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Omicron Absenteeism Poses Fresh Test to U.S. Economic Strength

Jan. 9, 2022, 2:00 PM

With the omicron wave of the pandemic rapidly spreading across the U.S., the robust economic recovery is facing a new threat that policymakers have little control over: people calling in sick.

What started as a series of holiday flight cancellations as pilots and other staff fell ill or were forced into quarantine is becoming a reality in factories, grocery stores and ports and again testing supply chains.

The widespread absenteeism is already constraining output, and several economists began the new year by downgrading their first-quarter forecasts. Even if the hit is temporary, as most anticipate, the disruptions and closures are ...