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Business News Roundup, Aug. 18, 2021

The Federal Reserve chairman sees permanent changes from the COVID-19 pandemic, more low-wage workers are pursuing career paths, a revival of pandemic buying in some areas, a shortage of fuel truck drivers, the reuse of enormous retail spaces, and a significant uptick of COVID-19 cases in Connecticut are among the top business news items this morning.


Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy has been permanently changed by the COVID-19 pandemic and that the nation will not return to the same conditions that existed before the crisis. Powell said the central bank’s policies will need to adapt to these changes, including a major expansion in remote work and an associated boost in technology-related work.

Business trends

Economists are suggesting that one reason employers are facing challenges in finding workers for low-wage jobs is that the COVID-19 pandemic inspired more people to pursue opportunities to develop a career path. The trend is influencing significant changes in employee management, especially in sectors such as food service or retail that have been experiencing an elevated quits rate.

Some businesses are seeing a revival of pandemic panic buying as the COVID-19 Delta variant drives an increase in new cases. Several Costco customers have reported on Twitter that their local store is out of toilet paper and bottled water, and others are saying their stores have reinstated a purchase limit on certain items.

There is an increased demand for fuel truck drivers, many of whom were laid off or retired after demand for travel slumped during the pandemic. The shortage of drivers has also led to instances of gas stations briefly running out of fuel in some markets.

The closure of thousands of Kmart locations since 2005 has opened up spacious commercial real estate at bargain prices. The former retail stores are seeing new life as everything from laboratories to funeral homes.


COVID-19 hospitalizations in Connecticut have exceeded 300, with 36 additional patients since Monday pushing the number to 321. The daily test positivity rate increased to 4.25 percent, its highest level since the spring.

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