Out of Stock: Supply Chain Issues Linger as Pandemic Wanes

As businesses continue to reopen in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many are still having trouble stocking the shelves with product, thanks to ongoing supply chain issues. The biggest shortage is in semiconductor chips, which has slowed production of automobiles, computers, and consumer electronics. "We use semiconductors in just about everything we do these days," says Ray Perryman, Texas-based economist with The Perryman Group. "And so there's a huge demand, and there's no real increase in capacity taking place."

Perryman tells KTRH the industry was already in the process of switching to a newer version of the semiconductor chips when the pandemic hit last year. "We weren't buying things like cars, but we were buying a lot of video games and things that use the older (chips)," he says. "Consequently, there was a mismatch there...now, they're trying to retool and catch up, and those things take awhile."

The supply chain issues have especially impacted Texas, because the state is a hub for much of the nation's production and product distribution. "Some of the supply chain disruptions took place because boats couldn't get into the Gulf ports for awhile, because of the pandemic," says Perryman. "The winter storms played a role in that too...so we've had a few things going on here, but it's only because we make a lot of the stuff that the rest of the country uses."

Semiconductors and electronics aren't the only supply issues facing the country. There have been reports of shortages in guns and ammo, household products and some types of furniture over the past several months. Perryman predicts it will take months for full production to recover in all sectors. "It wasn't just the pandemic...you've had things like droughts in places that have made it difficult, the Texas winter freeze, some transportation challenges," he says. "So there's just been kind of a perfect storm of things going on here."

"I think you will probably see some shortages for a few months, and then we'll work through it."

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