Human Touch: Supply Chain Backlog Exposes Lack of Workers

Advancements in technology and communication have revolutionized commerce. But while robots, artificial intelligence and digital networks are wonderful, the current supply chain backlog has exposed the need for human workers---truck drivers, warehouse stockers, ship unloaders, etc. A new piece in the Federalist highlights the need for blue collar workers, and why they are now harder to find and hire.

The truck driver shortage alone is one of the biggest factors in the current supply chain backup. The American Trucking Association estimates there is a shortage of 80,000 truck drivers. That has left hundreds of cargo ships waiting to be unloaded, while items that should be on store shelves or door steps sit on ships for weeks.

Gordon Smith, professor at the University of Houston Bauer College of Business, says a big problem is deteriorating pay and working conditions at these jobs. "One thing for truck drivers now is when they go to a port or place for a pick-up, they can wait for up to two hours and not get paid," he tells KTRH. "Now that the driver shortage is so bad they're not being paid for the hours they're spending, it makes it a less attractive career."

Smith warns that rising inflation will only make the problem worse. "Wages will not necessarily follow the same trajectory as inflationary numbers," he says. "That is going to make it more difficult for some companies to begin to hire workers."

Finally, Smith notes that many of these jobs require certain skills and training, which can't be rushed with a few quick hires. "It's not a simple fix, and it's definitely not a short-term fix," he says. "We're really not talking months (for this situation to be solved), we're talking a lot longer than months.'

Photo: Getty Images North America

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