Each year, the number of workers who are absent or need to cut back hours drastically spikes during December through March. While this is typical of the cold and flu season, January 2022 saw a concerning increase in absenteeism.
Data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that in January 2022, approximately 7.8 million people missed work due to illness, injury, or medical problems or appointments, also known as health-related workplace absenteeism. The number of people missing work in January 2022 is more than double the rate of 3.7 million in January 2021. This month absences were clearly exacerbated as COVID-19 case records were shattered with more than a million cases in a single day in the United States.
Of the 129.7 million workers who typically worked full time, 4.2 million (3.3%) worked part time because of an illness, injury, or medical problem or appointment in January 2022. This is the second-highest percentage since data were first collected in June 1976, and only one-tenth of a percent lower than the highest rate set in January 1978.
The work absence data was obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS); a monthly survey of households conducted by the Bureau of Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is not seasonally adjusted.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 7.8 million workers had an illness-related work absence in January 2022 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/7-8-million-workers-had-an-illness-related-work-absence-in-january-2022.htm (visited March 02, 2022).