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Here's what local industry experts are saying is causing a shortage of some consumer goods

Grocery store generic
Posted at 5:52 PM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 17:52:38-04

(WSYM) — Several industries are sounding the alarm, costs of some consumer goods are going up for multiple reasons.

The economic rebound from COVID is being slowed because people are not going back to work.

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The April unemployment rate ticked up to 6.1%. Economists expected more than a million jobs to be added in the month when the actual number was only 266,000.

Employment April Report by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd

A lack of workers is also driving shortages of goods in all sectors, including the grocery store and furniture store.

Juan Escarino on the challenge to find workers.

Juan Escareno is with the Midwest Independent Retailers Association which has been in business for more than a hundred years. He tells us, “the whole food chain is going through a massive labor shortage."

Juan Escareno on the challenges that retail stores are having.

Escareno also says their members are, “basically competing against unemployment. When you think about it, someone’s going to make as much if not more sitting at home, it’s kind of hard to tell someone hey come to work for 15 or 20 dollars an hour. And they’re doing the math in their head saying I can sit at home and not do anything for the whole week.”

Major price hikes in 2021

Job openings are on the open road. Jason Burry is a long-haul truck driver passing through Detroit and says, “That’s why I do it. I have a high school education. I don’t have university or college or anything like that. And I’m making 80 grand a year.” He says the demand for truckers is so competitive there’s a lot of job jumping. “People will just jump jobs. That’s it. And it’s easy. Easy.”

Jason Burry on the pervasiveness of job jumping

The furniture industry is also getting hit. Rachael Stewart is President of Gardner White Furniture. She tells 7 Action News, “COVID continues to throw everything at us making 2020 and 2021 the year of whack a mole.”

Rachael Stewart on the shortage of materials impacting their stores

Stewart says they are seeing a shortage or workers and materials, especially foam used for cushions. And demand is up with customers stuck and home and wanting to make their home better. Demand is up and so are prices. “There’s a shortage. There’s not a total dearth of it. So, we at Gardner White have been working hard to keep product flowing. You change some products you change some vendors.”

Stewart says they are able to coordinate shipping to keep those delays to a minimum.

“There are some retailers paying more for the freight cost than they are for the product.”

Escareno says some of their members are hit with the truck driver shortage in their bottom line, “There are some retailers paying more for the freight cost than they are for the product.”

He said these conditions are expected to last weeks.