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Business News Roundup, Dec. 16, 2021

Uncertainty on a major social policy and environmental bill, a major shift in Federal Reserve policies, an uptick in jobless claims, an effort to boost the number of employees in the trucking industry, a decision against a statewide mask mandate in Connecticut, and a task force to address organized retail theft in Connecticut are among the top business news items this morning.


Democratic lawmakers’ hopes of passing a $2 trillion social policy and environmental bill by Christmas may not be realized as a key vote on the proposed law balked at the size and scope of the legislation. Senator Joe Manchin has been privately discussing his concerns on the bill with President Joe Biden, but significant differences remain on certain issues and more work needs to be done on some aspects of the package.

The Federal Reserve is shifting its policies in an effort to curtail rising inflation, announcing that it will speed up its tapering of monthly bond purchases and plan to raise interest rates three times in 2022. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the economy has strengthened considerably since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, easing the need for stimulus efforts from the central bank.

Business trends

Initial jobless claims rose to 206,000 last week, although the four-week moving average for claims fell to its lowest level of 203,750. Continuing claims for the week prior fell to 1.85 million.

The Biden administration is looking to boost the number of people employed in the trucking industry, introducing a plan to help states improve their commercial licensing processes and recruit new drivers. The effort is part of the White House’s efforts to address persistent supply chain challenges.


With Connecticut’s COVID-19 numbers rising in recent weeks, Governor Ned Lamont says he won’t reinstate a statewide indoor mask mandate as neighboring New York has done. Lamont says he is looking to leave this issue to individual municipalities, and also hopes that a digital health card will help businesses requiring proof of vaccination to quickly assess visitors.

Connecticut is establishing a task force to address the recent rise in organized retail thefts, including how the stolen goods are sold online. The task force will focus on how the thefts are organized and how they can be prevented.

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