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Business News Roundup, July 22, 2021

Increasing concerns over the Delta variant of COVID-19, a failed test vote on a compromise infrastructure bill, the Fed considers will consider easing its securities purchases, a spike in jobless claims, and a potential battery breakthrough are among the top business news items this morning.


COVID-19 concerns are reemerging as the Delta variant spreads, with local officials in several areas reinstating mask mandates and warning of the possibility of stricter public health rules. Almost two-thirds of counties in the United States have vaccinated less than 40 percent of their residents, allowing for a quicker spread of the more transmissible variant.

Senate Republicans blocked a test vote to begin debate on a $1.2 trillion compromise measure for infrastructure spending. However, both Democratic and Republican leaders have signaled that they are hoping to advance the measure next week after taking more time to hammer out key issues.

Federal Reserve officials are looking to potentially rein in some of their lenient policies during their meeting next week, according to the Wall Street Journal. In particular, the Fed is expected to discuss when and how quickly to start paring back monthly purchases of Treasury and mortgage securities.

Jobless claims unexpectedly spiked a week after hitting a pandemic low, with initial claims rising to 419,000 last week. The increase comes amid ongoing labor shortages as workers vie for better pay and benefits, as well as concerns over the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

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A startup company claims it has made a breakthrough in developing an iron-air battery capable of long-term power discharges. The Massachusetts-based Form Energy Inc. development could present an affordable and reliable option for storing power generated by renewable energy sources.

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