President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. set aside plans to deliver a speech on the economy on Wednesday afternoon, instead calling for an end to violent protests in Washington and calling on President Trump to stop what he called an “insurrection.” Mr. Biden’s speech was expected to emphasize several of his economic priorities, including reiterating calls for another round of financial aid to help people, businesses and state and local governments weather ongoing economic pain from the virus. The president-elect is still expected to deliver economic remarks in the coming days, a transition spokesman said.
Federal Reserve officials were warily eyeing a surge in coronavirus cases at their Dec. 15-16 meeting, but they hoped that vaccine breakthroughs might set the stage for a strong economic rebound in 2021. “With the pandemic worsening across the country, the expansion was expected to slow even further in coming months,” according to minutes from the gathering of the Federal Open Market Committee, released Wednesday. “Nevertheless, the positive vaccine news” was “viewed as favorable for the medium-term economic outlook.”
The Labor Department on Wednesday released the final version of a rule that could classify millions of workers in industries like construction, cleaning and the gig economy as contractors rather than employees, another step under the Trump administration toward endorsing the business practices of companies like Uber and Lyft.