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Cyberattacks, Office Trends, and New Business Incubators – Week in Review, March 18-24

Cybersecurity concerns, the Federal Reserve’s response to inflation, return to office trends, ongoing uncertainty in the labor market, and new entrepreneurial resources in Connecticut are among the top business news items from the past week.

Cyberattack warning

President Joe Biden has warned American corporations to strengthen their cybersecurity, suggesting that the Russian government is “exploring options for potential cyberattacks.” The White House is also providing guidance on a new law requiring companies to promptly report the discovery of any breaches to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Future rate hikes

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said earlier this week that the central bank is prepared to potentially respond more aggressively to inflation through steps such as higher rate hikes. In their Wednesday meeting, Fed policymakers echoed this sentiment and said it might implement a half-point rate increase at its May meeting.

Back to the office

Half of all companies are trying to get workers back to the office full-time within the next year, according to research from Microsoft. However, this strategy runs counter to the continued strong support for remote or hybrid options among employees. The accelerating return to in-person workplaces is also raising questions on how companies should navigate COVID-19 safety protocols.

The Great Resignation goes on

The churn in the labor market is continuing despite greater economic uncertainties, with a Willis Towers Watson survey finding that 44 percent of employees are seeking or plan to seek a job elsewhere. A Gallup poll suggests that these departures may be motivated in part by a shrinking share of workers who believe their employer cares about their wellbeing; just 24 percent said they strongly agree with this sentiment, down from nearly 50 percent at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unemployment remains low in the United States, with the Labor Department’s latest numbers showing 187,000 initial claims for the week ending March 19 – the lowest tally since 1969. The number of Americans collecting some sort of unemployment aid is also at its lowest point in half a century.

New entrepreneurial support in Connecticut

Two recent developments in Connecticut highlight efforts to provide more resources for entrepreneurs in the state. The University of Connecticut is planning to hire 10 “innovation faculty” over the next five years to encourage faculty-led innovation and entrepreneurship. In addition, Governor Ned Lamont and the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut have announced plans for the creation of a new business incubator in New London.

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