Omicron Could Knock U.S. Economic Recovery Off Track
The emergence of a new COVID-19 variant is raising fresh uncertainty for the U.S. economy, even as President Biden vows that the country will not see more lockdowns. After wading through a summer surge in cases driven by the delta variant, the U.S. is now bracing for the arrival of omicron, a strain identified by the World Health Organization last week as a “variant of concern.”
The U.S. economy held up much stronger against the emergence of the delta variant this summer than many analysts expected, despite an initial drop in consumer activity and travel. Revised figures from the Labor Department showed job growth holding strong even as schools faced early shutdowns and millions of workers remained unable to rejoin the workforce. Consumer spending and incomes also rose despite high inflation, lining the U.S. up for a stellar fourth quarter after a summer slowdown.
While the Biden administration is not expected to push for any nationwide lockdowns, persistently higher cases and hospitalizations could still suppress the economy even if local governments don’t impose new restrictions.
Jeff Powell and Jeremy Witbeck discuss the new variant “Omicron” and the potential concerns it poses in terms of throwing the U.S. Economic recovery off track.