The Fed plans to start tapering, an automatic retirement plan enrollment proposal, a boost in wholesale prices, studies on the impact of supplemental unemployment benefits, concern over COVID-19 outbreaks in Connecticut, and uncertainty over a Connecticut law on rehiring workers are among the top business news items this morning.
The Federal Reserve is reportedly looking to begin tapering bond purchases in November, part of a planned easing of the stimulus efforts it enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This rollback could allow the Fed to consider an interest rate increase in mid-2022.
House Democrats have advanced a measure that would require companies with retirement plans to automatically enroll their workers in individual retirement accounts. The provision is being included in the proposed $3.5 trillion social policy bill, and would apply to all businesses with more than five employees.
Wholesale prices recorded their largest year-over-year increase on recordin August, rising 8.3 percent. The producer index was also up 0.7 percent from the previous month, with a 1 percent price gain on final demand goods driven largely by higher food costs.
A trio of recent studies suggest that states that ended federal supplemental unemployment benefits early saw improved hiring or reduced unemployment claimscompared to states that retained the benefits until their recent expiration over the Labor Day weekend. The findings run counter to other research concluding that early withdrawal resulted in negative effects, including a sharp reduction in consumer spending.
Governor Ned Lamont and Public Health Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford are expressing concern about recent COVID-19 outbreaks in Connecticut, saying they share common factors such as unvaccinated people being more likely to contract the virus than vaccinated individuals and greater risk of transmission during indoor events where masks are not worn. Lamont and Gifford recommend that Connecticut residents continue to wear masks during indoor gatherings, regardless of their vaccination status.
Labor attorneys are warning that Connecticut businesses may be unaware of a new lawrequiring certain employers to prioritize the rehiring of former workers who were laid off due to COVID-19, and say it could provide a disincentive to companies looking to hire. The law applies to restaurants, food service companies, and hotels with 15 or more employees.