When I was grocery shopping over the weekend, I was surprised to find that the store had apparently run out of produce bags. In every spot where a roll of the thin film bags should be, there were small, thicker bags with handles.
Obviously we all know by now that there are shortages of certain products, including retail and other plastic bags, but it's still unexpected when you reach for something expected and encounter something else. Everyone from manufacturers to consumers have had to adapt, either by using something else or waiting a little longer for delivery.
Expect those shortages to continue. Plastics News Economics Editor Bill Wood noted in this month's Numbers That Matter column that supply chain issues have lasted longer than first expected. And supply shortages are impacting attempts to clearly forecast inflation rates.
"Nobody seems to have a clear picture of how and when the burgeoning problems with this nation's supply chain will be resolved," he wrote. "We all want to believe the current bottlenecks will eventually be resolved, which would render the bulk of the current price increases 'transitory.' But as always, we have to consider for an alternate hypothesis. In other words, any more unforeseen disruptions and I may start to get anxious."
Bill isn't alone.
Zbyszko Tabernacki, economic senior vice president with consulting firm IHS Markit, echoed the concerns related to supply and inflation during an Oct. 26 presentation for Global Plastics Summit 2021.
"Economies were totally unprepared for the tectonic shift in supply and demand," Tabernacki said.
Both economists expect the situation will drag into 2022.