BUSINESS

Pandemic disruption behind widespread shortages

Jun 1, 2021, 4:28 PM | Updated: 5:09 pm
widespread shortages...
FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, file photo, a sign advising of the limit on purchases of paper products hangs on an empty shelf in a grocery store in southeast Denver. Stores are starting to look like they did this spring when the coronavirus pandemic started, with bare shelves and limits on what you can buy. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

PROVO, Utah– Widespread shortages continue as Americans emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Products ranging from lumber to computer chips to chicken wings are hitting businesses that weren’t prepared for the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

BYU economics professor Christian vom Lehn has been studying how disruptions in specific areas can lead to widespread problems in the economy and recently published a paper in the Quarterly Journal of Economics

“The pandemic has fundamentally shifted people’s patterns of consumption,” vom Lehn told KSL NewsRadio. “Those shifts are not shifts that existing supply chains were ready to quickly adjust to.”

The widespread shortages hit businesses that depend on “just in time” delivery of parts and ingredients especially hard. Vom Lehn says that could result in many of businesses thinking about keeping vital inventory on hand.

“So it’s possible that businesses may see the current state of global supply chains suggest it might be worth keeping more inventory in preparation for the next disruption,” he said.

But there’s some hope supply chain issues are working themselves out. Vom Lehn expects that many shortages to ease by the end of this year.

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Pandemic disruption behind widespread shortages