Air passengers are shrugging off omicron

Despite skyrocketing cases, almost twice the number of Americans got on a plane in January compared to the same month last year. The number of passengers going through TSA checkpoints was not that far off from that of January 2020, before the pandemic hit the US.

An economy ready for supply chain shocks

The economy is well set up to withstand omicron-related disruptions, with US businesses adding more to their inventories in the fourth quarter than they had in any other quarter in the past three years. That should help avoid shortages if pandemic restrictions in manufacturing plants are tightened, or companies keep experiencing staff shortages due to covid.

Businesses also invested $976 billion in their own companies—in things like equipment, structures, and intellectual property.

And while manufacturing stalled in December, new orders for goods and services still rose strongly, according to data from IHS Markit’s purchasing managers index.

“If case counts fall as quickly as they have in some other countries, then growth should remain positive,” said Brian Rose, a UBS senior economist in a research note. The bank expects the recovery to get back on track by the second quarter.

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