The opening of the first offshore wind auction, how rising food prices could benefit restaurant sales, wage increases versus inflation, higher wholesale prices, a sharp uptick in jobless claims, and a call by Connecticut’s governor to codify some COVID-19 executive orders are among the top business news items this morning.
The Department of the Interior has announced its first offshore wind auction, with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management holding a lease sale for more than 488,000 acres off the New York and New Jersey coasts. Wind installations in this area are expected to generate 5.6 to 7 gigawatts of energy.
While rising food prices have been putting pressure on restaurants, they could also have the effect of driving more people to dine out. One analysis suggests that the gap between inflation for food prepared at home and food purchased from elsewhere increases the value proposition of restaurants, increasing the likelihood of customers soliciting them.
Wage increases weren’t enough to counteract rising inflation for most workers in 2021, according to a comparison of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The analysis found that workers in leisure and hospitality were the only ones to see a bump in real wages.
Wholesale prices rose 0.2 percent in December, less than anticipated by Dow Jones economists and a marked slowdown from recent months. However, the producer price index is still up 9.7 percent on an annual basis.
Initial jobless claims increased to 230,000 last week, a sharp increase of 23,000 potentially driven by the impact of the Omicron variant. The four-week moving average for claims rose to 210,750.
Governor Ned Lamont is looking for support from the Connecticut General Assembly in codifying several executive orders passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency powers Lamont received during the pandemic are set to expire on Feb. 15, six days after the legislature convenes.