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Business News Roundup, February 17, 2021

There have been mixed signals on the economy recently, with more COVID-19 vaccines set to flow to communities and higher retail spending set against millions of Americans facing persistent unemployment. Digital currency is gaining more followers, as several institutions have started to welcome bitcoin as an investment or service. In Connecticut, the final tier of the latest vaccination stage will begin shortly, proposed legislation looks to clarify tax rules, and some lawmakers want an investigation of a port developer.


The Biden administration says it will increase its COVID-19 vaccine distribution to states by 23 percent, with drugmakers providing 13.5 million doses starting this week. The number of doses set to double to 2 million per week, and a third vaccine could soon enter the market soon if Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine receives emergency authorization.

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Bitcoin is seeing increased popularity among major institutions as the cryptocurrency recently exceeded $50,000. Entities such as Morgan Stanley and Mastercard have said they will begin investing in bitcoin or supporting it on their platforms, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently announced that the company has invested $1.5 billion in the cryptocurrency and will begin accepting it as payment for its electric vehicles.

Most people on unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic had already lost a job earlier in 2020, according to economists at the University of Chicago and JPMorgan Chase Institute. Their research found that about two-thirds of people who began receiving jobless benefits in October had already received unemployment benefits at least once since April, a sign of a fitful labor market amid waves of business closures and reopenings.

Retail spending far exceeded expectations in January, rising 5.3 percent against forecasts of a 1.2 percent increase. The boost was likely driven in part by consumers spending some or all of their $600 stimulus checks received under the Economic Aid Act.


Connecticut is making plans to advance to the third and final tier of Phase 1b of its COVID-19 vaccination plan, which has so far been aimed at older residents. The state will release guidance in about 10 days on when frontline workers, including teachers, and those with underlying health issues can begin scheduling vaccination appointments.

The Connecticut legislature is crafting a bill aimed at protecting residents from double taxation due to remote work arrangements. The proposal would allow residents who work out-of-state and pay income taxes there to receive a credit for those taxes on their Connecticut returns.

Two Republican state senators are asking the Connecticut attorney general to investigate the Connecticut Port Authority due to concerns over the agency’s spending. The CPA is spearheading an effort to convert New London’s State Pier into a heavy-lift capable port that can support work involved in offshore wind development.

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