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Business News Roundup, Oct. 14, 2021

Federal reserve plans, an effort to clear out supply chain bottlenecks, relaxed travel rules, a call to retain all elements of a major social services and environmental bill, higher wholesale prices, and a drop in unemployment claims are among the top business news items this morning.


Federal Reserve officials are preparing to taper asset purchases as early as mid-November and are looking to determine when to raise rates in response to inflation, according to minutes from the Fed’s latest meeting. The Fed has been pursuing a strategy of keeping rates low in hopes of aiding economic recovery, but could begin increasing them as inflation persists and the United States continues to grapple with supply chain disruptions.

President Joe Biden has announced that the Port of Los Angeles will become operational 24/7 in an effort to help clear a backlog of shipments. Bottlenecks at the port, a major entry point for manufactured goods from Asia, have been contributing to supply chain challenges and higher prices.

The Department of Health and Human Services says the United States will begin permitting non-essential travelers from Mexico and Canada to enter the country through land and ferry crossings. The policy aligns with international air travel regulations set to go into effect in November, and requires travelers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Progressive lawmakers are arguing for the preservation of all initiatives in a wide-ranging social services and environmental bill, saying they can be implemented over a shorter number of years to bring the cost of the package down. The original proposal of $3.5 trillion has been trimmed to $2 trillion as Democrats look to craft a bill that can satisfy more moderate members.

Wholesale prices rose 8.6 percent on an annual basis in September, the highest increase since calculations of this measure began in 2010. The measure reflects higher prices for several commodities as well as ongoing supply chain disruptions.

Initial jobless claims fell to 293,000 last week, the first time the tally has fallen below 300,000 since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Continuing claims in the previous week dropped to 2.59 million.

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