Supermarkets face empty shelves from labor shortages, shipping costs

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Supermarkets face empty shelves from labor shortages, shipping costs

A combination of labor shortages, shipping costs and cold weather has left grocery store shelves across the country empty, according to reports.

Producer growers on the West Coast are paying nearly triple trucking rates, according to Reuters.

On the East Coast, snow and ice storms have created massive food delivery delays.

Grocery stores and other retailers face a 12 percent out-of-stock level on many household staples, compared to 7-10 percent in regular times.

Compounding the problem is inflation. The rate jumped 7 percent since December 2020, according to CBS News.

Birds Eye frozen vegetable maker Conagra Brands’ CEO Sean Connolly told investors its supplies might be hampered for at least a month because of too many sick workers.

The problem is just not isolated to produce. For example, Costco imposed purchase limits on toilet paper at some stores in Washington state.

Katie Denis, vice president of communications and research at the Consumer Brands Association, blames the shortages on lack of labor and expects the situation to continue for at least a few more weeks.

The combination of labor shortages, ballooned shipping costs and winter storms has left grocery store shelves across the country empty.
The combination of labor shortages, ballooned shipping costs and winter storms has left grocery store shelves across the country empty.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

She said the industry is missing around 120,000 workers, while the National Grocers Association said many grocery stores were operating at less than 50 percent workforce capacity.

With Post wire services.

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