A labor market research group reports that the United States lost hundreds of thousands of jobs last month in what could be the first negative jobs report since President Joe Biden took office.
The ADP Research Institute projects in a report released Wednesday that the U.S. economy lost just over 300,000 jobs in January. ADP Chief Economist Nela Richardson blamed effects of the outbreak of the Omicron variant for the plunge in employment.
“The labor market recovery took a step back at the start of 2022 due to the effect of the Omicron variant and its significant, though likely temporary, impact to job growth,” Richardson said in a statement. “The majority of industry sectors experienced job loss, marking the most recent decline since December 2020. Leisure and hospitality saw the largest setback after substantial gains in fourth quarter 2021, while small businesses were hit hardest by losses, erasing most of the job gains made in December 2021.”
The Biden administration seemingly is preparing for a poor January jobs report, scheduled to come out on Friday. Administration officials have already been on networks playing down the significance of a poor jobs report, claiming the Omicron variant has put a temporary damper on job growth that will quickly be lifted.
National Economic Council director Brian Deese appeared on MSNBC on Tuesday to warn of a disappointing report and preempt concerns that the economic recovery may be stalling. According to The Washington Examiner:
Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council, tried to preempt the news during an appearance on MSNBC. He told viewers that Friday’s numbers might be “confusing” because the jobs report can count people who are out sick and not collecting pay as unemployed when in reality, they still have jobs.
“We expect that that will have an impact on the numbers,” Deese said Tuesday. “We never put too much weight on any individual month; this will particularly be true in this month because of the likely effect of the short-term absences from omicron.”
In addition to Omicron, the U.S. economy has also been battered by soaring inflation. In December, consumer prices rose at the fastest annual rate since 1982. As The Daily Wire reported:
On Wednesday, the Labor Department revealed data showing that in December, consumer prices rose by 7% over the previous year, the fastest increase in roughly 40 years. The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the consumer price index increased 7%, the fastest increase since 1982.
“The latest Consumer Price Index data, released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, marks the third consecutive month in which the index, a measure of what consumers pay for goods and services, rose by more than 6 percent,” NBC News reported.
Supply chain bottlenecks caused by lockdowns and COVID-19 has added to inflation as companies hike prices amid a drop in supply of many goods. In November, a United Nations report warned that supply chain issues could cause prices for goods such as computers and furniture up 10% or more.