Food Shortages Punching the Populace in the Gut

Food Shortages Punching the Populace in the Gut by David Haggith for The Great Recession

With CPI hitting a 40-year high today, as economists anticipated it would, inflation has shown us it is going to keep getting worse. People in some areas of the nation are already alarmed about food shortages. Prices are rising as shelves go empty. So are tempers.

“This morning’s CPI read really only solidifies what we already know: Consumer wallets are feeling pricing pressures and in turn the Fed has signaled a more hawkish approach. But the question remains if the Fed will pick up the pace given inflation is seemingly here to stay, at least in the medium-term,’”said Mike Loewengart, managing director for investment strategy at E-Trade. “With Covid cases continuing to rise, the impact on the supply chain and labor shortages could persist, which only fuels higher prices….”

A shortage of workers has led to clogged supply chains and empty store shelves. Though there are signs the omicron variant cases could peak soon, lingering Covid issues combined with cold weather in the Northeast point ‘to renewed upward pressure on food prices,’ wrote Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

Food prices broadly rose 0.5% for December and were up 6.3% on a 12-month basis, the biggest rise since October 2008. ( )

Inflation rises 7% over the past year, highest since 1982

In fact, food prices look like they will take a big leap up in January, as this becomes the first month in which eye-popping shortages have started to show up in some parts of the country because of an exploding worker shortage due to the Biden Mandates kicking in at the same time Omicron is putting all kinds of people out on sick leave for a couple of weeks.

That has become literally a one-two punch to the gut as it has added to the supply shortage in grocery stores that had only begun to appear in December. The occasional empty shelves in December could have been mostly due to holiday shopping and holiday meals back, so I didn’t write anything about it to avoid being alarmist, but it is clearly not that now, especially in groceries:

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