In some of the worst affected places, such as New York City, the fast-spreading Omicron strain of COVID-19 has begun to leave an effect on segments of the U.S. economy, with specific events being cancelled or postponed, customers cutting back on restaurant meals, and understaffed companies shutting down.
According to preliminary data released by the U.K. government on Thursday, the Omicron form has a 50-70 % reduced chance of causing hospitalisation than the Delta variety.
That came after research released on Wednesday from South Africa, where Omicron was initially discovered last month and found that infections peaked swiftly and symptoms were milder.
Nonetheless, Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, anticipates the U.S. economy to be struck hard in the short term by a wave that may infect more people but fade away faster than previous waves.
He expects the U.S. economy to grow by 2% in the first quarter of 2022, down from 5% in the last quarter.
“Omicron is already having an impact on people’s behaviour and business operations,” Zandi said, citing a drop in credit card usage in recent weeks as proof.
Omicron according To The Reserve Report
According to the Federal Reserve, credit card balances were fractionally lower in the week ending Dec. 8, marking the first time they hadn’t increased week over week since October.
As the illness spreads, consumers are reducing their visits to eateries.
According to the restaurant bookings service OpenTable, the number of customers seated at U.S. restaurants was down 10% for the week ending Dec. 23 compared to last year’s same week.
Omicron Begins to Slow, restaurants Are down from Nov. 25, when eating activity was comparable to 2019.
“The scenario is swiftly shifting, and many restaurants were depending on a rebound this holiday,” said Debby Soo, chief executive of OpenTable, in a statement to Reuters.
However, other aspects of the economy looked to be operating normally for the time being.
Last week, many Americans submitting new jobless claims remained below pre-pandemic levels.
While workplace activity fell somewhat the previous week after climbing earlier in December, it was in line with the reduction witnessed leading up to the holidays in 2019 and was more significant than the same time last year.
According to Dave Gilbertson
According to Dave Gilbertson, vice president of payroll management firm UKG
“We haven’t witnessed widespread firm closures so far, and client demand across industries remains high,” Gilbertson said in an email.
And, on the whole, Americans appeared to be more devoted to their Christmas travel plans.
According to Transportation Security Administration data, airport security’s number of passengers examined in the run-up to Christmas was approximately double last year.
Wednesday’s total surpassed the equivalent 2019 level by around 144,000 passengers, making it one of just a few days so far to reach pre-pandemic numbers by such a significant margin.
Some analysts believe that the consequences of Omicron will take time to show up in economic data.
In December, consumer mood improved, but Richard Curtin, director of the University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers, claimed “too few interviews” were conducted to capture the Omicron variation’s impact.
Omicron Begins to Slow the Economy.