Are supply chain woes being exaggerated?

The challenge is that it takes just one or two product shortages for consumers to fear that all products will become unavailable, pushing some to stock up with anything that they use or may need. This self-perpetuates the perception of shortages, further fueling anxiety and more panic buying. This also creates unpredictable and artificial surges in demand, increasing inflationary pressures and the perception that the nation’s supply chain is collapsing.

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In reality, it is not. It may be strained, with the current economic environment contributing to it.

Some products are indeed in short supply, at least temporarily. This can be seen by rotating waves of empty grocery store shelves. However, these shortages eventually get resolved, with ample supply becoming available. We are observing this with baby formula and will see it with tampons. Most certainly, other consumers products will become unavailable or in short supply in the future.

The good news is that by standing back from the myopic view of a single product that is in short supply, we can see that the preponderance of consumer goods are widely available. What may be more limited is the variety of choices within each consumer good product class.

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