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The Week in Business: Running for the Doors

  • January 17, 2021

The P.G.A. of America announced that it would no longer plan to hold its 2022 championship at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. And a number of America’s biggest companies, including ATT, Marriott International, Dow, Airbnb and Morgan Stanley, pledged to halt donations to the 147 Republican members of Congress who supported Mr. Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the presidential election.

Unemployment claims jumped sharply this past week, reflecting the toll of the pandemic’s aggressive resurgence. Economists are now predicting that the labor market may not show meaningful improvements until the spring, when the virus is hopefully (more) contained. And even then, it may take some time for jobs to bounce back.

One piece of good news, for prospective borrowers at least: Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, reiterated that interest rates would stay near zero for the foreseeable future, as part of the central bank’s effort to prop up the struggling economy.

Google has completed its acquisition of Fitbit, the fitness tracking-device company, after promising regulators that it would not harvest data from the trackers to use for targeted advertising on its search engine. But critics of the deal remain skeptical, especially since Google is already fighting an antitrust lawsuit that accuses the tech giant of using unfair tactics to kneecap its rivals.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. will take office this Wednesday, and has already announced his detailed proposal for a sweeping, $1.9 trillion stimulus package — called the American Rescue Plan — aimed at battling the virus and alleviating the economic damage it has caused. So, what’s in it? More checks, for starters. Mr. Biden wants to send out $1,400 direct payments to Americans who make less than $75,000 a year. He also wants to extend emergency unemployment insurance programs through the end of September (they are set to expire in mid-March), and supplement unemployment payments with an extra $400 per week. Finally, he’s asking for more funding for school reopenings, state governments and vaccine distribution.

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