The U.S. gained 467,000 jobs in January despite fears the economy lost jobs amid the omicron-driven surge of COVID-19 cases, the Labor Department reported Friday.
While the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 4 percent, January job growth far exceeded the expectations of many economists, who feared the U.S. would lose jobs last month for the first time since December 2020.
Millions of Americans missed work in January after they or a loved one fell ill with COVID-19. The unprecedented number of Americans out sick and several alarming declines in private sector economic activity bred fears of a miserable January jobs report.
Six million Americans said they were unable to work in January because their employer lost business due to the pandemic, according to the Labor Department, almost double December’s total of 3.1 million. But the labor market held strong through the peak of the omicron surge in mid-January with widespread jobs gains across industries.
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