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Business News Roundup, March 15, 2021

A full employment prediction, an anticipated infrastructure bill, ongoing manufacturing challenges, the growth of wind power, help for day care centers, and the nation’s most valuable startup are among the top business news items this morning.


Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen anticipates that the United States will return to full employment in 2022 under the recently passed American Rescue Plan. Yellen said the improvement in the economy could result in a modest increase in prices as well as a small risk of inflation, but anticipates that both will be manageable.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats will soon begin work on President Joe Biden’s infrastructure agenda, saying she hopes the measure attracts bipartisan support. Infrastructure improvements have typically attracted bipartisan support, but Republicans have been more wary about larger spending bills during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Business trends

Manufacturers are continuing to experience challenges in meeting consumer demand, which has remained robust in several sectors during the pandemic and could see a further surge as the economy improves. The bottlenecks are particularly pronounced in international shipping, with vessels sometimes waiting for weeks before they are able to dock.

Wind has become the top source of renewable energy in the U.S., with wind power installations proceeding rapidly enough that those in the final quarter of 2020 surpassed the total number of installations in 2019. The bulk of these installations were onshore, but offshore wind developments are expected to accelerate in coming years.

Child care centers are receiving nearly $50 million as part of the American Rescue Plan, including $40 million for operating expenses and tuition assistance for the children of essential workers and $8 million in temporary tax breaks to subsidize dependent care. The relief is aimed at supporting child care businesses that have experienced revenue shortfalls while also ensuring that workers don’t need to give up their jobs due to child care needs.

The digital payments company Stripe is the most valuable startup in the U.S., with its valuation nearly tripling from $35 billion to $95 billion. Stripe is part of a wave of digital service companies that have proliferated in response to the pandemic as consumers increasingly rely on online options for purchases and other needs.

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