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Business News Roundup, May 11, 2021

The White House is defending expanded unemployment benefits, incoming state and local aid, new CDC guidance on indoor work environments, higher gas prices, resilience in Connecticut’s insurance industry, and an objection to State Pier plans are among the top business news items this morning.


President Joe Biden is defending a $300-a-week federal supplement to unemployment benefits that several Republicans and business groups have blamed it for deterring people from reentering the workforce, saying several other factors contributed to a weak April jobs report. However, Biden also directed the Labor Department to make the enhanced benefits unavailable to anyone who rejects a suitable job offer.

The Biden administration is set to begin disbursing $350 billion in state and local aid approved under the American Rescue Plan. The funds can be used to make up for pandemic-related shortfalls and fund certain infrastructure improvements, but cannot be used to implement tax cuts.

Updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control says COVID-19 can be spread a considerable distance through aerosolized particles and very fine droplets, increasing the risk of transmission in indoor environments. The CDC says continued mask wearing and improved ventilation can mitigate this risk.

Business trends

Gas prices have increased noticeably after a ransomware attack shut down a major oil pipeline. The disruption is causing higher prices at the pump due to limited supply, and will likely endure for several days after the situation is resolved due to residual delays.


Several public officials are expressing their confidence in Connecticut’s insurance industry after The Hartford’s recent rejection of several takeover bids. The insurance and finance sector workforce in Connecticut has declined in the past year, but has remained more resilient than other sectors as remote work has proved to be a feasible setup during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A company formerly based at State Pier in New London has formally objected to a draft decision recommending the issuance of a final work permit to overhaul the pier into a facility to support offshore wind operations. DRVN Enterprises was ordered to vacate the pier in February due to preparations to begin construction, but the company argues that it should have been allowed to remain on site.

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