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Business News Roundup, February 4, 2021

Congress is making further advances on a proposed economic stimulus package, and will also hold a confirmation hearing on President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Labor Department. Jobless claims were down last week, but remain considerably above pre-pandemic levels. In business trends, startups are increasingly turning to credit unions and considering their carbon footprint. And in Connecticut, a hearing will be held on allowing the sale of wine in grocery stores, and the COVID-19 vaccine may be available to residents over the age of 65 by the middle of the month.


House Democrats passed a budget resolution Wednesday allowing Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic relief proposal to move forward through a reconciliation process. The Senate is expected to vote on a similar resolution later this week. Biden has sought Republican support for the bill, but Democrats have said that if necessary they will advance the measure without the 60-vote threshold that is typically needed to pass laws in the Senate.

Marty Walsh, Biden’s pick for Secretary of Labor, will have a confirmation hearing before the Senate today. A former mayor of Boston, Walsh also has experience as a union president and head of the Boston region’s Building and Construction Trades Council.

New jobless claims fell to 779,000 last week, marking the third consecutive week where claims have fallen. However, layoffs remain well above pre-pandemic levels.

Business trends

CNBC reports on how credit unions have seen increased popularity during the pandemic, with borrowers more likely to turn to these institutions in a crisis. The report says that while banks often restrict loan approvals during difficult economic times, credit unions tend to maintain or increase their lending.

Startup companies are placing more emphasis on their environmental practices, offering services for businesses and consumers that can help them reduce their carbon footprint. TechCrunch reports on how application programming interfaces are being used to provide carbon offset options.


Governor Ned Lamont says COVID-19 vaccines may be available to residents ages 65 and over within 10 days. This age group is second in line in the current Phase 1b, following the vaccination of residents ages 75 and older.

A Connecticut General Assembly committee will hold a public hearing today on a bill that would allow wine to be sold in grocery stores, with some shelf space set aside for Connecticut wines. Advocates say this would offer consumer convenience and increase sales of locally produced wines, but package store owners have said the measure would harm their businesses.

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