It’s no secret that the supply chain has been put under significant strain since the global pandemic began. What most people don’t realize, is the trouble has been lurking in the background for years.
It began with America neglecting the manufacturing field. The government has dedicated fewer and fewer funds to the sector through the years, and schools have pushed students away from pursuing manufacturing jobs.Read More »
Now the strain has become too much for the overburdened system, and it’s going to ruin Christmas. That might seem like a drastic statement, but there are three factors that strongly indicate that popular items will be missing from the shelves, and shipping delays will be a nightmare.
So what are those three ominous indicators?
The United States Postal Service has been struggling for a long time and the problems have only worsened as the pandemic continues. They’re short on funding and workers, and because of this their hours have been cut back and their prices have gone up.
Next time you head to the post office, you can expect the shipping to be more expensive and much slower. Even if you don’t ship packages yourself, you’ll soon see the changes reflected in the prices you pay online and the time it takes to get your order.
What may surprise you is that USPS isn’t suffering because they don’t make money, they actually have a great cash flow going. The problem is that in 2006 congress decreed that USPS had to pre-fund retirement benefits for its employees.
If that sounds odd, it’s because no other government agency is required to do so.
USPS may be in the hottest water, but they aren’t the only company facing shipping delays. Those who regularly shop on Amazon may have noticed that it’s taking a little longer for packages to arrive, and quite a few have been going missing.
The company usually begins seeing its sales go up for Christmas around October, so don’t be surprised if that, combined with pandemic strain, leaves you waiting for those packages as well.
Many blame the current supply chain issues on the fact that we’ve switched to depending on other countries for so many of our retail products. They’re not wrong, the U.S. has been sending manufacturing jobs overseas in order to focus on innovation here in the states for decades.
Manufacturing jobs, which were once a staple of the American economy, have all but disappeared. That means that most of the products we seek out when we hit a retail store are made elsewhere, which wasn’t a huge problem until the strain hit.
Now, people are finding certain items missing from the shelves. In many cases, those items are simply stuck in transit, with no one having any idea when they’ll finally hit the U.S. shores.
What we do know is that these problems won’t magically disappear for the holidays, so if your kids have a Christmas list going you may want to start your shopping extra early this year.
The War On Trade
The last big factor playing a part in ruining Christmas is the ongoing trade war before America and China. This trade war began when former President Trump imposed tariffs on over 300 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods.
The goal was to make China reform trade practices, but the country hasn’t backed down. Instead, the tariffs have hurt Americans and American businesses that rely on Chinese manufacturing.
The trade war is certainly affecting the Christmas season, as most toys in top demand are made in China. However, that’s not the only thing it will affect.
Because inflation never just attacks one area, bills for things like natural gas are also going up. Those higher prices on necessities, combined with high demand and low supply of popular products, point to a Christmas that only the Grinch could enjoy.
Whatever the reason, it’s clear that Americans can expect a rocky time this Christmas. Those who want to score the latest gadgets or rare items should start looking now and don’t forget to calculate those higher shipping costs.
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