Growth Hindered by “Supply Chain Disruptions, Capacity Constraints, Inflation, Logistical Challenges, Labor Shortages”

Here’s what executives in those industries said.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Growth in February at companies outside the manufacturing sector was held down “by supply chain disruptions, capacity constraints, inflation, logistical challenges, and labor shortages,” the ISM Services PMI reported today.

The ISM Services PMI is based on a panel of business executives (the “respondents”) who report how their own companies did that month compared to the prior month. The panel includes executives of companies of all sizes across the vast array on industries other than manufacturing, ranging from agriculture and construction to professional, scientific & technical services (the industries are listed below).

“These conditions have affected the ability of panelists’ businesses to meet demand, leading to a cooling in business activity and economic growth,” said the ISM report.

The report indicated that these industries overall grew at a pace that was above average established in the decade 2010-2019, but slower than the blistering record pace that started in March 2021.

And this is now everywhere: The inability to meet demand – and even to accept new orders – due to “supply chain disruptions, capacity constraints, inflation, logistical challenges, and labor shortages.”  And they put a damper on business and economic growth.

Here are some of the things the executives said:

Executive in Professional, Scientific & Technical Services: “Staffing shortages, supply chain disruptions and rising inflation continue to impact the world economy. Companies are struggling to hire direct employees and non-employee labor because wages continue to increase for both. The Great Resignation is real: Employees, contractors and consultants continue to quit their jobs and engagements for opportunities that pay more and have more flexible work options. Millions of light industrial jobs remain open in the U.S., with limited interest from job seekers. Severe labor shortages are expected well into 2022. Corporations need to increase wages and salaries to attract talent and get work done. Faster wage growth is expected to lead to increased inflation.”

Executive in Construction: “We are getting price increases with no notice. For example, our engineered wood products supplier gave us a 10 percent to 20 percent (based on SKU) increase, effective immediately. We are also struggling to get materials. Suppliers cite poor employee attendance, elevated employee turnover, and positions open longer than normal as they struggle to fill them.”

Executive in Accommodation & Food Services: “Raw material increases, labor shortages, wage increases and transportation issues are still the primary issues affecting our operations and pricing.”

Executive in Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting: “Supply chain challenges continue to result in lower inventories of products and higher costs. The challenges are at the highest point since COVID-19 began.”

Executive in Arts, Entertainment & Recreation: “We are projecting 2022 to be busier than 2021. Our business volume should begin to increase significantly in March.”

Executive in Educational Services: “Inflation is contributing to budget constraints, supply chain restraints and labor shortages.”

Executive in Finance & Insurance: “Employee turnover within our company and with our suppliers is causing delays in decisions and orders.”

Executive in Health Care & Social Assistance: “As the COVID-19 surge starts to loosen its grip, we are planning to resume elective surgeries soon. Demand is still high, as these procedures were delayed while the surge was occurring.”

Executive in Utilities: “Appear to be on the upswing from COVID-19 from an absenteeism standpoint. Still dealing with long lead times for wire, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), steel, transformers and meters. Winter weather has not had an impact on productivity levels.”

Here are the 18 categories in the ISM Services PMI. They make up a large portion of the US economy:

  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting;
  • Mining;
  • Utilities;
  • Construction;
  • Wholesale Trade;
  • Retail Trade;
  • Transportation & Warehousing;
  • Information;
  • Finance & Insurance;
  • Real Estate, Rental & Leasing;
  • Professional, Scientific & Technical Services;
  • Management of Companies & Support Services;
  • Educational Services;
  • Health Care & Social Assistance;
  • Arts, Entertainment & Recreation;
  • Accommodation & Food Services;
  • Public Administration;
  • Other Services (such as Equipment & Machinery Repairing, Personal Care Services, Dating Services…)

Todd Miller, president of Isaiah Industries, an Ohio-based manufacturer of metal roofing shingles for residences and commercial buildings, reported on WOLF STREET about the challenges his company is facing in terms of shortages and supply-chain issues, which he summarized:

“The end result is we’re doing our best, and I believe our suppliers are doing their best, but the system has been stretched beyond its limits. If consumer demand for our products remains high, and we expect that it will, I don’t see how we will be able to provide what customers want this year.”

“At the same time, rapidly spiraling raw material costs are pinching margins. We can’t put through price increases as quickly as we’re seeing them. And that’s not just metals and coatings but also packaging, transportation, and, well, pretty much everything.”

“It really isn’t supposed to work this way! The system is broken,” he said. And there are a lot of people in business that would likely agree with that.

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  117 comments for “Growth Hindered by “Supply Chain Disruptions, Capacity Constraints, Inflation, Logistical Challenges, Labor Shortages”

  1. Xavier Caveat says:

    Seems as if arts, entertainment and recreation are looking forward to the new normal of disruption vis a vis inflation and/or lack of employees, every other industry?

    Not so much.

    • ChangeMachine says:

      Bread, beer and circus is all it takes to keep the masses docile.

      • Xavier Caveat says:

        Bread & beer have gone up quite a bit, and Barnum & Bailey bailed.

        • historicus says:

          inflation compensation checks
          along with Bidens request everyone cut costs
          those are the answers /s

        • El Katz says:

          You still have Congress to provide the circus.

        • Swamp Creature says:

          Well, this inflation has gotten so bad now even criminals are getting a raise. I thought I heard there is a new program in SF that pays criminals NOT commit crimes after they are released from the slammer. It’s called “Violence Interrupters”. This was a keynote item in the recent State of the Union spectacle, and a top priority of the current administration to combat crime.

        • sam says:

          “Circus” provided “virtually” – newest drop of rap/country/woke videos mindless entertainment plus fantasy sports & on line wagering for any venue.
          Endless iterations for sheeples disassociation from boring reality.
          Infinite profit projections (“To infinity and beyond”) for those who master those channels that the sheeple crave.

        • David Hall says:

          The price of wheat doubled in five years, is spiking higher now.

      • Randy says:

        “Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.” ~ H. L. Mencken

    • RemoteWork says:

      Using remote work to leave NIMBY areas generates deflation at such a massive scale, it will be years at the current inflation level for me to start to feel it.

      Highly recommend doing this.

      • phleep says:

        So, I’m supposed to just submit to my area being transformed into a congested dump to satisfy your economic gods of overreach? Heck no. Best you get remote, then. Godspeed.

      • Harrold says:

        Remote work will be ending soon. Notice the tech companies like google and microsoft are calling employees back to the office — at least for a few days a week. That means all the folks who thought they could move far away will be stuck paying for another move, plus having to eat transaction costs on their house.

        I’ve worked at enough big corps to know how they think. Management needs to see workers every day to police them and crack the whip. All that talk about productivity being higher was obvious BS to protect the stock price. Remote workers are assumed to be playing video games in their pajamas. Companies are anxious to put the pandemic to bed and get back to serious business.

        • Trailer Trash says:

          “Management needs to see workers every day to police them and crack the whip.”

          Yes exactly. US business is stuck in the master/slave mindset where only the prospect of poverty and living in a tent keeps workers showing up for work everyday. Even highly-skilled professional and technical workers are treated with disrespect.

          Chattel slave owners found that beating and starving their workers was not conducive to productivity gains. Modern managers still haven’t learned the lesson.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Trailer-a good re-observation of the term: “…reversion to the MEAN…”.

          may we all find a better day.

    • Nathan Dumbrowski says:

      And charging double the rate of pre-COVID based on all the external influences. My friend asked me to a show in Los Angeles recently. I agreed and then saw the price. $250/pp for a two hour event in downtown LA!! Told her that was too rich for my blood. So call that my contribution to the strike. I told her once we add drinks, parking, gas and anything we might want from the event we are >$1000. There are just better things to spend that much money

      • phleep says:

        Gas here in San Diego today $5.30 regular.

        • Swamp Creature says:

          Oops, the gas station that I recently cited as jacking up their price of regular to from $3.99/gallon to $4.19/gallon just increased it again to $4.59 a gallon after 2 days. It’s an Exxon Station located in Glen Echo, Maryland one block from where I used to live. It’s not in any tourist trap neighborhood. Looks like we are approaching Weimer Republic Inflation where prices are moving up daily. I can see soon we’ll see people topping off their tanks before the next price increase. Meanwhile J POwell is thinking of raising federal funds rate by .125% to bring a halt to this inflation spiral that he created. Give me a f$ckin break.

        • Ensign_Nemo says:

          I drove to work at just before 7:00 a.m. on March 2. I passed by three gas stations. Two sold regular for $3.69, one for $3.89. I return about twelve hours later. Now the two cheapest ones are $3.89 each and the third is $3.99. I drive to a fourth, see the price is $3.89, and give up and fill my tank.

          I drove to work on March 3 at about 1:30 p.m. and all three stations were selling for $4.19.

          I’ve never seen a 50 cent rise between 7:00 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. the next day, before. Hyperinflation is creeping ever closer.

    • Swamp Creature says:

      Went to my AAA auto repair shop to have a routine oil change done. The service manager said they are having trouble getting routine repair parts for 2016 vehicles. There is sometimes a 1 1/2 month backlog.

      • sam says:

        Mid priced auto repair (specializes in heat/ac & power train) notes that any US mfg vehicle (exp. SUV & Truck) that is > than 3 yrs past mfg. warranty expiration is an experience in uselessness to call the dealers for plastic based parts replacement.
        Backstory: I’ve dealt with the owner & staff for three decades, with multiple vehicles (US & foreign origin). They accomplish tasks that dealers turn away. Cost effective too (shop is amazed of the variety of vehicles that owners want repaired when said vehicle should be headed to “the crusher”).
        Addendum – having two decades of auto tech service/machine shop fabrication experiences (from a previous life)
        amazes me as repair costs trajectory goes linear.
        Happy Motoring……..

  2. stan6565 says:

    This “growth” thing seems to be getting socialised. In the old days, it was only the top of food chain that was allowed to “grow”. Now, the little fish also think they can be allowed to “grow”

    What is the world coming to?

  3. THEWILLMAN says:

    Who would have ever thought that decoupling production through globalization (e.g. making parts of your product in different countries then shipping them to another to assemble them then shipping to another to sell them) would make your industry more fragile?

    Doom and Gloom from a bunch of execs who made their fortunes in calling arbitrage “trade”.

  4. PS says:

    I find it odd that almost no financial writers talk about increased corporate profits having a large impact on inflation. In his blog “Big,” Matt Stoller examines the effects of monopoly and oligopoly pricing power as well as the overall decline in actual competition in today’s US capitalism. I’m not expert, but I think he has a point.

    “Taking all of this together, it means that increased profits from corporate America comprise 44.7% of the inflationary increase in costs. That means corporate profits alone are absorbing a 3% inflation rate on all goods and services in America (44.7% of 6.8% annual inflation), with all other factors causing the remaining 3.8%, for a total inflation rate of 6.8%. In other words, had corporate America kept the same average annual level of profits in 2021 as it did from 2012-2019 and passed on today’s excess to consumers, the inflation rate would be 3.8%, not 6.8%.”

    • Sit23 says:

      One of the main points of Crony Capitalism is the ability to manage “competing” with other Crony Capitalists. Globally, Banks, Oil Companies, Insurers, etc, etc, all mysteriously increase their prices in step with each other. This comes as no surprise to any long term student of Crony Capitalism. The other capitalists come unstuck at regular intervals, but not those guys. Over the next few years, whatever happens in the economy, they will be making record profits.

      • phleep says:

        It doesn’t require an explicit (illegal) conspiracy. Setting prices this way is as easy as algo trading. Just set the ratchet to watch everybody else’s prices. No smoky rooms, no secret handshakes.

        • phleep says:

          But I can’t exclude the wage demands and “pent-up consumer demand” from this. Note Wolf’s recent writing on “heroic” consumer spending: feeding this wildfire. I never exclude the foolish grabby masses from something as big and wide as this. It aint just the standard corporate villains.

  5. BuySome says:

    Supply problems affecting employment! Employee problems affecting supply!! Costs rising to pay more now to keep jobs based upon projections that all will be phantatik tomorrow!!!
    Funny how the markets use to rise every time they declared mass layoffs and said it was good for business. Wonder how they still can keep up the supply of all those rockets, missiles, tank killers, and ground-to-air zingers? Certainly seems to be plenty of spray paint for Putin to add the big Z’s on all of his equipment. How are we doing on the grafitti homefront?

  6. Wolf Richter says:

    THEWILLMAN,

    Go take a look at the list of industries that I included in the article, and at the industries where the comments came from.

  7. Seattle Guy says:

    We lend to builders and home flippers – and all are overrunning i.e. extending their 12-month term construction loans and are now paying default penalties and interest.

    Permits in Seattle take 4 – 6 months – No Workers – Suppliers back-ordered – Electrical and Plumbing subs only available next year (earliest) – Last weeks bid/cost estmate for materials is no longer good…

    Homes being photographed with used crappy fridges/stoves in them to pass appraisal….so they can close with a side note that the new appliances will follow. Meanwhile, rates rise and interest rate locks/contracts expire – and builders now can resell at a new higher price……….

    I am looking forward to HELL…. I think it will be better….

    A 30% Stockmarket “minor correction” will have many rethinking their “wants” vs their “needs.”

    I am pretty sure 2022 will be the year this all settles down.

    • unamused says:

      “I am pretty sure 2022 will be the year this all settles down.”

      Yeah, but how far down?

      Everything was going so well until the proletariat got fed up. Now we’re going to have to bail out the obscenely wealthy again.

      • Implicit says:

        The confluence of all these variables coming together at the same time, especially the energy issue, does not bid well for the future.
        Prices will keep going up, and people won’t be able to pay the bills. Workers will want more money from their employers, while their bosses will be thinking about who they should lay off first, as profits head downwards, along with the GDP..
        Energy is work is money.

  8. Hal says:

    The way it’s going, metal shingles that LOOK like slate will be more expensive than real slate. But, most residential (and commercial) construction was never designed to carry the weight of real slate. As such, that’s not an option. So, that leaves asphalt shingles (the “cheap” option) that are going to be astronomical with higher crude oil prices. So, I guess I just forego the new roof and set some buckets around the house. But, wait… Buckets are made from either metal or petroleum products…

    Me bangs head.

    • Catxman says:

      A little innovation is called for here.

      We need an entrepreneur-inventor to come up with a hardened form of paper which will last and bend and carry like plastic, be thin like plastic, but degrade like wood products typically do. That would be a great invention, though not on the par of more powerful electric batteries…

      • Catxman says:

        Error: When I said “last” like plastic, I didn’t mean forever, obviously. I was talking about in the rain and things like that. Last against adversity. You may now continue your regularly scheduled program.

  9. historicus says:

    “…by supply chain disruptions, capacity constraints, inflation, logistical challenges, and labor shortages,”

    Supply chain disruptions and logistical challenges…..the private sector saw the inflation coming, and every purchasing agent in the country told their suppliers…”Get me all you can at that price.” The Fed people didnt see the inflation coming, and that’s why they are in the public sector.
    The predictable inflation caused the bottlenecks, not the other way around.
    ““Obviously the pandemic disrupted the economy and contributed to inflationary pressures, but U.S. production is higher today, and U.S. ports are moving 27% more goods than before the pandemic. Inflation, driven by excess demand, always faces supply-chain problems as production struggles to keep up. But supply-chain problems increasingly are the result of inflation rather than its cause.” WSJ 1/12/2022 Gramm and Salon
    Businessmen knew then and know now….TO BE WITHOUT INVENTORY in and inflation is to be OUT OF BUSINESS.
    The is attempting to shift the blame with their megaphone. But the stark reality is “too much money chasing too few goods”. Call me old fashioned.
    The Fed over pumped money supply and over depressed rates. Error.

  10. Swamp Creature says:

    Speaking of labor shortages, my local Wells Fargo Bank just closed their lobby because of labor staffing issues. This has been in effect for the last month but I never went in the bank, so didn’t notice it. This bank has become a laughing stock. They paid billions in fines for illegal trading, pay the customers zero interest on their savings and lend it out at 28% and now they can’t even staff up their teller positions. The drive-up lanes are usually backed up with a dozen cars and 1/2 hour wait times. It will take me 2 months to liquidate my business with them (allow all checks to clear) and I’m done with them for good.

    • OutWest says:

      That’s why I switched to community banking in 2008 when there was a push to support local banking.

      People who only work with large banks get used to being treated poorly and accept it. Buy local, or bye bye local as they say…

      I still go into bank lobby from time to time: no bullet proof glass, no crowds, and people who sincerely want to provide good service because they know their local reputation matters, unlike the big guys.

      • Hal says:

        Same here. I use a local bank and visit the lobby often to access safe deposit box, make cash withdrawals (more than the machine will spit at me), etc., and I always get good personal service. To heck with GDFWFB (pardon my Wolfism).

    • DocMo says:

      I’m surprised it took you this long. I dropped WF after the incessant, shady calls for credit lines that felt like a noncommittal response would result in an unnecessary LOC at 20%.

      • El Katz says:

        We dumped WF in 1998 after we attempted to close an account with them and they couldn’t even get that right. They sent demand letters for their “fees” from being below minimum balance when it is they that didn’t transfer all the funds due to interest due from them after the date of closure. No amount of “customer service” calls could make them go away.

        We just ignored them and they finally went away.

    • Apple says:

      WF may claim staffing issues, but I think the removal of employees has been under way even prior to the pandemic. Certainly the number of tellers has been decreasing over the past 5 years.

      Smart phones allow a lot of banking that required a trip to the bank to be handled at home.

      • Swamp Creature says:

        I’m not interested in their on-line banking. Had it for a while and it was hacked by Phlishing attacks multiple times and I discontinued it. They keep trying to enroll me in it so they can cut their staff more and I tell them for the 100th time I ain’t interested.

        I’m a former Wychovia customer which filed for bankruptcy during the GFC and was taken over by WF. They provide much better customer service than WF.

        • rick m says:

          Wachovia in Chamblee wouldn’t cash paychecks drawn on an account in that same branch on a nationwide contracting company for union electricians with driver’s licenses from states that didn’t physically touch Georgia? A passport was also unacceptable! I’ve never been impressed by American banks(compared to Europe) but this wasn’t far from an abacus in an outhouse. This was before internet banking, but the banks in other countries figured out how to handle money correctly before electricity. I write three checks a month, don’t use debit or electronic banking. Pay creditcards on the phone. Zero debt to anybody.

    • sam says:

      “Wells Fargo” = “Wells Fraud”.
      They were the leader in creative frauds with customers accounts (demand deposits/mortgages/accelerated foreclosures, ect) and not one C-suite was penalized (no claw backs).
      Only lowest line grunts were canned out (by the hundreds) for carrying out mgmt’s felonyous SOP’s.

      • Swamp Creature says:

        100 WF bankers were fired for defrauding the PPP loan program. They were just following orders from above.

        • Marcus Aurelius says:

          Hells Fargo was degrading and dishonest in the way they treated smaller companies, like mine, with the PPP programs (Payroll Protection Program, a wonderful welfare payment for companies).

          From the business angle, I have NO complaints that Hells Fargo spent all their time with the larger PPP money requests. Their commissions were far higher. The larger the business, the larger the payroll, the larger the commission to Hells Fargo. That is Business. That is not personal and I would have done the same thing.

          EXCEPT, they never told us smaller companies. I waited and waited and waited while they stalled and lied. I am sure there was no way in hell they would send a letter or email saying: “You are too small for us. We are working with the big companies with big payrolls so we can make a higher Commission. So please go someplace else”.

          I know they could not do that. Even though, that would have been honest, moral, and polite. But they could not, even if they really wanted to. It is a shame that they couldn’t do the truthful thing without all kinds of political and social blowback.

          I am disgusted that they couldn’t tell me. I would have appreciated them saying, “go someplace else while we handle the larger companies first”. That would have been “Courteous”.

          They used to have a sign, in each lobby with their “Courteous” message. All of them have been taken down.

          I went elsewhere and got the PPP money in 2 weeks. I never had to close my business. I never had to let people off. I never had to pay back the PPP and it went straight into the company checking account,….. at……, (irony of irony) Wells Fargo.

  11. DawnsEarlyLight says:

    Going to need a bigger boat!

  12. Saw this interesting quote by McLuhan “The age of automation is going to be the age of do-it-yourself” 1957

    • Marcus Aurelius says:

      My Cloud Based Date System is…………..a file cabinet.

    • NBay says:

      Sure,
      What the hell is an ATM, or a self-checkout, or online banking, online bill paying, etc, other than YOU learning how to work their “automation” equipment…even buying special devices (computer, smart phone, etc) in order to even work the “automated” device?

      ANYTHING TO CUT LABOR COSTS…..more profit for the Corp…..as it should be, ask Uncle Milty or Reagan/Thatcher. Corps uber citizens!

      Can’t wait to see the Corporate World flag….WTO have one?

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        NBay-Safeway in G’ville put in self-checkout about a year ago, wondered why it took so long as they were obviously cutting staff since the Albertson’s buyout (given checkout line conversations, think the locals preferred/still prefer human cashiers, the relatively ‘wealthy’ tourists not so much…). A curious thing ref WFB above, is that the WF ATM there that replaced the in-store mini-branch some years ago has been out of service for over a week, now…

        may we all find a better day.

  13. fred flintstone says:

    This comedy is getting better and better……today…..
    JP states, “We should have moved earlier”…..treating it as a policy error.
    Oh come on Jay……how dumb do we seem to you……its rather insulting…… we know you were as guilty as sin. This was no policy error……you deliberately ripped off grandma for as long as you could and stole half the economy for yourself and your crooked backers……and it continues to this day.
    Stop with the artificial tears and keep your crooked mouth shut.
    The FF rate should be going up a full point next week with a promise to review monetary conditions every two weeks. Sale of securities should be happening right now.
    Everybody knows it…..but the farce goes on.
    Would I wear a uniform, like I did, to defend this pack of thieves…..nope.

    • Xavier Caveat says:

      There must be ways to divorce yourself from yours & Jerome’s dollar-denominated assets… maybe myrrh or frankincense?

      • Michael Gorback says:

        Saffron. Worth more than gold by weight.

        • Marcus Aurelius says:

          “I’m just mad about Saffron
          Saffron’s mad about meeee..”

          (For the old timers here. Hits from the past, circa, 1965-66 (?))

    • historicus says:

      A couple of congressman noted that the rules of monetary policy were missing from the last fed publication. Curious.

      In those rules are projections for what Fed funds should be based on GDP employment and inflation. All those point sharply higher levels than we are now. Powell said he was not aware that they were missing from the publication. I call BS

      check the Cleveland federal reserve search for monetary rules

    • Mud says:

      And still only a 25 point increase ,remember when China told them not to increase rates to fast,puppets

    • Swamp Creature says:

      J Powell is now starting to back off any significant tightening and blaming it all on the Ukraine crisis. By the time we reach zero hour there will be no .5% Federal Funds rate hike, and there may not even be a .25% rate hike, for fear of destabilizing the markets it a time of War. Instead, we will get another 10 billion of Federal spending to bail out the Ukraine. All that money will be printed of course and pocketed by corrupt government officials in what’s left of Ukraine.

      • Implicit says:

        … that would be like a freaking nightmare! I feel like I’m the only one that voted for Ron Paul

        • Wolfbay says:

          I was with you. It’s sad how right Ron Paul was and how ignored he was.

        • Swamp Creature says:

          Implicit

          I’m a Ron Paul and Rand Paul supporter.

        • crazytown says:

          Ron Paul 2012 would have changed the course of history forever….for the better. Really bums me out to think back to those days.

      • historicus says:

        1/4pt? Why bother?
        When the car needs washing, you dont reach for a toothbrush.

        • phleep says:

          If anything or anybody had to fall in price to hit a real, not steroid-juiced, put-undergirded clearing price, things would begin to make sense again.

  14. MiTurn says:

    “The inability to meet demand – and even to accept new orders – due to “supply chain disruptions, capacity constraints, inflation, logistical challenges, and labor shortages.”

    I’ve mentioned this before, but here goes. My favorite pop — a diet root beer — was nowhere to be found at my local markets. It’s locally produced (Spokane). I actually emailed the company to see if this was a local phenomenon or what. The fellow who responded said that a shortage of labor and supplies has forced them to focus on their core products and drop everything else.

    Darn it. I guess I’ll have to switch to Shasta while I can. :)

    • Mud says:

      Friend bought hybrid Toyota hi lander took 8 months to receive stuck in Kansas City rail yard ,no truck to haul to Omaha ne pathetic

    • Or make your own root beer. Coworker once told me homeade root beer was her husbands favorite. She made it every summer. I ask her what her recipe was; some root beer extract, some sugar and a pinch of yeast at bottling to give it fizz. They are good Mormons. I said, no wonder he likes it, yeast and sugar equals alcohol.

      • Implicit says:

        I’m on permanent strike against the pharmaceutical companies, making my medicines from plants.

      • josap says:

        You only use a very little yeast and then put it in the frig when it gets fizzy. Stops the yeast / sugar happiness.

      • SK says:

        I brew kombucha. Make a fizzy lemon-ginger flavor that is so good, I call it the “elixir of the gods”. It naturally has a small amount of alcohol, but with the addition of a little champagne yeast and extra sugar, can be brewed into a beverage with about the same amount of alcohol as wine.

        This is just one skill that is part of an overall plan to increase food self-sufficiency. I am certain that serious food shortages will hit in the not so distant future.

    • Tony22 says:

      It Hasta Be Shasta!

      Got stuck with R.C Cola, Hires Root Beer and Dr. Pepper when Coca-Cola drivers went on strike in the 1960s

      • phleep says:

        God made water for humans to drink. It is the only thing I drink. Food and water are not entertainment for anyone mentally over age 2.

  15. AverageCommenter says:

    “There is no ‘labor shortage’ in America as some media talkingheads have been so redundantly repeating from the scripts they’re paid to read… but there is a ‘wage shortage’. When a person works a job they are selling their labor for a price which is known as a wage or a salary. Before the pandemic, fast-food workers were fighting for $15. Some cities placed a $15/hr minimum within their city limits. Amazon upped the ante on other companies by setting a $15/hr minimum for any employee. The momentum to push wages upward to cover the rising costs of shelter, food, fuel, etc. was already well underway & covid was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Ultimately the pandemic will blow us straight pass $15/hr like the Star Trek Enterprise going into warp speed. Today, workers are withholding the sale of their labor as they watch companies grovel & beg for workers. Many folks finally decided to clock out for good in pursuit of their entrepreneurial dreams & others stopped postponing their retirement. With the costs of everything on the rise due to the weakening of the dollar, people are demanding more dollars so companies are going to have to get with the program. When employers finally stop fighting the inevitable & end this wage shortage mandate, the economy will again return to running on all cylinders.

    • Tony22 says:

      I like to encourage Starbucks, Safeway, Amazon, Fedex and other corporate employees to go on strike for higher wages.
      “Those CEOs making tens of millions while you work for evaporating bidenflation wages.”

      Especially Amazon and Whole Foods employees;
      “Jeff Bezos makes around a quarter million dollars every minute of every day of the year.” You can see the gears turning after they hear that.

    • Augustus Frost says:

      The labor shortage is the result of a combination of factors creating a fake economy.

      The fake economy creates unprecedented artificial demand (made worse by COVID). The fake economy is the result of unprecedented deficit spending made possible by artificially cheap money and inflates asset prices. The asset mania also makes people feel wealthier so that they both spend more and some of them work less or not at all.

      The fake economy, asset mania, and credit bubble won’t last forever. Its end will solve the labor shortage because this shortage is based upon unsustainable consumption. No society can consume more than it produces forever.

      Once the fake economy goes, there is going be a labor glut. Demographics is irrelevant because people who are broke don’t get to stop working, regardless of their age, assuming they can even find a job.

      The majority of Americans are destined to become poorer or a lot poorer.

    • BuySome says:

      Rising wages lead to rising prices lead consumption cuts lead to falling revenues lead to business recession leads to worker layoffs lead to a big nightmare. Land is the problem here. Rents accrue to the few, not to the many. Control the costs and the wages will be sufficient. Don’t control the main price of living and all hell breaks loose…and that’s what cycle we have been in for a long time now. Something needs to break, so what’s it gonna be?

      • Sams says:

        I would rather say rentier avtivity lead to higher cost of land and capital. Which leads to rising prices, falling revenues and worker layoffs.

        What few see is that rentiers tax the economy. It’s in old Rome, some acrued all the money, gold, and the economy did grind to a halt.

  16. truth says:

    All Wolf’s Posts really Grab me and make me think more and more about leaving the USA.
    Why fight a Bunch of Crooked Thieves I am Not a Cop or Court and have better ways to enjoy life.
    The USA has 1 huge thing about it and that’s the actual Geographical area
    that makes it a Beautiful Country . Now the Country is being sold out to the highest Bidder and to see the Sale ongoing was not my Cuppa Tee.

    • ivanislav says:

      It’s the same story everywhere, might as well make a stand in a place you know. Energy consumption per capita is decreasing, we are running out of resources of all kinds (look at historical changes in ore grade being mined, for example), and governments everywhere are trying to put in place control mechanisms (Great Reset) to manage the fallout.

      • Miller says:

        Although it’s a problem in many places I disagree it’s the “same story everywhere”, having lived in dozens of countries, the USA is unique, at least in its current form, in the degree it lets rent-seeking economic interests take over economic policy and squeeze American citizens for the benefit of a tiny elite. Younger Americans esp. are more indebted than just about anyone in that generation now. It isn’t just the current US housing bubble in all its WTF levels that Wolf’s charts illustrate (which is also bad in ex. Canada and Australia to be fair)–US healthcare costs and university costs are also insanely higher than anywhere else in the world. Ditto for daycare. I wouldn’t have said this a decade ago but certainly now, with the latest inflation and asset bubble wave, the United States has the worst cost-of-living and affordability level for young families and even young professionals, even in once third-tier cities like Boise, Tampa or Madison (leave alone Austin or Jacksonville), the various bubbles of housing, healthcare, college costs, childcare and transportation are utterly crushing younger Americans especially, and the US birth rate is actually now below most places in Europe now and on a sharper downward trend (Nordic countries ex. are actually having a baby boom), and those harsh costs of living are a big culprit.

        I’m not saying places abroad are a paradise, but there’s generally just less of this kowtowing to rentier and kleptocratic interests that’s only gotten worse in America since Citizens United and the rich basically buying up our politicians, and seemingly much of our Federal Reserve policy too. The EU is hardly perfect, but there’s a common-sense recognition that housing is primarily shelter, not an investment, and so a focus on making sure young couples can afford rental or owned housing at an affordable rate. You don’t go deep in debt for tuition, and don’t go broke for healthcare or childcare. (And before the usual retorts about taxes and salaries–having worked there, no European taxes in reality are not higher than the USA, it’s just that America splits up its taxes in more ways so the income tax just looks smaller. Total taxes ex. including payroll and property are not lower for most Americans. And no, it’s not because “the US military is spending on their defense”–even with the mess to the east right now, more than 90% of US military spending over the past 2 decades has been in the Middle East and wasteful wars there, and has had nothing to do with actual homeland defense for any of us.)

        If anything, the smartest play right now for young Americans might even be to look at some of the better regions in South America if they can work remotely and get paid in dollars (or even something else; the dollar’s certainly better than the peso but our own inflation isn’t exactly helping the dollar’s luster). If they can pick up some Spanish or Portuguese and get a work permit or citizenship, they can live much cheaper down in South America and still make a decent salary relative to cost of living. Same for much of central and eastern Europe (heck even eastern Germany or rural France is still pretty cheap, let alone places like Croatia or Hungary). Or ex. Thailand, even Vietnam, China, Taiwan or Malaysia for some. (China has the highest rate of young homeownership and unlike the US in 2008 and now, whatever their flaws, they’re actually fighting the housing bubble because they know shelter takes priority over house-flippers and RE investors.) I have to agree with Truth, there may be better options abroad for Americans (and to be fair Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders where they have similar dumb policies with negative gearing and housing inflation) where you can make a first-world salary but much lower cost of living. Or alternatively, hopefully our own officials could actually take a page from abroad and realize critical things like housing, healthcare, childcare, transportation and education shouldn’t be subject to big asset bubbles like this.

        • georgist says:

          Yes thank you. Great to hear someone else using terms like “rent seeking”.

          Until Americans distinguish between real value addition and value appropriation (rent seeking), they are screwed.

          Both are just labelled “making money”. No!

        • Alku says:

          great summary. I was thinking similarly lines (with Europe in mind). Until last week :(

        • Implicit says:

          Nice read. There is still a lot of nature in every state. Find it, and get into it, Life’s too short to be caught up in all the hyperactive BS.

  17. georgist says:

    And this is before energy prices start to move up rapidly due to Russia/Ukraine.

    China is in a great position to really squeeze the poorly run USA. Offshoring all your manufacturing was beyond daft.

    • ivanislav says:

      Surely they will give us real things for our paper in perpetuity.

    • MiTurn says:

      “Offshoring all your manufacturing was beyond daft.”

      Right on. But can we get it back?

      • georgist says:

        You can, but you can’t invest and bailout rentiers.

        You cannot be competitive in manufacturing and retain the financialization of land.

        The USA rentier capitalism experiment is a total failure. This has to be accepted and jettisoned.

      • Anthony A. says:

        That will take decades. We can’t even get people to work at Walmart. Plus, our skilled labor is gone.

      • Swamp Creature says:

        It will take 30 years to bring manufacturing back. Trump was in there for 4 years and still everything I buy in “Made in China”

    • GSH says:

      Not daft. Environmental and labor arbitrage are/were extremely profitable.

  18. Swamp Creature says:

    The administration is already floating the idea of price controls on gasoline. The rising gas prices are killing them in the polls. I predict they will put them in place just like Nixon did in 1971. What you then will see are gas lines all across the nation as supplies dry up at the price dictated by the government. The song “The Gas line Blues” was a country Western hit in 1979. It may be a hit song once again.

    • Augustus Frost says:

      It’s more typical government idiocy. Rumors of sanction on Russian energy supplies to be “solved” by price controls. I can see it, though it should be challenged in court since it is unconstitutional.

      • OutsideTheBox says:

        AF

        Just because you don’t approve doesn’t make it “unconstitutional”.

        Unless you can cite where the Constitution bans said activity…..
        then that was merely a knee jerk reaction.

      • Swamp Creature says:

        Augustus Frost

        Constitution???? We’re in a post constitutional America. It has been shredded long ago. Get over it.

        • OutsideTheBox says:

          SC

          See what I mean ?

          There’s that knee jerk reaction again.

        • NBay says:

          Outside,

          What I find funny as hell is that these people also use the word “sheeple”……e.g., “the programmed ones”.

    • BuySome says:

      Or Hard Time Killing Floor Blues might come back first. Wasn’t that Robert Johnson round ’bout Depression era?

  19. Tony22 says:

    Projects are being cancelled left and right. Actually got a cold call from a plumber looking for work. In addition the siding salesmen and the window replacers, cabinet refacers are back.

    People are moving all around us. You can practically furnish an apartment with free furniture, free refrigerators, washers and all manner of big stuff that people don’t want to move. Only suckers buy new.

    • OutsideTheBox says:

      If the “suckers” didn’t buy new, there would be nothing for the scavengers to scavange.

  20. Ben Sargent says:

    Where does Tony22 live?

  21. DawnsEarlyLight says:

    Where’s Depth Charge when we need him. He’s like a shot of fire water!

  22. fred flintstone says:

    Now the crooks want to ban Russian oil……look……we all hate the Russians and feel bad for the Ukraine……but…….cutting oil when its at 115 per barrel and inflation is at 7+ is insanity.
    Which now that I think of who is proposing it……..it fits.
    Who do these people represent…..it sure ain’t us.
    If I were a congressman I don’t think I’d visit my district…..better to stay safe in DC where all the other crooks will protect them.
    Now tell me the oil lobby did not make a few cash payments today to these crooks.

    • Mak says:

      Insanity is the war in Ukraine. And shortly behind it is claiming that you feel bad dead Ukrainians but not bad enough that you are prepared to accept slightly higher energy bills.

      If you are honest and say that you’d prefer more dead Ukraine civilians than pay a few $100 more a year in fuel. Then that is at least a consistent stance.

      • ivanislav says:

        Virtue signaling has taken over as the national pastime since around Obama.

      • SK says:

        $100 more in fuel? I just got a delivery of heating oil that cost $880! It is up to $4.20 per gallon.

        I work hard to use as little energy as possible – drive < 3K miles per year, do not fly, am a longtime vegetarian, hang dry all laundry, etc. but living in the northeast, heating the house is essential and it is by far the biggest portion of my energy use. And the house is not warm and toasty – the thermostats are set at 62-64F.

        How much of my fellow Americans' profligate use of energy do you think is that essential?

    • josap says:

      In 2021, the US imported an average of 209,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil and 500,000 bpd of other petroleum products from Russia, according to the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) trade association. This represented three percent of US crude oil imports and one percent of the total crude oil processed by US refineries.

      3%, that’s it.

      • David Hall says:

        The U.S. imports crude and exports refined products like gasoline and diesel. The pandemic caused shutdowns, WFH, flight cancellations, empty streets etc. Fuel demand plummeted, oil production went down, oil companies took on debt. 2021 saw restarts, higher gas prices, increased drilling. The Ukraine War will cause further supply chain disruptions. The U.S. produces more oil than any other nation.

    • Swamp Creature says:

      Fred flintstone

      Buying oil from Russia now is not much different than Buying Volkswagons from the AH dude after the Luffwaffer bombed London and invaded Poland in WWII.

      They can take their f$ckin oil and shove it. We can make it up by increasing production domestically.

    • Bobber says:

      What would you rather have – $7 per gallon gas, or a hypersonic nuke on its way to your city?

      When somebody is invading countries and threatening use of nuclear weapons, economic sanctions can’t be severe enough.

      Learn to live with it.

  23. Willy2 says:

    – There was someone who said “We need a MAJOR slowdown in the economy to make sure we can resolve all the supply chain issues”.

  24. 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

    …now where IS that punchbowl???…

    may we all find a better day (if not the punch…).

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