A shortage of basic goods across the manufacturing sector is snarling supply chains and causing headaches for companies nationwide, according to Reuters.

Why it’s happening: A range of factors has caused challenges for metals, plastics, glass, wood products and more—“everything from bulldozers to bourbon.”

  • Supply chains have become clogged as many manufacturers try to build up their stock, even as traffic jams in ports in China and near Los Angeles slow transit.
  • Meanwhile, shipping prices have risen. And some suppliers in Asia have refused to build out additional capacity to address a rising demand for products and materials, out of concern that the increase may only be temporary.

The impact: The shortages are making it difficult for buyers to source materials that used to be easy to get. Manufacturers are stuck with mostly finished products as they wait for slow-to-arrive components, and the uncertainty and scarcity have caused prices to rise. Rising prices have led to fears that sustained inflation could last longer than previously anticipated.

A pandemic of the unvaccinated: Federal data make clear that the vast majority of deaths are occurring among people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released studies showing that unvaccinated Americans are nearly five times as likely to be infected by COVID-19 than vaccinated Americans, 10 times as likely to wind up in the hospital and 11 times as likely to die.
COVID-19 comes for the young: “Younger age groups have represented a growing share of deaths since vaccines became available, a trend that has continued into the summer’s delta surge.”

  • “Older Americans still account for the most COVID-19 deaths, but their higher vaccination rates have helped hold down the numbers. About 54% of the overall U.S. population and 63% of eligible people ages 12 and above are fully vaccinated, while the average among nursing homes is 84% for their residents, federal data show.”

Our take: It’s clear that vaccines—developed and delivered by manufacturers—are our best tool to protect our communities and energize our economy.