A Senate vote to scrap a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for larger employers, an executive order in pursuit of eliminating carbon emissions, a defense bill with several small business provisions, an expectation of significant wage hikes, falling initial jobless claims, and a warning on the impact of the end of the federal child tax credit on Connecticut’s children are among the top business news items this morning.
The Senate voted 52-48 in favor of a resolution to nullify the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 vaccine workplace rules, though the measure is unlikely to win the necessary support in the House of Representatives. The proposed rule, which is currently facing legal challenges, would require businesses with 100 or more employees to establish policies on employee vaccine requirements.
President Joe Biden has issued an executive order directing a wide range of initiatives to make the federal government carbon-neutral by 2050. These efforts include transitioning federal vehicle fleets to zero-emissions models, upgrading buildings, and prioritizing purchases of low-carbon products and services.
The House of Representatives has passed the National Defense Authorization Act for the 2022 fiscal year, with several provisions included to help small business contractors. These include an exemption on the threshold for payment and performance bonds and a review of the Department of Defense’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification to mitigate any negative impacts on small businesses.
Businesses are preparing for major wage increases for employees in 2022 due to persistent labor shortages and inflation, according to a Conference Board report. The organization says companies surveyed for the report are planning to set aside 3.9 percent of their total payrolls for pay raises, the fastest wage growth since 2008.
Initial jobless claims last week fell to 184,000, a new pandemic low and the lowest level since 1969. Continuing claims were up slightly to just under 2 million
Advocates for the federal child tax credit are warning that failing to extend it will constrain consumer spending and cause more than 600,000 children in Connecticut to lose financial assistance. An analysis from the think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says 80,000 of these children could fall below the poverty line or face additional hardships if an extension is not approved by Jan. 15.