A student loan pause, a disconnect between job openings and candidates, sluggish recovery for movie theaters, higher average pay in restaurants and grocery stores, a long-term care vaccine mandate in Connecticut, and a sharp drop in Connecticut’s unemployment numbers are among the top business news items this morning.
President Joe Biden has extended a pause on federal student loan payments by four months, giving borrowers the option to hold off on these payments with no interest accrual through Jan. 31, 2022. The White House has cautioned that this will be the final extension of the pause, which has been in effect since September 2020.
Data suggests that there are about 1 million more job openings in the United States than there are job seekers willing to fill them. The Department of Labor’s latest jobs report shows about 8.7 million people who are actively looking for work, while the jobs site Indeed estimates that there are about 9.8 million job openings in the U.S.
Movie theaters are experiencing a sluggish recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which venues experiencing greater interest from filmgoers but much lower numbers than in 2019. Other issues such as the threat of the Delta variant of the virus are also potentially keeping people from going to the movies.
Average pay in restaurants and supermarkets has exceeded $15 an hour as businesses raise wages in a bid to attract job applicants. As this base rate becomes increasingly common, recruiters say many people looking for work are no longer considering jobs that pay below this level.
Governor Ned Lamont has issued an executive order mandating that staffers in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living services agencies must be vaccinated against COVID-19. The order states that unvaccinated staffers must receive their first dose of the vaccine no later than Sept. 7, and that facilities that do not comply with the order are subject to a $20,000 civil penalty per day.
The number of people on unemployment in Connecticut fell by 10 percent in the second week of July, according to the state’s Department of Labor. About 13,600 stopped receiving benefits at that time.