According to a recent Axios report, the White House is preparing for a negative jobs report for the first time during the Biden administration.
On Friday, the Bureau of Labor is expected to release numbers regarding January’s job data, and statistics are anticipated to reveal negative growth rates in the job market as a result of the omicron variant.
Various difficulties associated with the omicron variant have resulted in large numbers of American workers missing work in January, though the Biden administration believes that the impact on employment will be temporary.
According to David Kamin, who serves as the deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, forecasters are anticipating “a large omicron effect on employment in January,” though they “expect that to reverse in future months as we see the wave beginning to come down.”
“That [projection] is very different from overall trends in the economy looking ahead,” Kamin continued in his remarks to Axios.
In general, the approval rating for the Biden administration has fallen precipitously due to increasing inflation, as well as an enormous increase in migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. With the looming crisis between Ukraine and Russia, the American job market had remained one of the few positive elements of the current administration.
By the middle of January, coronavirus cases had spiked across the nation, with the highest seven-day average case count arising on January 15, per data from the CDC.
Job data will subsequently be affected by the high number of hourly workers who were unpaid due to staying home quarantining, as well as by businesses that needed to temporarily shutter their operations. In addition, various seasonal workers have also been laid off following the holidays.
According to forecasts released by FactSet, approximately 162,500 jobs were added to the economy in January, which represents the weakest addition to the economy since December 2020.
In early January, close to 9 million Americans reported not working due to illness from COVID or caring for someone else ill with COVID. The 8.75 million Americans claiming their absence of work can be attributed to COVID contrasts strongly with 2.96 million Americans giving similar reasoning just one month earlier.
However, fewer Americans have applied for unemployment benefits in the week ending January 22, though the statistic is relative to three weeks in a row of increased applications for unemployment.
On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that jobless claims fell from 290,000 to 260,000, which represents 5,000 fewer jobless claims than analysts had been anticipating.
However, the four-week average for jobless claims, which is utilized to adjust for weekly volatility, has increased from 232,000 to 247,000, which represents the highest average in the past two months.