White House support for tighter monetary policies, new COVID-19 executive orders in several states, a 15-year high in existing home sales, an increase in initial unemployment claims, a clarification of rules on Connecticut recreational marijuana businesses, and the impending expiration of certain COVID-19 executive orders in Connecticut are among the top business news items this morning.
At a news conference covering a wide range of issues, President Joe Biden voiced his support for the Federal Reserve’s plans tighten monetary policies in an effort to rein in inflation. Biden said the strength of the economy and the acceleration in price increases makes it appropriate to “recalibrate the support that is now necessary.”
Several state and local officials have been issuing new COVID-19 executive orders in response to the spread of the Omicron variant. The actions avoid lockdowns or similar restrictions, but includes actions such as reaffirming a state of emergency, requiring vaccination to enter certain businesses, and reinstating indoor mask mandates.
Existing homes sales in the United States hit a 15-year high in 2021, with 6.1 million sales. This marked an 8.5 percent annual increase, though housing economists expect that demand will cool this year.
Initial unemployment claims rose to a three-month high of 286,000 last week, a trend attributed at least in part to the disruptions caused by the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. Continuing claims for the week prior increased to 1.64 million.
The Department of Consumer Protection is clarifying that all municipalities in Connecticut will be able to host recreational cannabis businesses when the licensure process begins next month. In response to confusion over whether only communities with a large enough population would be able to host these businesses, the department said that the rules stipulate the number of certain businesses allowed based on population.
Some COVID-19 executive orders in Connecticut are set to expire, including one requiring state employees to get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. Governor Ned Lamont reportedly has no plans to pursue a renewal of this requirement as his emergency powers are set to end on Feb. 15 and he works with legislators to preserve certain measures put in place during the pandemic.