the risk of car accidents, saving more than 360 lives each year, according to a meta-study by Rutgers researchers.

What’s more, making year-round DST and having fewer hours of darkness could help reduce crime. According to the Brookings Institute, robbery rates fall by an average of 7% when DST begins. When Congress extended DST by four weeks in 2007, it resulted in $59 million in annual social cost savings because of a reduction in robberies.

Then, of course, there’s the economy. A study conducted by JPMorgan Chase revealed that consumer spending drops by about 3.5% when the nation makes the switch back to standard time—a result of fewer daylight hours in the evening. This amounts to millions of dollars lost by retailers and small businesses each year. Making DST permanent, however, would push back sunsets to reasonable hours, encouraging shopping and retail sales during the winter months.

Given the obvious benefits of making DST permanent, no wonder there’s a groundswell of support for making this change across US time zones. As of this year, 32 state legislatures have introduced bills to abolish the time change in November.

There’s just one catch: states can’t make the switch without federal approval. That’s why Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has introduced the Sunshine Protection Act, which would eliminate the return to standard time to make DST year-round across the country. The President himself has endorsed this legislation, and it has garnered widespread bipartisan support from senators in the heartland and on both coasts.

Over 42 years of Senate service, I made it my life’s mission to advance commonsense solutions to the nation’s most pressing problems. In the process, I passed more bills into law than anyone alive today. All of that is to say, I know a good, bipartisan solution when I see one—and the Sunshine Protection Act is exactly that. Making DST permanent would be a shot in the arm for our economy and a boon to millions of Americans suffering from anxiety and depression. It’s also one of the few bills that stands any chance of passing in a divided Congress, which is why I call on our leaders in Washington to act today to get it across the finish line.

We are making significant progress in the fight against COVID-19, and making DST year-round would only help us advance the line. Now is not the time to fall back.

By Orrin G. Hatch

Hindsight: Unnecessary Recession? Foresight: “Deep & Permanent Damage” (Bernanke & Yellen)

The number the media, and apparently much of the population, fixates on daily is the new virus case count in the U.S.  While cases have clearly skyrocketed, deaths from the virus continue to fall. Perhaps the case counts are a function of the level of testing. First Trust’s economists recently published some interesting statistics:

  • on Monday, July 6th, deaths were -86% below the Monday, April 20th peak.;
  • hospital capacity, nationwide, still appears manageable – albeit some specific locations may have hospital capacity issues;
  • The skew of deaths toward the elderly is also significant. The total percentage of deaths/confirmed cases (138,782/3,630,587 as of July 18) is 3.8%. Of those that have died, 33.2% were 85 years old or older, and 92.5% of deaths are in people over 55 years old.

Consider that confirmed cases represent just over 1.1% of the total U.S. population, but field tests are now showing that up to 20% of those tested are positive for the virus. While there are issues in assuming that 20% of the population have already had the virus (some think that there are a huge number of asymptomatic carriers), if that is anywhere close to reality, then the overall probability of dying from the virus is 0.04% (.0004), and if one is under 55 years old (most of the working aged population), then that probability falls to .003% (.00003, i.e. 3 per 100,000 who contract it). Even within this younger demographic, only those with compromised immune systems have any real risk. The 20% assumption may be high (there are reasons people get tested), but even at 10%, the younger demographic has little death risk.

The Economy

Market observers are now using high frequency data markers to gauge the state of the economy. Sometimes, even small deviations from expectations in the economic data results in outsized financial market reaction.

  • Retail Sales: While falling -5.5% from the week ending July 4th (holiday week) to the week ending July 11th, retail sales were still +4.7% higher than the same 2019 week, and up +7.5% M/M in June (May was still in the depths of business closures). On the surface, this looks promising. But, let’s not forget that consumer income has not yet been impacted because of government money drops. As discussed below, there are still 32 million people unemployed, and there will likely be a large negative impact when government largesse returns to “normal” (perhaps after the elections);
  • Hotel Occupancy (week ended June 27th): While up from the April lows, there is only 46.2% occupancy vs. 84.9% a year earlier;
  • Open Table (July 13): this indicator shows a -66.2% Y/Y change. The M/M change was -1.2%; looks like the daily media drumbeat on new cases has had an impact;
  • TSA checkpoint data (July 13): This shows the number of air travelers, and it was up 5.2% W/W and 61.7% M/M. But, because the denominator is so small, the percentage changes become almost meaningless. Y/Y traffic is still off -73.2%. No wonder United and American Airlines AAL are throwing in the towel and have pre-announced significant layoffs.

The conclusion here is that, after an initial pop, and especially with renewed business restrictions, the Recovery, at best, has flattened.



As I have maintained in this blog, employment is the most important gauge of the health of the economy. The more reliable state data from the traditional unemployment insurance programs is still showing significant Initial Claims each week (1.300 million the week of July 11th). There now is almost no downward slope, as the prior two weeks were 1.310 and 1.413 million. And, while Total Claims, as shown in the table and chart (sum of Initial Claims and Continuing Claims) have declined eight weeks in a row and in nine of the last ten, the chart shows the deceleration in the rate of decline in unemployment.

When the less reliable data on the temporary PUA program (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance – via the CARES Act) (less reliable because not all states are reporting and some states report more detail than others) is added to the state data, as shown in the next table and chart, one gets a flavor of just how deep the unemployment hole has become. Worse, beginning in June, total unemployment (or at least the claims) began to rise again. One of the emerging trends is that large companies, which had been hoping for the promised “V”-shaped recovery, have now given up and will start laying off. United and American Airlines are good examples. In addition, the approaching end of PPP may have a similar effect for mid-size and small businesses that are still alive.

Debt – The Fed Continues to be Nervous

For the banks, defaults haven’t yet become a huge issue due to forbearance. That will soon be ending. In the past week, the major banks reported Q2 results, and all significantly bolstered their loan loss reserves. In May, more than 100 million debt payments were missed. The consumer loan industry says it takes 180 days to deal with and resolve delinquent accounts, so we really won’t know the extent of consumer issues until Q4/Q1. I suspect the same is true of commercial loans.

Meanwhile, the Fed continues to worry. In recent Congressional testimony, former Fed Chairs Bernanke and Yellen warned that “the U.S. economy is facing deep and permanent economic damage” (i.e., certainly no “V,” and perhaps no “W”) without further significant fiscal and monetary stimulus including the expanded unemployment benefit program and providing aid to state and local governments.  In fact, Yellen worried out loud about probable large layoffs at the state and local levels without such aid. Bernanke, echoing those famous words of former ECB President Mario Draghi, said Congress and the Fed should do “whatever it takes.”

The Fed’s Beige Book, a report on local conditions by the 12 Regional Federal Reserve Banks (published eight times per year) emphasized “uncertainty” emanating from businesses in their purview. Here are some excerpts:

“Most Districts reported that manufacturing activity moved up, but from a very low level;”

“Outlooks remained highly uncertain…;”

“Employment increased on net in almost all Districts…However, payrolls in all Districts were well below pre-pandemic levels. Job turnover rates remained high with contacts across Districts reporting new layoffs;”

“Contacts in nearly every District noted difficulty in bringing back workers because of health and safety concerns, childcare needs, and generous unemployment insurance benefits.”

Bankruptcies and Debt Concerns

As I’ve shown over the past few blogs, bankruptcies continue to trend up. It will take years for the damage done to the economy by the lockdowns to be recouped.  The lives and livelihoods of millions of citizens have been transformed (many ruined) overnight.

We are just beginning to see the early symptoms of debt destruction, and we are going to see the impacts of such debt destruction on many of the traditional sectors, including the financial ones. These impacts will have long lasting effects. Meanwhile, the Fed has convinced market participants that there is no risk, and that the Fed has their backs. The result is that yield differentials between safe and highly risky assets have all but disappeared – at least their spreads have come way in. In the table and chart below, bankruptcies (from the Bloomberg database) are trending up.

The implications for interest rates are clear. More and more debt (corporate America including the zombies and the federal government) means that future interest rates can’t rise lest interest payment burdens become unmanageable and turn the economy south.


  • With hindsight, the probability of death from the virus for most of the working aged population appears remote (minuscule);
  • The economy hit zero in April, and the May/June re-openings led to the early up-leg of a “v,” but this nascent recovery now appears to be stalling as governors decide to re-restrict businesses;
  • Employment numbers, too, are stalling. Companies are beginning to give up hope for a rapid recovery and are setting up for a long period of economic softness (i.e., they are starting to think about major layoffs);
  • Debt issues are just beginning to emerge and will come front and center in Q4/Q1. The Fed sees this as do former Chairs Bernanke and Yellen.
Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

Robert Barone, Ph.D. is a Georgetown educated economist. He is a financial advisor at Four Star Wealth Advisors. http://www.fourstarwealth.com.

Source: https://www.forbes.com


Can Employers Monitor Employees Who Work From Home Due To The Coronavirus?


When working from home, there may be a new concern for workers other than going without pants.

To ensure employees do what they’re supposed to, some employers have begun using surveillance apps and programs to monitor worker productivity.

This has raised some worker privacy concerns and the questions of whether this is legal or proper.

The short answer is that yes, it can be legal if done right. As for whether it’s proper or not, that’s up to debate. In this article, I’ll discuss what can or cannot be done when it comes to employers remotely supervising their employees.

Why Would an Employer Want to Monitor an Employee?

Traditionally, there have been five primary reasons why employers seek to watch or monitor employees.

First, the employer may want to protect itself in the case of possible lawsuits. This can include documenting what a worker does in case litigation, or an internal investigation ensues.

Second, the employer may want to maintain the integrity of its hardware and software from malicious cyber activity. Social media and rogue cloud accounts can be sources of harmful software, including viruses and malware.

Third, the employer might seek to protect intellectual property, such as trade secrets or client lists.

Fourth, all employers want to make sure workers do what they’re supposed to do. This means not downloading pornographic material or engaging in any activities that the employer might have a particular reason to discourage.

Finally, we have the employer who wants to ensure productivity levels. This is likely one of the biggest reasons employers monitor their employees, especially with the rise in the number of people working from home.

How Do Employers Monitor Their Employees?

Employers have been monitoring employees since the dawn of the employer-employee relationship. In the Internet age, with the ubiquity of laptops, tablets and smartphones, what the employer can do has gone up a notch.

Depending on the device and motivation of the employer, employees can expect employers to monitor them by:

  • Keeping track of what they type
  • Recording Internet activity
  • Taking screenshots
  • Using a device’s webcam
  • Noting which employees access what files and when
  • Monitoring an employee’s physical location using GPS
  • Measuring the employee’s productivity, such as noting a computer’s idle time or how long an app or piece of software remains open

That’s some pretty invasive stuff so it’s sometimes hard to believe that it’s mostly legal.

As a general rule, when using your employer’s equipment while on your employer’s network, your employer will have the right to monitor what you do. If you’re on your own device and using your own Internet connection, it’s less likely to be legal if your employer monitors you, although it still is often perfectly legal.

Also, it’s probably going to be legal if your employer has your permission or otherwise gives you notice of the monitoring. A good example is a company’s BOYD (bring-your-own-device) policy which will often allow employers a certain level of access to what an employee does on their personal device.

Employee Monitoring Pursuant to Federal Law

The main federal law that potentially covers employment monitoring is the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA).

Title I of the ECPA is also known as the Wiretap Act. It makes it illegal to intentionally intercept, use, disclose or otherwise obtain any wire, oral or electronic communication.

Title II of the ECPA is more commonly referred to as the Stored Communications Act (SCA). As the name implies, it exists to maintain the privacy of stored electronic information.

Title III of the ECPA covers pen registers and trap/trace devices. Pen registers and trap or trace devices do not record the substance of the communication, but they do record identifying information, such as the number dialed or from where a telephone call originated.

At first glance, it appears as if the ECPA would prevent some forms of employer monitoring, but the ECPA has some notable exceptions and caveats as they apply to the employment context.

First, there is the business use exception, which allows employers to monitor the oral and electronic communication of employees as long as the employer has a legitimate business reason for doing so.

Second, there is the consent exception. Employers may monitor their employees’ communication if they obtain the consent of the employee.

Third, for the most part, the SCA does not protect the privacy of stored information if the information exists on the employer’s own servers or equipment.

Fourth, the ECPA is silent as to many forms of employment monitoring, such as keystroke logging. In many respects, the ECPA is definitely behind the times due to advances in technology.

However, employees in some states may have slightly more employee privacy protections.

Employee Monitoring Pursuant to State Law

When it comes to certain types of employee activity, a few states make it more difficult for the employer to monitor employees.

For example, some states, like Maryland, Illinois and California have “all-consent” or “two-party consent” laws that require everyone involved in an electronic communication or telephone call to consent to the monitoring.

A few states require employers to give notice to employees before monitoring can take place. Connecticut and Delaware are two such states with specific laws on the books, although Connecticut’s law might not apply when the employee is working from home.

Other Laws Potentially Applicable to Employment Monitoring

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects the right of employees to collectively bargain. The National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, enforces the NLRA and has concluded that surveillance of employees who are engaged in concerted activity can be an unfair labor practice.

There’s also attorney client privilege, which may protect an employee’s communication even if it takes place on the employer’s laptop or during work hours. How this privilege applies will be specific to the facts and jurisdiction, but the overarching principle will be an expectation of privacy.

For instance, if an employee emails her attorney from her personal web-based e-mail account using her laptop while working from home, then that’s very likely going to be protected from employer monitoring. But if that same employee were to use a work-issued laptop and her employer’s email account to send the email, then it’s far less likely for the attorney-client privilege to apply.

The Practical Realities of Employment Surveillance

Most laws, especially at the federal level, will not directly address the legality of the many different types of employment monitoring. So, the legal landscape is a little fuzzy, but regardless of what the law is, there are some principles or realities about workplace monitoring.

In many cases, much of the monitoring isn’t done in real time. It’s often just the gathering and archiving of employee behavior that will only become known if there’s a lawsuit, an internal complaint of improper behavior or poor job performance.

When overdone, employee monitoring can be bad for morale as employees won’t feel trusted and will feel micromanaged. This will be particularly true if the employee meets his or her productivity expectations when working in the office or in the home, but it’s only when working from home that the employer feels the need to snoop.

Then there’s the fact that the employee will probably feel the monitoring is unfair. They might ask themselves, “Why should everyone lose their privacy just because one or two employees acted inappropriately?” Or they might wonder why it’s not okay for them to step away from their laptop in the middle of the afternoon for 30 minutes to take care of a personal errand, but it’s perfectly okay for the boss to expect them to reply to an email late at night.

Finally, there’s the fact that workers are not robots. They won’t be working every single second of every single day, even when in the office. The practical reality is that workers will do non-work activities while on the job.

They will plan a birthday party for a co-worker, make a personal telephone call, text with family, surf the web for personal reasons and even spend a few minutes catching up on the latest office gossip. Employers who don’t accept this reality (to a reasonable extent) may find themselves with unhappy workers.

The Bottom Line

Most employers can legally monitor what you do while working as long as it’s for legitimate business purposes or they have your consent. If you decide to engage in personal activities during business hours, you will usually do so at your own risk.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

After clerking for a judge and working as a federal prosecutor, I wanted to spend more quality time with my kids so in 2009 I started the Spiggle Law Firm. We focus on workplace law helping protect the rights of clients facing pregnancy and caregiver discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination in the workplace. I am a frequent commentator on employment law, especially how it affects families. My book, “You’re Pregnant? You’re Fired: Protecting Mothers, Fathers, and Other Caregivers in the Workplace,” is available on Amazon. You can learn more about my work at https://www.spigglelaw.com/contact

Source: https://www.forbes.com


Some employers are turning to software that monitors their employees as they work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. CBS News contributor and Wired editor-in-chief Nick Thompson joined CBSN with how it works.
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