An unexpected boost in retail sales, a slight increase in jobless claims, small building supply businesses benefit from a construction boom, an extended deadline for a port project in Connecticut, and potential benefits to Connecticut companies from a U.S.-U.K.-Australia alliance are among the top business news items this morning.
Retail sales posted an unexpected gain in August, rising 0.7 percent in the face of economists’ expectations of a 0.8 percent decline. The trend shows ongoing consumer demand amid rising COVID-19 cases and persistent supply chain disruptions, although sales shifted more to online purchases.
Initial jobless claims rose slightly to 322,000 last week, while continuing claims fell to 2.67 million. Approximately 12.1 million people remain on some sort of unemployment benefit.
Small businesses specializing in building supplies are seeing considerable growth as the demand for new construction and rehabilitation of existing structures remains strong. The surge in revenues is helping to drive major gains in value among publicly traded companies in this field.
A crucial deadline for a planned overhaul of State Pier in New London has been extended, with the Connecticut Port Authority reaching an agreement with development partners Ørsted and Eversource to move the date for the authority to secure a federal permit from Aug. 31 to Oct. 15. Currently, the project to update the pier to support offshore wind and heavy lift capable operations has only received a state permit.
General Dynamics Electric Boat and other Connecticut businesses involved in submarine manufacturing may benefit from a recently announced agreement between the U.S., United Kingdom, and Australia. Under this alliance, the U.S. and U.K. will assist Australia with the development of a nuclear-powered submarine fleet armed with conventional weapons.