You Need to Know

July 2021



COVID Vaccine Incentives… A recent survey indicated a majority of employers want their employees to get the vaccine. However, over 80% of employers surveyed are not planning to require their workers to get the vaccine. Many employers are considering offering incentives to employees to get vaccinated. On May 28, the EEOC issued new guidance regarding employer incentives for voluntary vaccinations. In general, employers may offer incentives to employees who voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation that they have been vaccinated by their own health care provider or from their employer or its agent. However, the EEOC indicated that an incentive to get the vaccine from the employer (or its agent) cannot be so substantial as to be “coercive.” ( June 2021)

Warning! Fines in Violation of Registered Unlicensed Electricians Requirements… A licensed Minnesota electrical contractor was found to have allowed registered unlicensed electricians to perform electrical work without being directly supervised by a licensed electrician. The contractor was censured and ordered to ensure that their registered unli-censed electricians are appropriately supervised while engaged in electrical work, to maintain records of their electrical work, and ensure that their vehicles being used for the performance of electrical work includes their name and license number. The contractor was fined $10,000, of which $6,000 was stayed contingent on future compliance. (CCLD Review. Summer 2021)



US Housing Starts…  Privately-owned housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate 9.5% below the revised March estimate, but is 67.3% above the April 2020 rate. Single-family housing starts in April were at a rate 13.4% below the revised March figure. ( June 2021)

US Residential New-House Sales… New-Home sales begin to soften. Sales of new single-family houses in April 2021 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate 5.9% below the revised March 2021 estimate. ( June 2021)


Summary results from May Construction Sector Survey… Significant challenges are dampening what otherwise appears to be growing demand Many firms reported that overall demand appeared quite healthy, but buyers and construction firms were facing major challenges that were negatively impacting both new and existing projects. Firms reported three major culprits throwing cold water on demand and overall activity: Rising costs, supply chain disruptions, and labor availability. Future expectations are positive: Overall, despite challenges, firms have a net-positive outlook for the next six months; 47 percent are optimistic, while 26 percent are pessimistic. (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. May 2021)



Consumer Price Index… The CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.6% in May on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.8% in April. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 5% before seasonal adjustment; this was the largest 12-month increase since a 5.4% increase for the period ending August 2008. (BLS. June 2021)

Producer Price Index… The PPI for final demand increased 0.6% in April, seasonally adjusted. Final demand prices rose 1% in March and 0.5% in February. On an unadjusted basis, the final demand index moved up 6.2% for the 12 months ended in April, the largest advance since 12-month data were first calculated in November 2010. (BLS. June 2021)

US Interest Rates… On June 15, the national average 30-yr fixed mortgage APR was 3.3%. The average 15-yr fixed mortgage APR was 2.650%, according to Bankrate’s latest survey of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders. ( June 2021)


MN Economy… Net general fund revenues totaled $3.306 billion in May, $1.796 billion (119%) more than projected. Net receipts from individual income, sales, and corporate taxes for the month exceeded the forecast, while other revenues matched the forecast. Normally, most tax year 2020 individual income tax payments would have been made in April, however, this year taxpayers were allowed to delay final and extension payments until May 17. The filing delay con-tributed to the income tax variance for the month of May. For fiscal year 2021, year to date receipts are now $23.113 billion, $2.170 billion (10.4%) more than projected. ( June 2021)



Partner with MN CEE to Optimize Your Energy Systems… CEE makes energy efficient lighting affordable with rebates covering up to 60% of total project costs. Their lighting program, sponsored by Xcel Energy, helps small to midsize businesses and nonprofits improve their lighting, earn significant rebates, and lower energy costs for years to come. (



US Unemployment Rate… In May, the unemployment rate declined by 0.3% to 5.8%, and the number of unemployed persons fell by 496,000 to 9.3 million. These measures are down considerably from their recent highs in April 2020 but remain well above their levels prior to the coronavirus pandemic (3.5% & 5.7 million, respectively, in February 2020) (BLS. May 2021)


DEED Has Called More than 30,000 Unemployed Minnesotans… In an effort to connect unemployed Minnesotans with job resources and work opportunities, DEED is taking an aggressive approach by proactively calling Minnesotans on unemployment insurance to connect them with job opportunities. As of mid-April, the latest point for which data is available, we’ve regained 235,300 jobs, or 56.5% of the 416,300 jobs lost from February through April 2020, on a seasonally adjusted basis. The private sector has regained 57.7% of the jobs lost. Since the beginning of the 2021, the number of Minnesotans requesting UI benefits fell from 369,016 for the week ending January 9 to 235,427 for the week ending May 29. That’s more than 130,000 Minnesotans no longer receiving UI – most of them have gone back to work since the beginning of the year. (MN DEED. June 2021)

Regional & State Unemployment… The unemployment rate fell to 4.1% in Minnesota in April, from 4.2% in March, on a seasonally adjusted basis. The labor force participation rate decreased from 67.8% to 67.7%, dipping slightly below April 2020 levels. (BLS. May 21, 2021)


OSHA & Protecting Workers—Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace… OSHA provides this guidance for employers as recommendations to use in protecting unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers. Employers and workers should use this guidance to determine any appropriate control measures to implement. Read more at (June 2021)


Non-Contact Voltage Testers Recalled by Klein Tools Due to Shock Hazard…
Name of product: Klein Tools Non-Contact Voltage Tester Model NCVT-1. Hazard: The on/off button can remain depressed during the power on or power off cycle, causing the tester to work improperly. Consumers testing electrical sources could fail to be warned of the presence of live voltage if the tester is not properly operating, posing a shock hazard. Remedy: Replace. Recall date: June 9. Units: About 1,690,000 (

Kidde Recalls TruSense Smoke and Combination Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarms Due to Risk of Failure to Alert Consumers to a Fire…
Name of product: Kidde TruSense Smoke Alarms and Combination Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarms. Hazard: The smoke alarm and the combination smoke/carbon monoxide (CO) alarm can fail to alert consumers to a fire. Remedy: Replace. Recall date: May 6, 2021. Units: About 226,000  (


Mini-Split and AC Units… NEC 210.8(F) Exception for mini-split & A/C units with DC inverters only. Non-GFCI protected equipment must be reported. Find the form at home page. (


Notice of Public Hearing to Adopt Rules… A public hearing will be held in Room 413, 4th floor, State Capitol, Pierre, SD, on July 20, at 10:00am CDT, to consider the adoption and amendment of proposed rules numbered 20:44:15:03, 20:44:15:04, 20:44:15:05, 20:44:15:06, 20:44:16:04, 20:44:16:11, 20:44:16:15, 20:44:16:21, 20:44:16:24, 20:44:22:07, and 20:44:22:27. This meeting may also be accessed via telephone by dialing 1 (605) 679-7263, Conference ID: 179 064 113#. View proposed rules:
(SD Electrical Commission.