A new report from the NYTimes offers a nice summary of the economic effects of Omicron in January: millions of workers calling out sick; an increase in economic uncertainty and fears of inflation. 

The New York Times reports:

“More than 8.7 million Americans weren’t working in late December and early January because they had Covid-19 or were caring for someone who did, according to the latest estimate from the Census Bureau’s experimental Household Pulse Survey. Another 5.3 million were taking care of children who were home from school or day care. The cumulative impact is larger than at any other point in the pandemic.

Covid-related absences are creating headaches for businesses that were struggling to hire workers even before Omicron. Restaurants and retail stores have cut back hours. Broadway shows called off performances. Airlines canceled thousands of flights over the holidays because so many crew members called in sick; on one day last month, nearly a third of United Airlines workers at Newark Liberty International Airport, a major hub, called in sick.

At Designer Paws Salon, a pet grooming company with two locations in the Columbus, Ohio, area, business has been strong in recent months, thanks in part to a pandemic boom in pet ownership. But Misty Gieczys, the company’s founder and chief executive, has been struggling to fill 11 positions despite generous benefits and pay that can reach $95,000 a year in commissions and tips.

Omicron has only made things worse, she said. Since Christmas, she has received only three job applications, and just one applicant got back to her after she reached out. Then Ms. Gieczys, who has two young daughters, got Covid-19 herself for the second time, forcing her to stay home. That, on top of day care shutdowns because of the virus, has meant she has spent a significant amount of time away from work.”