As the Federal Reserve tries to rein in inflation without causing a recession, slower job creation and wage growth could be a plus.
An index closely followed by economists and investors climbed 6.3 percent last month from a year ago.
Omicron’s impact is likely to be reflected unevenly in the data, and normal seasonal patterns may have been upended.
A pandemic benefit that many progressives hoped to make permanent has lapsed in a congressional standoff. Researchers say it spared many from poverty.