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Business News Roundup, July 14, 2021

A major spending proposal, the disappearance of a ransomware group, uneven inflation, shrinking marketing budgets, growing green energy investments, Pratt & Whitney’s move toward expanded remote work, and wind energy supplier opportunities in Connecticut are among the top business news items this morning.

National

Senate Democrats have unveiled a $3.5 trillion spending package intended to fund several budget priorities of the Biden administration, including climate change initiatives, paid leave, and improved access to child care and health care. The measure is unlikely to win any Republican support and would need to be passed by reconciliation.

REvil, a ransomware group that has been blamed for recent attacks on American businesses, has vanished. It’s uncertain whether the group voluntarily ceased actions or was removed through action by American or Russian authorities.

Business trends

Inflation has been having an uneven effect, with several competing trends affecting consumer prices. These include items whose prices fell sharply at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and have since rebounded, those whose price hikes may be temporary, items where elevated prices are likely to be permanent, and slower price growth for certain goods.

Research from Gartner Inc. finds that companies are typically dedicating 6.4 percent of their revenues to marketing this year, with this share shrinking considerably from 11 percent in 2020. Companies are expected to ramp up advertising this year as they try to capitalize on the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, but businesses are also increasingly likely to outsource marketing tasks and otherwise pursue strategies to reduce costs in this area.

Green energy startups are experiencing a boom in financing as investors look to back improvements to batteries, solar power, and other technologies. The trend marks a reversal of longstanding investor wariness of such projects, which typically require a major capital outlay and longer waiting period before profitability.

Connecticut

Pratt & Whitney has announced it is planning upgrades to its East Hartford headquarters to support hybrid schedules and improved employee collaboration. The aircraft engine manufacturer says the changes intend to support employees’ requests for improved flexibility and remote work options.

Business groups see Connecticut’s emerging offshore wind sector as an opportunity for the state’s manufacturers to expand their customer base. Port facilities in Bridgeport and New London are slated to support the development of offshore wind installations, and precision manufacturers are well-positioned to act as suppliers.

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