Easing market disruptions related to the Omicron variant, a sharp dip in U.S. productivity, shrinking household savings, climbing COVID-19 hospitalizations in Connecticut, and a reminder on Connecticut’s tax amnesty program are among the top business news items this morning.
The stock market is shrugging off concerns about the COVID-19 Omicron variant, with markets and oil prices posting strong gains. The emergence of the new variant created concerns about further disruptions due to the virus, but the benchmark stock index has recovered most of its losses from the past week.
Productivity in the United States had its steepest drop in more than 60 years in the third quarter of 2021, falling 5.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis. Economists suggests that part of the drop can be explained by factors such as supply chain issues and the spike of COVID-19 infections caused by the Delta variant.
While the COVID-19 pandemic spurred greater savings in American households, these capital reserves have been slowly shrinking over the past year. This trend could result in dampened consumer spending in 2022.
Connecticut’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have climbed back up to 500, and the seven-day rolling average has also increased in recent weeks. More than three-quarters of those hospitalized were unvaccinated, and Governor Ned Lamont encouraged residents to get vaccinated and get their booster shots to help prevent serious illness.
Lamont is urging Connecticut residents to take advantage of a tax amnesty program if they haven’t filed, have underreported their income, or otherwise have tax issues that need to be resolved. The program is open to both residents and business owners through Jan. 31 and has so far collected more than 3,600 applications and over $12 million.