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Business News Roundup, May 28, 2021

Higher inflation, the Treasury’s projections on economic recovery, a mild consumer spending boost, support for domestic manufacturing and R&D, concerns about missing work due to COVID-19 vaccine side effects, port investment needs, an end to Connecticut’s COVID-19 briefings, and legislation legalizing online gaming and sports betting as well as erasing certain criminal records are among the top business news items this morning.


The personal consumption expenditure inflation measure maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed an annual increase of 3.6 percent in April. Prices were up 0.7 percent compared to March, the highest increase in two decades.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said the economic recovery in the United States will be a “bumpy process,” with high annual inflation rates likely to last through the end of the year. Yellen said inflation is stemming from both increased spending as consumer patterns return to normal after COVID-19 as well as supply shortages, but that it is likely to be temporary and that strategies are in place to address it if it becomes more of a long-term issue.

Consumer spending rose a modest 0.5 percent in April, likely fueled by residual stimulus spending as well as consumers’ return to pre-pandemic activities. Personal incomes fell sharply, although this was expected following a March surge brought on by one-time stimulus checks.

A bill being crafted in the Senate to support domestic manufacturing as well as research and development to improve the competitiveness of the United States is gaining bipartisan support. The centerpiece of the legislation is a $50 billion appropriation to the Commerce Department to bolster semiconductor production following recent shortages.

Business trends

The possibility of missing work due to the side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine is proving to be a key concern among unvaccinated workers. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that nearly half of American adults who haven’t yet gotten the vaccine are worried about this issue, and that concerns are more pronounced among Black and Hispanic workers.

A recent report is highlighting the importance of port investments to the offshore wind industry. The research from WindEurope anticipates that an investment of 6.5 billion euros, or $7.9 billion, in European ports by 2030 will be necessary to support the continent’s offshore wind expansion.


Governor Ned Lamont is ending his twice-weekly COVID-19 briefings, which have been a regular feature of the administration for the past 15 months. The decision comes as Connecticut enjoys consistently low COVID-19 infections and a high rate of vaccinated individuals.

Lamont has signed legislation legalizing online gaming and sports wagering in Connecticut. The measure still needs final approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of Interior before it goes into effect.

The Connecticut General Assembly has approved a bill that expunges the criminal records of 300,000 people convicted of misdemeanors and low-level felonies. The bill also prohibits discrimination against people with expunged records in several areas, including employment.

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