The coronavirus pandemic has snarled global supply chains and scrambled supply and demand forecasting for manufacturers across all sorts of industries, from electronics to lumber to poultry. Factory closures, shipping delays, and logistics challenges, coupled with major changes in consumption patterns thanks to lockdowns, capacity and travel restrictions and fear, have created a series of shortages and gluts in the global economy. In many cases mismatches of supply and demand have driven up prices, sparking inflation fears.
Here’s what we’re short on.
The essential computer chips used in a broad swath of electronic devices from cars to smartphones have been scarce for months thanks to supply chain issues caused by the pandemic. First, factory shutdowns in Asia delayed production of the chips. Then, a huge pandemic-induced surge in consumer demand for electronics was more than the chipmakers could handle.
The effects of the shortage are bleeding into other industries: some North American automakers have been forced to slow or halt production because they don’t have the chips they need. And the industry isn’t out of the woods yet: “The semiconductor shortage and the impact to production will get worse before it gets…