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US employers add a meager 199,000 jobs in December

US employers add a meager 199,000 jobs in December


US employers add a meager 199,000 jobs in December

WASHINGTON — U.S. employers added a modest 199,000 jobs last month at a time when businesses are struggling to fill jobs with many Americans remaining reluctant to return to the workforce.

Omicron has sickened millions of Americans, forced airlines to cancel thousands of flights, reduced traffic and restaurants and bars and caused some major school systems to close, potentially keeping some parents at home with children and unable to work.

Economists have cautioned that job growth may slow even more in January and possibly February because of the spike in new omicron infections, which have forced millions of newly infected workers to stay home and quarantine, disrupting employers ranging from ski resorts, to airlines to hospitals.

Alaska Airlines said it’s cutting 10% of its flights in January because of an “unprecedented” number of employees calling in sick. But because omicron is less virulent than previous COVID-19 variants and few states or localities have moved to limit business operations, economists say they believe its economic impact will be short-lived.