The figure is by far the highest tally since the census bureau began to survey employee sicknesses in April 2020. The most recent survey, conducted between December 29 and January 10, includes employees who called in sick after testing positive for Covid-19 as well as those who have had to take time off to care for others infected with the virus.
The previous record high was recorded in January 2021, when 6.6 million Americans called in sick from coronavirus before vaccines were made widely available.
Omicron’s impact on the US labour market comes at a time when employers are struggling to find staff across all sectors. On top of this, “The Great Resignation” has continued to maintain a steady pace with an increasing number of employees feeling dissatisfied with their current roles. In November 2021, 4.5 million people quit their jobs in the US — the highest number on record.
In recent weeks, labour shortages have severely impacted a number of industries including trucking, air travel, food sales, and essential services such as policing and waste collection.