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Omicron Absenteeism Poses Fresh Test to U.S. Economic Strength

  • An estimated 5 million workers forced to stay home last week
  • Economists, investors are betting the hit will be temporary
Travelers wait in line at a Spirit Airlines check-in counter at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, on Jan. 3.
Travelers wait in line at a Spirit Airlines check-in counter at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, on Jan. 3.Photographer: Christopher Occhicone/Bloomberg

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With the omicron wave of the pandemic rapidly spreading across the U.S., the robust economic recovery is facing a new threat that policymakers have little control over: people calling in sick.