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Business News Roundup, January 21, 2021

A change of power in Washington, a new White House relationship for the Fed, weekly jobless claims, private sector planning for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, a marriage of wind and hydrogen power, and proposals to use Connecticut’s surplus for pandemic relief are among the key business news items this morning.


President Joe Biden has officially become the 46th President of the United States, and the Democratic Party has officially clinched control of the Senate after three new members were sworn in.

The slim majority gives Biden more leverage as he hopes to pursue further stimulus initiatives and other economic measures. But a $1.9 trillion measure pitched by the administration is sure to face some pushback from Republicans, especially items such as a $15 federal minimum wage and aid for state and local governments, and may need to be trimmed down in order to pass.

Jerome Powell will remain chairman of the Federal Reserve, but the board may now be urged to assist in policy initiatives such as fighting climate change and working toward racial equality. The Fed has already taken some steps in this direction by signing onto an international coalition supporting action on environmental sustainability.

Weekly jobless claims remained elevated at 900,000, though they retreated slightly from a recent high. The hospitality industry continues to shed the most jobs as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.

Business trends

Dissatisfied with the federal government’s pace of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, some companies in the private sector are developing plans for how they might speed up the process. Biden has pledged to accelerate vaccine distribution, providing 100 million doses in his first 100 days.

The Danish wind developer Orsted is pushing ahead with plans to pair offshore wind with hydrogen production, with a wind farm off Denmark set to begin producing hydrogen by the end of the year. By using wind power to fuel an electrolysis to split water atoms, hydrogen can potentially be produced in a renewable way, thus adding to potential green energy options.


Connecticut is set to spend $630 million less than the legislature authorized for the state government due to federal aid and the curtailment of certain services during the pandemic. Some lawmakers are calling for the funds to be used to help public colleges and universities, nonprofits, and others that have suffered major revenue shortfalls during the crisis.

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