Business Report: Economic recovery, third vaccine dose, PPE tax credit, Walmart’s education perk

Fed says economy is getting better but delta variant still poses risks

The Federal Reserve has some reassuring words, saying that even with worries about the ongoing pandemic, the economy has improved. But Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said there are still some risks as the delta variant of the coronavirus spreads. The Fed decided Wednesday to hold interest rates steady, at near 0%, and said the current bout of inflation is due to transitory factors.

According to Pfizer, a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine “strongly” boosts the immune response against the delta variant of the coronavirus. The pharma company says data shows antibody levels against the delta variant increase fivefold in adults 55 and younger who have received a third dose of the vaccine. The response isn’t as strong in older adults. It’s not yet clear whether a booster shot will be needed. Pfizer released the data during its quarterly earnings report Wednesday, which revealed that it expects 2021 sales of its COVID-19 vaccine will top $33 billion.

New Jersey companies manufacturing personal protective equipment are eligible for tax credits under new program rules from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Companies can receive up to $500,000 in tax credits. A bonus credit may be awarded for PPE that is manufactured in facilities located in the seven South Jersey counties. Applications for the program will open in a few months.

The country’s biggest retailer is expanding an education perk for its employees. Walmart says it will pay full college tuition and textbook costs at the 10 schools that participate in its Live Better U education program. Both full-time and part-time workers are eligible for the program, which allows them to earn a college degree or other training.

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