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Business News Roundup, July 19, 2021

Blame for a spring cyberattack, uncertain data on the effect of ending unemployment supplements early, employment concerns driven by the Delta variant of COVID-19, federal funding for Connecticut for workforce training, and improving ridership on a key Connecticut commuter rail service are among the top business news items this morning.


The Biden administration and United States allies are assigning blame for a spring hack of Microsoft Exchange server software last spring to China’s main intelligence service. The cyberattack was unusual in that it was indiscriminate, affecting hundreds of thousands of more vulnerable small businesses.

The data is still unclear on whether the 26 states that ended supplemental federal unemployment benefits early experienced more improvement in their labor market. Bureau of Labor Statistics information shows that while some states that ended benefits early have seen their employment recover to levels at or above those of February 2020, others still have employment levels significantly below that month; other studies, from sources such as Moody’s Analytics and the job search site Indeed, show that the decision did little to spur workers back into the market.

Some economists are suggesting that the federal unemployment benefits should be extended beyond Sept. 6 due to the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19. These economists say the variant could hamper economic recovery by causing local outbreaks, especially in areas where vaccination rates have been low.


Connecticut will receive $1.1 million in federal funding through the Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers program. The initiative supports worker training and job search assistance for those who suffered a job loss or drop in wages due to foreign trade deals.

Ridership on Metro-North’s New Haven Line has been riding, but a report in the Hartford Courant says the commuter rail service will need substantial investment for it to support post-pandemic economic recovery. The New Haven Line is a key transportation link between Connecticut and New York City, but travel times have been slowing due to factors such as aging trains and deteriorating tracks.

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