As we settle into the new year there are several things we wish we could have left behind but are already leaving their mark on 2022. The pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world, of course, with new variants emerging almost as fast doctors can identify them.
A nationwide labor shortage—what economists are calling The Great Resignation—largely fueled by the pandemic, continues to vex employers in many industries, from textile production to education to retail. Long before most Americans ever heard of a coronavirus, economists had warned of a coming labor shortage. Three years ago, the American Trucking Association had estimated that it would be short some 60,000 drivers. Since the pandemic, those shortages have only increased due to retirements, and new truck drivers needing to be trained due to COVID-19 closures. Labor shortages led to supply-chain disruptions around the world and have caused record shortages of many products as well as the materials needed to produce them.
How long will it last? A report by Moody’s Analytics predicts that these problems will likely get worse before they get better. “As the global economic recovery continues to gather steam, what is increasingly apparent is how it will be stymied by supply-chain disruptions that are now showing up at every corner,” the report says.
We will continue to report on this ever-changing picture in Specialty Fabrics Review, of course, but we want to get a better picture of what’s happening “on the front lines.” Tell us your stories. How is your business coping with supply chain issues and labor shortages? What are your pain points? Have you found alternative suppliers or workarounds to help keep your business operating? Tell us about them. You can write to me (firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line “Supply chain”) or visit the CONNECT Forum for IFAI members (https://connect.ifai.com/home) to share your stories.