Omicron’s Economic Charge: Missing Labor, More Uncertainty, and Higher Inflation (Possibly)

Covid-related absences are causing headaches for businesses that used to struggle to hire workers even before Omicron. Restaurants and retail stores have reduced business hours. Broadway show call off the performances. Airlines have canceled thousands of flights over the holiday because too many crew members fell ill; on a day of the previous month, almost a third of United Airlines workers at Newark Liberty International Airport, a major hub, fell ill.

At Designer Paws Salon, a two-site pet grooming company in the Columbus, Ohio area, business has grown dramatically in recent months, thanks in part to the outbreak of a rights pandemic. pet ownership. But Misty Gieczys, the company’s founder and chief executive officer, has struggled to fill 11 positions despite generous benefits and salaries that can top $95,000 a year in commissions and Tip.

Omicron just made things worse, she said. Since Christmas, she’s only received three job applications, and only one candidate has contacted her back after she made contact. Then Ms Gieczys, who has two young daughters, contracted Covid-19 on her own for the second time, forcing her to stay at home. That, along with the shutdown of day care because of the virus, meant she spent a significant amount of time not working.

“If I hadn’t been the owner, I think I would have been fired, to be honest,” she said.

But while the Omicron wave has contributed to businesses’ staffing problems, there has been little sign so far that it has prevented an overall job market recovery. New claims for unemployment insurance have increased only modestly in recent weeks, suggesting that employers are retaining their workers. Job postings on the career website Indeed has fallen slightly from its record high.

“That’s a big difference from 2020, where there were massive layoffs,” said Jason Furman, a Harvard economist who served as an adviser to President Barack Obama. “Now employers are keeping people because they expect to be in business in a month.”

When the pandemic began in early 2020, it was a shock to both supply and demand, as companies and their customers turned heads in the face of the virus.

However, with each successive wave, the impact on demand has diminished. Businesses and consumers have learned to adapt. Federal aid has helped raise people’s incomes. And recently, the availability of vaccines and improved treatment options have made it easier for many people to return to normal activities. Omicron’s Economic Charge: Missing Labor, More Uncertainty, and Higher Inflation (Possibly)

Fry Electronics Team

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