A drop in jobless claims, a hearing on improving PPP forgiveness processes, complications in enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, looser job requirements, a missed deadline for a major Connecticut project, and a penalty schedule for New Haven businesses that don’t enforce mask rules are among the top business news items this morning.
Jobless claims fell to pandemic lows recently, with initial claims dropping to 340,000 last week and continuing claims to 2.75 million in the previous week. Economists expect that unemployment is likely to decline further as supplemental unemployment benefits expire and schools reopen, allowing parents to resume work.
The House Committee on Small Business held a hearing on challenges small firms are encountering in Paycheck Protection Program forgiveness and how the process might be improved. Those testifying before the committee encouraged the U.S. Small Business Administration to concentrate its reviews on larger, higher risk loans and to avoid creating administrative burdens for community development financial institutions.
Businesses that establish COVID-19 vaccine mandates often run into complications in enforcing the measure, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. While the policy typically applies to regular in-office interactions, further questions about implementation arise in areas like business travel and interactions with clients.
Companies have been loosening job requirements as they grapple with finding workers to fill available positions. Businesses are easing their standards on experience, age, and other factors in a bid to lower potential barriers to employment and ramp up hiring.
The Connecticut Port Authority has missed an Aug. 31 deadline to obtain a federal permit for a major project overhauling New London’s State Pier into a facility capable of supporting offshore wind operations, and a decision on the permit is not expected until later in September. The missed deadline could allow Ørsted and Eversource, the partners on the project, to withdraw a substantial amount of funding from the project, but the partners also said in a statement that they are looking to move forward on the matter.
New Haven officials have announced a penalty schedule for businesses in the city that fail to enforce indoor masking rules, starting with a verbal warning and escalating to fines and shutdown orders for those that continue to ignore the rules. New Haven issued an order requiring people to wear masks in indoor public places, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status, last month.