Friday Five | May 14, 2021

A recap of this week’s top-five news items and resources from the intersection of business and government.

1. Hogan lifts most remaining COVID-19 restrictions, effective Saturday

On Wednesday, Governor Hogan eased most of the remaining restrictions on public gathering and commerce. Effective tomorrow, restaurants can now return to 100% capacity both indoors and outdoors, and state restrictions on indoor entertainment venues, conventions and other businesses are also being lifted. The announcement came after more than 2.4 million Marylanders have been fully vaccinated, and the state’s test-positivity rate is at 2.74%, its lowest level since September.

“The Maryland Chamber of Commerce is thrilled businesses can fully open their doors and bring Marylanders back to work with these eased restrictions,” said Andrew Griffin, the organization’s vice president of government affairs. “We align with the governor in the following of CDC recommendations and encourage the public to get vaccinated so Maryland can continue along the path of economic recovery.”

To read more, click here.

2. Treasury to start paying out $350B in state and local aid with $6B headed to MD

On Monday, the Treasury Department launched its $350 billion program part of Biden’s larger $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that became law in March, distributing aid to state and local governments. The Maryland state government is expected to receive more than $3.7 billion, and counties will receive more than $1.1 billion. In addition, cities in the state with more than 50,000 residents will split $619 million, and smaller cities and towns will share nearly $529 million. Administration officials said payments could begin to go out in the coming days to eligible governments, giving the U.S. economy an added boost.

The Treasury Department released seven categories of uses for the funds, some include:

To read more, click here and access the detailed list of spending categories here.

3. U.S. job openings hit record high in March

On Tuesday, the Labor Department released its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey showing job openings, a measure of labor demand, jumped 597,000 to 8.1 million on the last day of March, the highest it has been since December 2000. The surge was led by the accommodation and food services sector, with 185,000 vacancies opening up and an additional 155,000 job openings in state and government education. A separate report released by the National Federation of Independent Business on Tuesday showed small businesses reported record-high vacancies in April for both skilled and unskilled labor.

To read more, click here.

4. U.S. Chamber calls for ending $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefits to address labor shortages

“The disappointing jobs report makes it clear that paying people not to work is dampening what should be a stronger jobs market. We need a comprehensive approach to dealing with our workforce issues and the very real threat unfilled positions poses to our economic recovery from the pandemic. One step policymakers should take now is ending the $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit. Based on the Chamber’s analysis, the $300 benefit results in approximately one in four recipients taking home more in unemployment than they earned working.”

To read more, click here.

5. Maryland takes steps to ease fuel shortages caused by pipeline shutdown

On Tuesday, the Office of the Comptroller announced that it has been offering waivers and temporary permits to ease fuel shortages after the Colonial Pipeline, a major pipeline that transports fuel along the East Coast, announced they were stopping operations after a ransomware attack. Fuel specifications change throughout the year for a variety of reasons. Maryland and other states typically move to a formulation that causes lower vapors during warm and hot months. The waiver allows fuel distributors to use available stores of a formulation that is typically used in colder months to increase supply. It will remain in effect through next Tuesday, with a possibility of an extension if necessary.

To read more, click here.

WEBINAR – Tues, May 18: This 60-minute webinar is the EID resource you’ve been looking for! Our panel of experts will delve deeper into the meaning of EID and discuss how to foster a positive company culture and build an inclusive workplace. Learn how to make your business and employees thrive through EID.

Register Here



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