Some Highlights

What’s Going On


It smells like Lobster being cooked. Did you order yours? If not you can still stop by while visiting all of our members in the region and grab a quick bite to eat for Lunch or Dinner, and then stop by our member friends for the other meal of the day. ... See MoreSee Less

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Quick morning news:

Unemployment Claims Dip
Just under 1.2 million Americans filed initial unemployment claims last week, roughly 200,000 less than analysts expected. The figure is the lowest since the pandemic upended the US economy, though it still marks the 20th straight week initial claims have exceeded 1 million.

More than 55 million initial claims have been filed since mid-March, though not all are workers losing their jobs for the first time. In California, workers who were rehired but subsequently let go once coronavirus cases rose again represented more than half of new claims in the week ending July 25. Continuing claims—workers who have been collecting benefits for at least two weeks, a better proxy for current unemployment—fell by 844,000 to 16.1 million. When benefits provided under a stimulus provision capturing gig economy and self-employed workers are included, total claims rise to 32.1 million.

The July jobs report comes out this morning. There is a lot of variability in projections, but forecasts average to predict a 10.6% drop in unemployment (down from 11.1% in June) and growth in jobs of about 1.7 million

False Positive in Ohio

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) tested negative for the coronavirus last evening after testing positive earlier in the day. The first result, using a quicker but less accurate method, came shortly before he was expected to host President Trump on a visit to the state. The false positive is emblematic of the larger problem of accurate testing across the country, though experts say false negatives are more consequential, since infected patients are then more likely to spread the virus. DeWine was an early advocate for precautions like face masks and social distancing and had reported no symptoms.

Trump's visit to Ohio included the announcement of an executive order encouraging the federal government to purchase certain drugs and medical supplies only from US factories. The directive may have a significant impact on the pharmaceutical industry and its complex supply chains, though the Food and Drug Administration must first determine which drugs will be subject to the order.

Separately, Senate Republicans have largely withdrawn from negotiations on a phase four coronavirus stimulus bill, letting the White House negotiate directly with House Democrats. Leaders on both sides have alternately said talks have stalled while predicting a deal as soon as next week.

A $600-per-week boost to unemployment, now at the center of the talks, expired last week. See differences between the Republican and Democrat proposals here.

A surge in US coronavirus cases seen in late July appears to have reversed course, though officials warn a continued uptick in deaths (which has averaged over 1,000 per day recently) is expected. The US has reported 4.88 million total cases as of this morning, with 160,104 deaths. See how your state is doing here.

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
More than 60 NFL players opt out of season over coronavirus concerns, Union says 56 NFL players have tested positive for COVID-19 | MLB and players' union agree on new safety protocols, including season-long ban for rule breakers

Paul Telegdy out as NBC Entertainment chairman following accusations of sexist and racist behavior | Grammy-winning producer Detail arrested on 15 sexual assault charges

Business & Markets
US quarterly household debt declines for first time in six years as consumers reduced nonessential spending amid lockdown

Epic Games—maker of massively popular Fortnite video game—raises $1.78B at $17B valuation | Nintendo sees profits surge 428% as video game consumption booms

Uber’s second quarter revenues fall 29% as ridesharing falls 75%, but Uber Eats food delivery doubles

Politics & World Affairs
White House applies 10% tariffs on raw aluminum imports from Canada; move comes one month after a new free trade agreement was signed between the two countries and Mexico | Cheap hydroelectric power gives Canada an edge in aluminum production

New York Attorney General Letitia James files a lawsuit to dissolve the National Rifle Association, alleging the group committed fraud by misusing $64M in charitable donations

President Trump signs executive order banning transactions with ByteDance, the Chinese parent of video sharing platform TikTok, in 45 days over national security concerns; Microsoft currently in talks to buy TikTok

Other news:

PPH (Washington Post) -- White House, Democrats fail to agree on virus aid bill; next steps uncertain:

BDN -- Maine sees new jobless claims continue to fall as expanded federal benefits run out:

PPH -- Mills asks state departments to trim spending by 10%:

BDN -- Low census response rate threatens tens of millions in funding for Maine:

WAGM -- Businesses in Northern Maine are struggling due to the border closure:

LSJ -- ‘So many questions’: Local business owners talk summer, winter and staying afloat:

Mainebiz -- New survey boosts case for working remotely in Vacationland:

Mainebiz -- A Maine CEO who redirects the idea of ‘power’:

CM -- Maine Grains sales skyrocket during pandemic, earns praise from New York Times:

PPH -- Maine Energy Marketers Association appoints Charles ‘Charlie’ Summers Jr. as its next president:

PPH -- Portland’s Immigrant Welcome Center gets interim leader after founder’s death:
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