Governor Wolf Working with FEMA to Address Healthcare Staffing Shortages Amid COVID Surge

Gov. Tom Wolf

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf will work with the federal government in order to address labor shortages in the healthcare sector amid another surge in coronavirus cases.

Wolf, who is partnering with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will create “strike teams” to be sent to hospitals and long-term care facilities.

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Governor Whitmer Signs Bill to Address Michigan Substitute Teacher Shortage

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Monday signed legislation that aims to limit the state’s substitute teacher shortage.

House Bill 4294, sponsored by State Representative Brad Paquette (R-Niles), will allow certain school staff members, like secretaries, to fill open substitute teacher positions through the end of the current school year.

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Governor Tom Wolf Signs Bipartisan Bill to Address Substitute Teacher Shortage

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf on Friday signed a bill to address the statewide shortage of substitute teachers since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

House Bill 412, sponsored by Rep. Barb Gleim (R-Cumberland), will reduce certain restrictions that dictate a person’s eligibility to serve in the position.

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U.S. Adds 531,000 Jobs in October, Exceeding Expectations

The U..S. economy recorded an increase of 531,000 jobs in October, and unemployment fell by 0.2% as the labor market recovers from the summer lows, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The number of unemployed people fell to 7.4 million, down from 7.7 million in September, according to the BLS report released Friday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones projected 450,000 jobs would be added in October.

While unemployment claims continue to fall, the country still struggles with labor shortages, supply chain issues and growing inflation.  Job growth was widespread throughout the economy in October, with leisure and hospitality adding 164,000 jobs, professional and business adding 100,000 and manufacturing adding 60,000 jobs, according to the BLS report.

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American Airlines Cancels More Flights Citing Weather and Labor Shortage

American Airlines plane in the air

American Airlines canceled 340 flights on Monday after cutting almost 2,000 flights during the weekend due to staffing shortages and weather delays, multiple sources reported.

The airline cut 343 flights Friday, 548 Saturday, and over 1,000 Sunday, according to American Airlines data obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The company canceled 2,291 flights as of Monday morning, representing over 10% of its schedule.

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Southwest to Cut More Flights, Lost Almost $75 Million During Last Round of Cancellation

Southwest airplane

Southwest Airlines announced Thursday that it would adjust its December flight schedule to adjust for ongoing labor shortages.

Southwest canceled over 2,000 flights on Oct. 10 and 11, costing the company over $75 million, according to Southwest’s Q3 earnings report.  The airline attributed the canceled flights to weather and air traffic control issues but later admitted to experiencing a labor shortage, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The airline expects to cut its Q4 flight schedule by 8% from 2019, compared to a 5% reduction the company initially planned for, according to the WSJ. The company also expects a decline in staffing compared to its historical average, according to its Q3 earnings report.

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Maryland Announces over 500,000 New Potentially Fraudulent Unemployment Claims Since May

Larry Hogan

Maryland officials say they suspect over 508,000 new, potentially fraudulent unemployment claims have been filed since May.

The announcement Monday followed the state saying it has verified over 1.3 million fraudulent claims since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic.

The most common means of filing a fraudulent claim is identity theft, according to CNN.

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After Skyrocketing to Record Highs, Lumber Prices Fall Back to Earth

Close up of wood after being cut down - lumber yard

Lumber prices have begun to drop following record highs, with futures closing Monday at their lowest price in over two months.

Lumber futures reached their highest-ever price in early May according to Nasdaq, trading at $1,711.20 per thousand board feet. Futures closed Monday at $966.20 per thousand board feet, still well above pre-pandemic levels which hovered around $400.

Prices skyrocketed due to a variety of factors, including supply chain disruption due to COVID-19 restrictions, labor shortages, and higher demand due to the surge in the housing market, according to a report by Wells Fargo economists. The report noted that while prices were unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels, restarting domestic lumber production and restoring domestic supply chains would stabilize the market.

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