In this file:

 

·         Why Omicron Is Worse Than Delta For US Grocery Stores

 

... Meat companies are in focus because major outbreaks at plants in 2020 led to shortages and spikes in prices. Currently, beef and pork producers aren't reporting significant operations issues, but there are signs of declining productivity. For instance, the number of hogs slaughtered so far this week was down 5.5% from a year ago, and cattle slaughter was down 3.6%, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data Thursday.

 

More food inspectors are calling in sick, too, said Paula Soldner, chair of the National Joint Council of Food Inspections Locals. "The Delta variant didn't have a whole lot of impact on the workforce," she said, but "Omicron is nailing us." This comes at a time when inspectors are already in short supply throughout the country. In central Nebraska, for example, vacancies are as high as 35%, she said. Inspectors are integral in meat plants, where they look at every processed animal by law...

 

·         Omicron COVID-19 variant concerning for Canadian food production, farm groups say

… Western Canada’s beef industry is closely monitoring the status of Alberta’s large meat processing plants, which so far remain operational in this latest wave of the virus…

 

·         U.S. Hospitals Struggle to Match Walmart Pay as Staff Flees Omicron

With workers in short supply, an accountant sits with patients

Rural hospitals serving older communities are at greatest risk

 

 

 

Why Omicron Is Worse Than Delta For US Grocery Stores

Supermarkets have been struggling to keep food fully stocked throughout the pandemic as a result of labor shortfalls in every part of the food system, from farms to manufacturers to distributors.

 

Leslie Patton, Elizabeth Elkin and Deena Shanker, Bloomberg

via NDTV - January 07, 2022

 

The highly contagious omicron virus variant is disrupting already stressed food supply chains, sickening so many workers that more shortages at grocery stores are all but certain.

 

Supermarkets have been struggling to keep food fully stocked throughout the pandemic as a result of labor shortfalls in every part of the food system, from farms to manufacturers to distributors. Now omicron is bringing the problem to a new level. The variant is raging across the U.S. and raising health concerns that many thought vaccines had put to rest. Schools and daycares are seeing closures again, keeping more Americans from work.

 

All of that will help fuel wage increases and price surges for consumers, as well as 2020-style food outages.

 

"We're already seeing bare shelves," said Bindiya Vakil, chief executive officer of supply-chain consultant Resilinc Corp. "Labor shortages due to omicron are going to exacerbate the issue" ... 

 

... Meat companies are in focus because major outbreaks at plants in 2020 led to shortages and spikes in prices. Currently, beef and pork producers aren't reporting significant operations issues, but there are signs of declining productivity. For instance, the number of hogs slaughtered so far this week was down 5.5% from a year ago, and cattle slaughter was down 3.6%, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data Thursday.

 

More food inspectors are calling in sick, too, said Paula Soldner, chair of the National Joint Council of Food Inspections Locals. "The Delta variant didn't have a whole lot of impact on the workforce," she said, but "Omicron is nailing us." This comes at a time when inspectors are already in short supply throughout the country. In central Nebraska, for example, vacancies are as high as 35%, she said. Inspectors are integral in meat plants, where they look at every processed animal by law...

 

more 

https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/coronavirus-why-omicron-is-worse-than-delta-for-us-grocery-stores-2693987

 

 

Omicron COVID-19 variant concerning for Canadian food production, farm groups say

 

By Amanda Stephenson, The Canadian Press

Global News - January 7, 2022

 

Canada’s chronically understaffed agriculture industry is warning that increased absenteeism related to the highly contagious Omicron variant could severely stress this country’s food production systems.

 

Already, there are signs of strain.

 

A slaughterhouse in Quebec opted to euthanize thousands of chickens that couldn’t be processed this week, blaming rising COVID-19 infections among employees as well as federal delays processing temporary foreign worker applications for its protracted staff shortage...

 

... And Western Canada’s beef industry is closely monitoring the status of Alberta’s large meat processing plants, which so far remain operational in this latest wave of the virus, but which were the site of some of the country’s largest outbreaks of illness in 2020...

 

Meat packers say they’re prepared for Omicron ...

 

more

https://globalnews.ca/news/8495093/omicron-covid-19-variant-canadian-food-production-concerns/

 

 

U.S. Hospitals Struggle to Match Walmart Pay as Staff Flees Omicron

 

·         With workers in short supply, an accountant sits with patients

·         Rural hospitals serving older communities are at greatest risk

 

By John Tozzi, Bloomberg 

January 7, 2022

 

U.S. hospitals are struggling to get the workers they need to treat patients through the winter’s Covid-19 surge as the virus collides with a historically tight labor market.

 

High demand for labor throughout the economy is making it harder to find replacements for doctors, nurses and support staff who have been sidelined by the omicron variant. It’s especially tough in small towns and rural areas with aging populations and fewer people entering the workforce…

 

Labor Squeeze

 

In November, as Covid spread throughout the state, Indiana’s unemployment rate was 3%, or 1.2 percentage points lower than national level. The tight labor market has had ripple effects: Sometimes short-staffed pharmacies close without notice, so patients can’t pick up their prescriptions after they’re discharged, hospital officials said.

 

Nebraska has the lowest unemployment rate of any U.S. state, at 1.8% in November. In that environment, lots of employers struggle to find workers. But the stakes in health care are higher, especially in the Covid era…

 

Rising Wages …

 

more, including chart

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-01-07/hospitals-struggle-to-match-walmart-pay-as-staff-flees-omicron