5 Items Currently Facing Shortages – Forbes Advisor

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Supply chains continue to struggle to meet demand.

Several months have passed since the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the problems in the supply chain have not yet been uncovered. Many industries face a mismatch between production capacity and demand; Rampant inflation isn’t helping either.

As a result, consumers are running out of products from paper to medicine—and these shortages can have a detrimental effect on everyday life.

And although some experts are optimistic that the supply chain could reach more “normal” levels next year, others are cautioning against being too optimistic.

5 items currently facing shortages

1. Paper

One of the most basic products is currently experiencing shortages.

When the Covid pandemic hit, life was forced indoors and online. Demand for paper fell, as did American production in response. Many paper mills pivoted to maintain a new reliance on online shopping to produce packaging and cardboard during the pandemic, resulting in a nearly 20% reduction in production capacity from 2019, according to a note by ERA Forest Products Research in the Seattle Times.

But once the lockdown eased, demand for paper products surged — and mills have struggled to return to pre-pandemic production levels. Many mills that have transitioned to packaging cannot easily switch back to paper production.

Adding fuel to the fire is fueling inflation, which has made it more expensive to make paper. Raw material costs to produce paper have risen dramatically, pushing the price of paper up to 60%, according to Business Insider.

How to cope: If you are a business owner looking for a specific type of paper for marketing materials or catalogs, ask your local printing company or paper supplier what other options are available. If you occasionally buy paper to fill your printer at home, you may see a spike in prices. If available, consider switching to a cheaper brand. If you’re an online paper buyer, keep in mind that many e-commerce brands use real-time dynamic pricing, resulting in constantly changing prices. Use price-tracking apps, such as CamelCamelCamel or Shopify, to determine if you’re clicking the buy button at a price peak.

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2. Diesel

According to CBS News, US inventories of diesel and gasoline are currently suffering from tight supplies. Several factors contribute to supply stress, including the war in Ukraine, refinery shutdowns, natural disasters and the explosion at the Philadelphia refinery.

You may have heard that there are only 25 days of diesel left in the US. But that doesn’t mean the country is about to end completely. analysts pointed out That is far from the case. That alarming number is only possible if every oil refinery in the country were to shut down at once, which analysts say is out of the question.

How to cope: The best way to manage the current diesel shortage is to resist panic-buying; Collectively, panic buying could end further declining supply. Shortages may ease once demand calms down, but it’s hard to know exactly when that might happen.

3. Certain prescription drugs

Drug manufacturers are having trouble keeping up with demand. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some commonly used drugs are currently facing shortages, which creates a lot of stress for patients and medical staff:

  • Albuterol Sulfate Inhalation Solution: Used to treat symptoms of asthma, emphysema and other breathing conditions.
  • Amoxicillin: This antibiotic is used to treat a variety of bacterial infections, including RSV, a respiratory disease that is currently on the rise.
  • Adderall: Compounds used to make Adderall, a drug used to manage ADHD symptoms, are experiencing shortages.
  • Epinephrine Auto-Injector (EpiPen): tHis drug is used to treat severe anaphylactic allergic reactions.

How to cope: In some cases, stopping a prescribed medication unexpectedly can lead to harmful health effects. Adderall, for example, is a stimulant — which means patients can experience severe withdrawal if they stop cold-turkey. If the supply of a medicine you rely on is low, discuss with your doctor or pharmacist whether there are any relevant substitutes available for your prescription.

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4. Baby formula

Despite the federal government’s efforts, the country continues to face baby formula shortages.

The shortage led to the temporary shutdown of a major formula plant in Michigan after contamination of some of the products caused bacterial infections in four infants — two of whom died. The discovery led to the recall of some of the formula made at the same plant, exacerbating an already strained supply.

The Biden administration invoked the Defense Production Act to speed up production of the formula. Despite this, government officials said as recently as early November that “there is still a problem” getting baby formula on the shelves and it will take time to alleviate the shortage.

How to cope: Because every child’s needs are different and every family has different resources, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how parents can cope with formula shortages. The Department of Health and Human Services says that most babies “will be fine” using different brands of formula, as long as they are made from the same base.

Forbes Health has a comprehensive guide to safely navigating a baby’s lack of formula, as well as a guide to changing baby formula.

5. Butter

We’re not in an official butter shortage — yet. But experts are warning that butter supplies are dwindling ahead of the busy baking and cooking holiday season.

The biggest culprit threatening the butter supply is the production of milk, the main ingredient of butter. The number of dairy cows has decreased because it is expensive to raise and raise dairy cows.

US butter production has declined this year, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent Consumer Price Index report, a tight supply, and continued consumer demand, have made the cost of butter skyrocket nearly 27% over the year. The average price of a pound of butter for the week ending October 29 was $3.14; Around the same time last year, it was below $2.

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How to cope: The worst move consumers can make is to start panic-buying butter. As supplies are tight — but not in official shortages — mass panic-buying can lead to actual shortages. If you find yourself in a pinch without butter for baking, there are alternatives that can work in some recipes, including pumpkin puree and applesauce.

For other uses, there are vegan butter alternatives such as Earth Balance and Myoko, which taste like real butter and not the plastic margarine alternatives of years past. Most stores also carry imported butter brands like Kerrygold, though they usually carry a premium price tag.

Is scarcity the new normal?

Continued shortages may have consumers wondering if these supply disruptions are the new normal. But experts see light at the end of the supply chain tunnel.

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic caused severe disruption in supply chains as lockdown measures restricted production. Global supply chains are so tightly intertwined that those knots are still taking time to unravel.

When the lockdown was eased, demand for many products rose sharply, but supply has struggled to keep up. The war in Ukraine is exacerbating these issues by shrinking many commodities used in the manufacturing process, including oil.

This perfect storm of misfortune is causing the supply chain to recover at a snail’s pace – but it is recovering. Data from the New York Fed’s Global Supply Chain Pressure Index suggests those pressures are beginning to return to pre-Covid levels.

Supply chain disruptions are expected to return to “normal” in 2023, Bloomberg reported, though that recovery will vary by industry and region.

For now, consumers should expect it to be a part of everyday life for the foreseeable future.


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