The Everything Shortage & Price Hikes Plastered All Over Fed’s “Beige Book,” by Wolf Richter

How long does transitory inflation have to last before it becomes non-transitory inflation? From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

“We need lower consumer demand to give supply chains time to catch up… recover efficiency… and break this vicious circle”: CEO of Maersk’s APM Terminals, one of the largest container port operators.

Today’s release of the Fed’s “Beige Book“ – an informal narrative of the economy as told by small and large companies in the 12 Federal Reserve districts – listed “shortage” 77 times, up from 19 times in January.

Shortages of nearly everything, with labor-related shortages being the most prominent. These shortages “restrained” growth, and companies were “unable to meet demand” because of these shortages. Here are some standouts:

  • “Extensive,” “widespread,” “intense,” “acute,” “persistent,” “broad,” and “ongoing” “labor shortages.”
  • “Worker shortages”
  • “Workforce shortages”
  • “Shortages of drivers”
  • “Truck driver shortage”
  • “Chassis” shortage
  • “Ongoing microchip shortage”
  • “Pervasive resource shortages”
  • “Material shortages”
  • “Inventory shortages” from retailers to housing.
  • “Supply chain shortages”
  • “Supply shortages”
  • “Shortages of parts”
  • “Shortages of inputs and labor”
  • “Increasingly severe shortage of auto inventories”
  • “Shortages of parts for farm equipment”
  • “Restaurants reported severe supply and staffing shortages”
  • “Nursing shortages”
  • “Raw material shortages”
  • “Shortages of labor and other raw materials” that delayed construction
  • “Persistent materials shortages”
  • “Shortages and higher costs for both labor and non-labor inputs”
  • “Retailers noted shortages of and increased lead times for merchandise, particularly on foreign-made goods”

The labor shortages came with “turnover,” and employees leaving their jobs to work somewhere else, which confirms the data in the report on job openings and quits in the most distorted labor market ever.

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