Nearly 9 million Americans called in sick to work this month

The U.S. Census Bureau says 8.8 million people called in sick to work because they were dealing with symptoms of COVID-19 or caring for someone with the virus.

These are the highest numbers since the agency started taking the survey in April 2020.

Experts like Dr. John Segreti with Rush University Medical Center says this is not surprising because we are dealing with the highly contagious Omicron variant.

It has been dubbed the "Great American Sick out." 

Within 12 days, six percent of the nation's employees had to call in ill.

Labor experts say it could hit us all in the pockets.


"This huge amount of people missing from the workforce is going to put a lot of constraints on producers of goods," said Andy Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

It's wiping out wage increases for many workers as the cost of essential goods like food and gas are up.

Businesses in lower-wage fields have said for months that their day-to-day operations have been hampered by labor shortages.

"It shows how uncertain the labor workforce is going to be for a period of time. This may not be the last wave of COVID that sweeps through the country," said Challenger.