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Business News Roundup, March 11, 2021

The approval of the American Rescue Plan, the purchase of 100 million COVID-19 vaccines, potential changes to the PPP deadline, falling jobless claims, new wind turbine installations, and faster hiring at Sikorsky are among the key business news items this morning.


The House of Representatives has approved the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan in a 220-211 vote, and President Joe Biden is slated to sign the measure on Friday. The bill, which includes a wide range of relief aimed at stabilizing the economy and supporting efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic, passed along party lines with all Republicans opposed and all but one Democrat in favor.

Biden has directed the purchase of 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which can be administered with a single shot and stored in a conventional refrigerator. The purchase is not expected to accelerate the administration’s timeline for vaccine distribution, which is scheduled to have doses available to all U.S. adults by the end of May, but will help build up the nation’s inventory of vaccines later in the year.

Members of the House Small Business Committee have indicated that they are open to extending the March 31 deadline for Paycheck Protection Program applications. Several lenders and financial groups have called for an extension in order to adapt to changes in the program and address a backlog in applications.

Initial jobless claims fell to 712,000 last week, dropping 42,000 from the week before. Data from the Department of Labor also showed that 4.1 million people were receiving state unemployment benefits with approximately 20.1 million on some sort of unemployment assistance.

Business trends

Undeterred by the COVID-19 pandemic, new wind turbines were commissioned in 2020 at a rate 59 percent higher than the previous year, although offshore deployments saw a decrease. The surge was driven largely by increasing installations in the United States and China.


The Stratford helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky added 1,000 jobs in 2020, twice its 2019 pace. The company is designing and building three helicopter programs and is expected to see robust business in the future, although it is also awaiting the announcement of the Biden administration’s military spending priorities.

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