U.S. supply chains have seen significant interruptions over the past several weeks as eager buyers become antsy.
The pandemic has brought on supply chain interruptions, and cybercrime has created shortages of many domestic and domestic-bound products, which could lead to far worse problems down the road. These shortages eventually trickle down to the general public, who might not prepare for what’s coming.
Preparation is critical, especially in volatile times like these. Consumers currently have a hard time finding lumber, gas, steel, ketchup packets, chlorine, and more. You name it, and it’s hard to come by.
Chicken is another thing that’s hard to come by right now, especially for major food chains like KFC, Wing Stop, and Buffalo Wild Wings. Right now, these franchises are paying steep prices for poultry because processing plants are having a hard time finding workers.
KFC, for example, is having a hard time keeping up with the demand for the franchise’s new chicken sandwich, which has been a new favorite of chicken lovers.
But it’s not just chicken that has consumers up in arms. As summer closes in and pool season kicks into gear, pool supply retailers are amid a chlorine shortage reportedly brought on by a chemical plant fire that occurred last summer after tropical Storm Laura battered much of Westlake, Louisiana. And the deficiencies don’t stop there.
Computer microchips are also hard to find as a good number of manufactures struggle to secure semiconductors. The race to acquire semiconductors trickled down to the auto industry, which had already been suffering.
“Carmakers cut back orders for chips while tech companies, whose products were boosted by lockdown living, snapped up as many as they could,” reports CNN. “The shortage is going from bad to worse, spreading from cars to consumer electronics. With the bulk of chip production concentrated in a handful of suppliers, analysts warn that the crunch is likely to last through 2021.”
Expect gas prices to soar this summer because trucking companies are having a hard time finding certified drivers. About 25% of the fleet is sidelined right now following competition with federal stimulus checks. Reports say drivers are unwilling to haul their loads anymore and would rather sit at home and collect free money. In turn, the shortage of drivers translates to higher prices at the pump.
The national average price on regular gas is hovering around $2.94 per gallon, which is quite an increase from the prior year. Not to mention the recent cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline will create prices to spike.
The pipeline is a major U.S. artery that carries 100 million gallons of gasoline and other fuel every day from Huston, Texas, to the New York harbor. Without it, the results would be devastating.
Lumber and metals shortages hit home
Sawmills shut down production after the pandemic struck, but now builders are having trouble keeping up with the sizzling hot housing market as lumber has become scarce. Many homes are desperately in need of completion as lumber hit a record high on Tuesday.
To get lumber flowing steadily again, it could take 18 months.
Rare earth elements are now in high demand. Manufacturers are racing to produce greener technologies and require metal to do so.
According to a report by Charles Riley, writing for CNN Business, the climate crisis could worsen because there is a drastic increase in the supply of metals required to produce many environmentally friendly goods. Wind turbines, solar panels, and electric cars all require metal.
“As countries switch to green energy, demand for copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt and rare earth elements is soaring,” writes Riley in the report. “Limited access to known mineral deposits is another risk factor.”
However, steel is the big one and the latest shortage to hit the U.S. Reports say that steel has been in such high demand that it’s almost impossible to come by. Car manufactures are buying it up fast, making it slim pickings.
Ketchup packets also hard to come by. If you are a fast-food lover, you might have noticed that establishments are not handing them out as generously as they did in the past. The shortage comes after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines that impeeded the restaurant industry following the influx of COVID-19 into the U.S.
Heinz (KHC), the largest ketchup producer in the country, has ramped up production by 25%. The ketchup maker vows to produce 12 million packets a month to keep up with the current demand.
All of this is an excellent reason to plan. Don’t be left out in the dark as things get worse. Become a prepper. Have the right attitude for survival, and know your survival priorities. All of this is essential to help keep you and your loved ones safe in the event of an actual crisis.