he Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has extended the filing deadline for employers to file their Form EEO-1 Component 2 reports because not enough of them had done so by the original deadline of Sept. 30.
EEOC reported the deadline extension to the federal district court judge who is supervising the filing process She earlier had found the commission had violated the law when it attempted to withdraw the Component 2 reporting requirement that was earlier imposed by the Obama-era EEOC.
The judge had set a target response rate of 72.7% of eligible employers, but EEOC reported that as of Sept. 27 only about 39.7% of those expected to file had submitted their reports. This target response rate imposed by the judge had not been made public prior to that commission’s recent notice to the court of the deadline extension.
Legal observers believe that some employers had waited to the last minute to see if the judge’s original decision would be tossed out on appeal, which given the circumstances should have been considered a forlorn hope.
Attorneys Kate Gold and Guy Brenner of the Proskauer Rose law firm said on Sept. 27, “Although the response rate is quite low, it is believed that many employers have been waiting until Sept. 30 to file their EEO-1 submissions – because they need more time, see no reason to file early, or are holding out hope for a last minute stay of the requirement,” which didn’t happen.
EEOC expects this data to be drawn from one single payroll period of their choosing that occurred between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 of each of the reporting years. Employers are required to submit Component 2 if they had 100 or more employees during both of these workforce snapshot periods. The same holds for federal contractors and subcontractors with 50 or more employees.
The commission also recently announced that it does not intend to ask employers for the same Component 2 data in 2020 (AA, 9-30-19. P. 2).
<h3>Chem Indicator Rises Slightly</h3>
The Chemical Activity Barometer, a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council, rose by 0.1% in September on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis, a 0.1 percent decline in August and gains averaging 0.2% per month during the second quarter.
On a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, the barometer was flat (0.0%). In September its unadjusted measure was up 0.6% after a 0.7% decline registered in August (AA, 9-15-19, P. 3).
The council also said the diffusion index rose to 67% in September. This index marks the number of positive contributors relative to the total number of indicators monitored.
“Although one month does not make a trend, the positive September CAB reading and upward revisions in the data are encouraging signs,” said Kevin Swift, chief economist at ACC. “The barometer indicates gains in U.S. commerce into the second quarter of 2020, but at a slow pace.”
The CAB consists of four primary components, each consisting of a variety of indicators: production; equity prices; product prices; and inventories combined with other indicators.
Production-related indicators in September were slightly positive. Housing activity rebounded sharply in August, while trends in construction- related resins, pigments and related performance chemistry were mixed, suggesting slow gains in housing activity, ACC notes.
Plastic resins used in packaging and for consumer and institutional applications were mixed. Performance chemistry improved. U.S. exports were mixed, reflecting trade tensions, a high dollar and a weak global manufacturing environment. Equity prices rebounded, as did product and input prices. Inventory and other indicators were positive.
<h3>Save Radio Band, States Tell FCC</h3>
The leaders of all 50 state departments of transportation, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico called on the Federal Communications Commission to “continue our nation’s commitment to improving transportation safety” by reserving the 5.9 GHz wireless spectrum for transportation use.
The chief executive of every member of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials signed the letter sent to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
They stated, “The top priority for the state DOTs and AASHTO has been — and will always remain — the safety of all transportation system users. The loss of 36,750 lives last year on our nation’s highways and streets demands that we act boldly.”
The state officials added, “To this end, connected vehicles (CV) utilizing Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication in the 5.9 GHz spectrum will save lives by creating a seamless, cooperative environment that significantly improves the safety of our transportation system.”
They acknowledged that automakers and device manufacturers will dictate availability of the equipment. However, they wrote the FCC, transportation agencies will control the deployment and operation of roadside infrastructure and the incorporation of CV technologies into infrastructure.
This collaboration between the public and private sectors has already invested hundreds of millions of dollars to develop and deploy lifesaving CV technologies in the 5.9 GHz spectrum, they noted.
“State DOTs understand that a CV environment holds the potential to support a fundamental advancement in ensuring the safety of our nation’s surface transportation system,” the state officials said. “And in order for this promising future to become a reality, the 5.9 GHz spectrum must be preserved for transportation safety purposes.”
<h3>NRF Says Xmas Sales Will Grow</h3>
Holiday retail sales during November and December will rise between 3.8% and 4.2% over 2018, to reach a total of $727.9 billion to $730.7 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.
The numbers, which exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants, compare with an average holiday sales increase of 3.7% over the previous five years, the federation notes.
NRF also expects online and other non-store sales, which are included in the total, to increase between 11% and 14% to between $162.6 billion and $166.9 billion, up from $146.5 billion last year.
“The U.S. economy is continuing to grow and consumer spending is still the primary engine behind that growth,” said NRF President Matthew Shay. “There has clearly been a slowdown brought on by considerable uncertainty around issues including trade, interest rates, global risk factors and political rhetoric.”
Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said all the many moving parts and distractions make predictions difficult. “There is significant economic unease, but current economic data and the recent momentum of the economy show that we can expect a much stronger holiday season than last year,” he added.
He observed that lower numbers in retail sales employment this year were not as bad as they seemed because many retailers have been shifting jobs to warehousing and distribution. However, Kleinhenz pointed out, there has been a persisting nationwide shortage of 100,000 employees in retail sales since the current economic expansion began.
NRF expects retailers to hire between 530,000 and 590,000 temporary workers, which compares with the 554,000 hired in 2018.
The effect of tariffs on holiday spending, either directly or through consumer confidence, remains to be seen. Some holiday merchandise — including apparel, footwear and televisions — is subject to new tariffs that took effect Sept. 1, and other products will have the tariffs applied on Dec. 15.