An appeals court maintains a block on a proposed COVID-19 vaccine mandate, an anticipated vote on a major social policy and environmental bill, an impending choice for the Federal Reserve chair, greater consumer pessimism amid persistent inflation, an ongoing low labor participation rate, and small business broadband access in Connecticut are among the top business news items this morning.
An appeals court is maintaining its order to block the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employers with 100 or more workers. A judicial panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the mandate “grossly exceeds” OSHA’s authority, but a final decision on the matter is likely to be decided by the Supreme Court.
A White House official says he expects Congress to take up a vote on a $1.85 trillion social policy and environmental bill this week. Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, said he is confident that the measure will pass and argued that it will result in cost savings for American families.
President Joe Biden is expected to make a decision on the Federal Reserve chair as early as this week. Biden is reportedly weighing whether to nominate current Fed Chairman Jerome Powell for another four-year term or to offer the role to Lael Brainard, a member of the Fed’s Board of Governors.
Consumers are getting more pessimistic as they encounter persistent and widespread inflation, according to a survey from the University of Michigan. The long-running poll on consumer optimism suggests that Americans are growing frustrated due to the belief that no effective policies to combat inflation have been developed.
An ongoing low labor participation rate is contributing to businesses’ labor woes, as the pace of “prime-age” workers re-entering the market plays a role in economic growth and inflation. The labor participation rate in October was 61.6 percent, down from 63.3 percent in February 2020.
A recent Connecticut Mirror article looks at the issue of broadband access in Connecticut and how it impacts small businesses. The feature notes how about 8 percent of small businesses lack high-speed internet, and how the recently passed infrastructure bill includes funding for broadband expansion but will take time to implement.