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Southfield (CBS Detroit) – As the pandemic winds down, an offshoot has been a growing jobs gap particularly in the skilled trades, which is why CBS 62’s “Michigan Matters” is taking a look this Sunday at 7:30 a.m. at one unique program to train more tree trimmers.

Michigan Matters Host Carol Cain, with Jerry Norcia, President/CEO of DTE Energy

With most power outages caused by trees hitting power lines, DTE Energy President & CEO Jerry Norcia is working with the city of Detroit, Focus: HOPE, and IBEW Local 17 as they recently started the new Tree Trimming Academy to train  Detroiters for these much-in-demand jobs.

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Norcia talked with Senior Producer/Host Carol Cain about the perpetual shortage of tree trimmers not only in Michigan but across the country.

The Academy opened in April and a June 3 press conference held with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and others involved to talk about the six-week program – which hopes to train 200 people in its first year.

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Michigan Matters Host Carol Cain, with Jerry Norcia, President/CEO of DTE Energy; Nicole Sherard-Freeman
Group Exec. of Jobs, Economy, Detroit at Work; Portia Roberson, CEO, Focus: HOPE; and James Shaw
Business Mgr., IBEW Local 17

Also appearing on this “Michigan Matters” episode to discuss  their role in the new program is: Nicole Sherard-Freeman, Group Executive of Detroit’s Jobs, Economy and Detroit At Work Teams, Portia Roberson, CEO of Focus: HOPE , and Jamie Shaw, Business Manager of IBEW Local 17. IBEW has  trained tree trimmers for 130 years and is doing so at the new academy.

Sherard-Freeman, Roberson & Shaw discussed the current jobs picture, how they are helping to connect people and companies, and the road ahead in the skilled trades in particular.

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Watch Michigan Matters, Sunday at 7:30am on CBS 62


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Tags: carol cain detroit at work dte energy economy employment focus hope jobs michigan matters tree trimming michigan matters host carol cain

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Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan says consumer spending is 20% higher this year than 2019

VIDEO3:2303:23Bank of America CEO: Consumer spending has surged 20% compared to 2019Squawk Box

American consumers are spending more freely as the economy continues to open up, according to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan.

Transaction volumes on customers' credit and debit cards and over the Zelle payment network has grown by 20% so far this year compared to this point in 2019, Moynihan told CNBC's Becky Quick Monday on CNBC's "Squawk Box." The comparison excludes 2020, an abnormal year in many respects because the onset of the pandemic led to widespread stay-at-home orders.

"People got a lot of stimulus money and they've been spending it," Moynihan said. "The unemployment rate is coming down and people are going back to work. People can go to amusement parks, they can go on an inside-the-U.S. trip, they can go out to eat. You're seeing everything open."

When lawmakers passed President Joe Biden's stimulus bill in March, the total amount of coronavirus stimulus reached $5 trillion, a massive response to an unprecedented situation. That helped the country avoid the wave of borrower defaults across credit-cards, mortgages and auto loans that was expected at the onset of the pandemic.

Nearly all spending categories have recovered with the exception of travel, which is still as much as 15% lower than in 2019, Moynihan said. Bank of America is the second biggest U.S. bank by assets after JPMorgan Chase and has relationships with roughly half of American households.

Stimulus checks and bolstered unemployment benefits have pumped up customers' checking accounts, Moynihan said. Accounts with about $1,000 to $2,000 in average balances are "up 6 to 7 times what they were before the pandemic," he said.

"They're starting to spend a little of that money," Moynihan said. "The money's still there and they're spending as they have opportunities."

During the wide-ranging interview, Moynihan said that cybersecurity spending at his bank has climbed from around $300 million annually when he started as CEO to well over $1 billion a year.

He also said that 60,000 employees in the U.S. have informed the bank of their vaccination status and are being invited back to office work, a process that will continue through Labor Day.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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