U.S. consumers won’t soon forget the troubling shortages of personal protective equipment during the early days of the pandemic, or when the first stay-at-home orders spurred panic buying and stress-inducing shortages of toilet paper, 清洁产品, 和食物.
现在, 随着经济全面重新开放, 消费者再次经历了各种各样的短缺. Businesses are having trouble hiring workers as well as acquiring sufficient supplies of raw materials and key components needed for manufacturing.
Businesses that shut down or cut back when the economy was closed could not ramp up quickly enough to meet a flood of demand in the spring of 2021. The speedy rollout of widespread COVID-19 vaccinations unleashed this pent-up demand faster than expected, 让许多企业措手不及. At the same time, the flow of goods ordered from overseas was slowed by shipping bottlenecks.
Some of these supply disruptions were triggered or worsened by extraordinary calamities, and panic buying by consumers and businesses intensified the more serious shortages.
Here’s a look at some of the events that have stressed corporate supply chains and impacted the economy — regionally, 在全国范围内, 在全球范围内——2021年上半年.
5月中旬, 一次勒索软件攻击导致一辆5,500-mile pipeline responsible for supplying 45% of the fuel on the East Coast. 现有的库存可能会维持下去, 但是停电的消息引起了汽油的抢购, and states of emergency were declared by the governors of North Carolina, 乔治亚州, 维吉尼亚州, 和beplay2. The average price of a gallon of gasoline spiked to a six-and-a-half-year high, but increases were larger in states that rely heavily on the pipeline.1–2
Longer delivery times caused shortages of some raw materials and many types of consumer goods purchased from overseas. Congestion in the busiest West Coast ports left dozens of huge container ships from all over the world anchored off the California coast, 等待卸载. 这些原木堵塞在2021年2月达到顶峰，当时进口激增. 现在 that port workers can be vaccinated, operators are aiming to clear the backlog by the summer.3 3月, a six-day blockage of the Suez Canal by a grounded cargo ship caused massive disruption in international trade. 在全球范围内, 集装箱船运力紧张，需求高, 因此，成本可能在一段时间内保持高位.4
在2月中旬, 一场残酷的冬季风暴摧毁了德克萨斯州的电网, 关闭许多化工厂, and froze the production of plastics used for packaging and materials needed to make many goods, 包括汽车配件, 电脑, PVC管, 和油漆. 这导致了全球短缺, 生产延迟, 制造商和房屋建筑商的成本更高, 哪些可能会转嫁给买家.5
同一场风暴导致主要鸡肉加工厂关闭. 大量的鸡和蛋的损失, 再加上covid -19相关的人员配备问题, caused a nationwide chicken shortage and price hikes for restaurants.6
当大流行来袭时，许多美国人.S. lumber mills were closed, and the expectation was that housing demand would falter. 然而, 短暂的停顿之后, 对房屋和房屋改造的需求开始上升, 让建筑商和国内木材生产商大吃一惊. 由于关税，木材的价格已经在上涨, but it has skyrocketed more than 300% since April 2020 and caused the price of a new single-family home to increase by nearly $36,000.7
全球半导体短缺, 或计算机芯片, 是否限制了所有商品的生产, 包括家用电器, 汽车, 个人电脑, 游戏系统, 服务器, 和5 g设备. The effects of the chip shortage are far-reaching but most evident in the market for new and used 汽车. 汽车制造商已被迫减产超过1辆.在北美有200万辆车. Dealer inventories are strained, and new and used car prices are causing sticker shock.8–9
美国.S. Senate is debating a bipartisan bill that would invest $100 billion in research, 商业化, 以及促进关键技术发展的培训项目, 包括半导体的国内生产.10
Some employers report having difficulty finding workers who are willing to take lower-paying jobs, 而人员配备问题是造成短缺的一个因素. Some workers may be reluctant to accept jobs because the enhanced unemployment benefits provide more income than they would normally earn through work. 为他人, opportunities to participate in the workforce are more limited due to lack of child care or skill gaps. 吸引急需的工人, some large employers in the retail and restaurant industries have raised entry-level wages. At least 22 states plan to end the $300 federal benefit by this summer in a bid to spur more people to seek jobs.11
Since the pandemic began, businesses have had to make difficult decisions amidst great uncertainty. 一些供应限制可能在未来几个月得到缓解, 但是其他的问题, 就像芯片短缺, 可能需要更长的时间来解决. Recent events also serve as a reminder that critical energy-control systems and infrastructure are vulnerable to cyberattacks and weather events, and that the damage can ripple throughout the economy when energy providers are knocked offline.
2021年4月，通胀率飙升4.比前一年增长2%，这是自2008年以来的最高水平. Mismatches between supply and demand are pushing up consumer prices, which is one reason many economists believe the spring rise in inflation will be mostly “transitory.”12 不管, 价格一旦上涨就很少下跌, which means even short-lived bursts of inflation can be painful for consumers.
The longer-term path of inflation is still unclear and could depend on economic policy decisions yet to be made. Moreover, the nation’s economic prospects will largely be determined by how U.S. 企业应对他们所面临的挑战, and whether corporate leaders can reshape their strategies and invest in ways that strengthen their supply chains for the future.