A record number of COVID-19 cases in the United States, a delay in action on the Build Back Better bill, the gap between inflation and pay raises, potentially easing pressure on global supply chains, non-traditional retail tenants, increasing COVID-19 cases in Connecticut, and a call for lower sales taxes in Connecticut are among the top business news items this morning.
COVID-19 cases in the United States exceeded 1 million on Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, though health officials say this is likely an undercount since more people are testing for the virus at home. The spread of the Omicron variant is causing numerous disruptions across industries, including further delays to plans to return to the office.
Following reports that he has continued discussions with the White House on the matter, Senator Joe Manchin said he remains opposed to the $2 trillion Build Back Better Act. Other Democratic lawmakers have signaled that they are willing to work with Manchin to reach a compromise on the bill, which funds several social and environmental initiatives, but that they will prioritize other goals for now.
A New York Times survey shows that few workers are seeing their pay keep pace with inflation despite wages rising at a rapid clip. Just 17 percent said the pay raises they have received have kept up with inflation, while most of the remainder said inflation has outpaced their bump in pay or that they did not receive any increase in compensation at all.
A report from the New York Federal Reserve says that pressures on global supply chains are at their highest point since 1997. However, it also suggests that these pressures have peaked and are likely to moderate moving forward.
Retail landlords are pursuing non-traditional tenants as COVID-19 continues to disrupt businesses and consumer shopping trends. Empty spaces are being filled with options such as pop-up shops and art spaces, and landlords are often being more flexible about what tenants they will consider and what lease terms they will offer.
Connecticut’s daily test positivity rate for COVID-19 increased again, reaching 23.85 percent on Tuesday. Hospitalizations climbed to 1,562, the highest level since May 2020, but Governor Ned Lamont said vaccinations and boosters are helping to keep the number of serious cases in the state down.
Republicans in the Connecticut Senate are urging a temporary reduction in the state’s sales taxes, reducing their base rate from 6.35 percent to 5.99 percent and suspending a surcharge on prepared food. The lawmakers say this reduction would offer relief to families coping with higher prices.