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Business News Roundup, January 29, 2021

Democrats are planning to move on a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill as the latest economic data shows major losses, elevated unemployment, and signs of recovery. A record number of retail stores have closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, while IT outsourcing is set to accelerate. In Connecticut, Electric Boat is promising to keep pace on the schedule for a new class of submarine, an economic development organization is seeking a new leader, and a grant fund available to women- and minority-owned businesses exceeds $1 million.


Data released by the Commerce Department shows that the U.S. economy shrank 3.5 percent in 2020, the largest annual decline since 1946. However, economists expect the economy to rebound strongly in 2021, and the data also indicated that GDP was up 1 percent in the last quarter of 2020.

Congressional Democrats say are willing to move forward on a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package floated by President Joe Biden without Republican votes if necessary. Biden has pledged to work with Republicans to find a bipartisan deal on further economic aid, and some moderate Democrats have advocated for it to be whittled down, but Democrats also have the option of using a budget reconciliation process to pass the measure with a simple majority.

A total of 847,000 initial unemployment claims were filed last week, falling below economists’ predictions. The figure is five times higher than the pre-pandemic average and an indicator of ongoing labor challenges created by the pandemic.

Business trends

Many businesses have been relying on remote workers for close to a year now, and a Forbes Technology Council post suggests that this trend will help accelerate the outsourcing of information technology work. The post suggests that the pandemic has forced companies to reevaluate their digital priorities, and that they will be more likely to rely on external help as a result.

A recent research report predicts that a record 10,000 retail stores are likely to close this year due to economic losses from the pandemic and a continuing consumer shift to e-commerce. Apparel stores have been particularly hard-hit, and the report notes that 1,678 stores have already closed this year as of Jan. 22.


The Women’s Business Development Council has announced that its Equity Match Grant Program has topped $1 million. This program aims to assist women- and minority-owned businesses to access capital and improve their financial standing.

Following a government audit identifying delays in the Columbia class submarine program, the CEO of Electric Boat is promising that its progress will keep pace with the planned schedule. The company also expects that submarines will continue to be a defense priority in the new presidential administration.

The Norwich Community Development Corporation is hoping to begin the process of choosing a new president and select a candidate this spring. Jason Vincent, the previous president, died in an apparent suicide last month in West Virginia.

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