Lobbying efforts for additional COVID-19 business relief, a vow to pursue the core provisions of the Build Back Better Act, a drop in consumer sentiment, strong retail holiday sales, and thefts targeted at delivery mechanisms are among the top business news items this morning.
Several business groups are stepping up their lobbying efforts for additional COVID-19 relief as the Omicron variant creates new disruptions. The efforts are facing pushback, especially among Republican lawmakers who say enough money has been spent for this purpose, but industries such as gyms and hotels argue that they were largely overlooked in previous financing efforts and are continuing to face heightened uncertainty.
Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia says he believes Democratic lawmakers will still be able to pass core provisions of the Build Back Better Act after the sweeping legislation on social policy and environmental issues was likely sunk by the opposition of Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Kaine says he believes another version of the bill will be crafted focusing on key issues such as education, child care, and workforce training.
The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment reading dropped 1.8 points to 68.8 in January, the second-lowest reading in the past decade. The survey’s chief economist said the decline was driven partially by recent waves of COVID-19 infections but also the rising inflation rate.
Retailers enjoyed a strong holiday shopping season, according to the National Retail Federation. Sales for November and December totaled $886.7 billion, a year-over-year gain of 14.1 percent
Some thieves have begun targeting transportation sources such as delivery trucks and trains, adding a new element to the uptick in organized thefts against retailers in recent months. The chief executive officer at UPS says that the company has not seen an increase in the number of thefts, but warned that the method is cause for concern.