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Business News Roundup, Aug. 26, 2021

A slight bump in jobless claims, a penalty schedule for unvaccinated workers, support for employer vaccine mandates, growth in the retail sector, return-to-office mistakes managers are likely to make, an appointment for Connecticut’s Social Equity Council, and the possibility of major investments in New London are among the top business news items this morning.


Initial jobless claims increased slightly to 353,000 last week, while 12 million people remained on some sort of unemployment benefit as of Aug. 7. Economists expect that claims will fall steadily as the economy recovers, but show some variations due to the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant and factors such as child care concerns keeping some potential workers out of the labor force.


Business trends

While stopping short of the vaccine mandates that other air carriers have imposed, Delta Air Lines is encouraging employees to get vaccinated through a schedule of increasingly onerous requirements for workers who don’t get the dose. Unvaccinated employees must immediately resume indoor masking, and will later face penalties including paying an additional $200 a month to remain covered under the company’s health insurance.

A poll from the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds considerable support for employer vaccine mandates, with 59 percent of remote workers and 47 percent of in-person workers in favor. One-quarter of all workers are opposed to such mandates.

While the retail sector has been struggling to find and retain workers, it has also seen a boost in the number of stores opening. The sector has also seen record hiring and wage levels this year.

A Wall Street Journal article outlines eight mistakes managers are likely to make when employees return to the physical workplace. It suggests that leaders are most likely to err in “treating their employees like children,” or not respecting the newfound independence workers gained during remote work.


Governor Ned Lamont has named Ginne-Rae Clay as the interim executive director of Connecticut’s Social Equity Council. This 15-member group, established as part of legislation earlier this summer to legalize recreational cannabis in Connecticut, will oversee efforts such as programs to assist individuals who were disproportionately harmed by previous cannabis enforcement.

New London stands to receive tens of millions of dollars in federal investments under a major infrastructure proposal, according to Senator Chris Murphy. In a meeting with city and business leaders, Murphy said funds could be invested in the Coast Guard Academy as well as waterfront improvements.

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