The Economy is Coming Back…

With inflation and supply shortages

Displayed at the kiosks at Sonic Drive-ins show an example of the issues of supply in the United States for many products. (Edmond Kunath)

As the world comes back out from the horrible start of the decade a short time ago, the economy has begun to show signs of recovering, just at a cost. And that cost is no products and rising prices. Here in the United States, the holiday season has hurdles just to acquire products like turkeys for Thanksgiving and toys for Christmas. On top of that, the prices of these products are rising, along with so much more, making it more unaffordable for many Americans, including basic grocery purchases. Products like milk, produce, and even a simple mac and cheese in a box, will become harder to afford. 

Shortages of some drinks seen across the Starbucks app as stores have ran out of supplies across the country. (Edmond Kunath)

From the COVID-19 pandemic, the supply chain across the world had come to a halt, with people staying home trying to avoid getting sick and possibly die over an unknown virus. This resulted in the demand for certain products dropping, and less production domestically and internationally such as in Southeast Asia and China. As life slowly returns to normal, the demand has returned for many products, but supply can’t keep up, withCOVID restrictions in other nations, where we heavily depend on products. Countries such as Vietnam are still under many restrictions, and cases across the Pacific region are still prevalent. 

On top of that, cargo ships have been backed up for days, when it used to be only hours in order to dock into port to unload products. On November 10th, there were 111 container ships waiting off the coast of California to dock. In response, ports remained open 24/7 in order to ease the congestion. This breaks the record of the highest number of ships waiting to dock, with the previous record being 17.

“In order to be globally competitive, we need to improve our capacity to make things here in America while also moving finished products across the country and around the world,” President of the United States Joe Biden said.

Republicans oppose the response that the Biden Administration is laying down in order to solve these issues. They highlight the response as insufficient to the looming problems for the American people, such as rising prices. One notable example is gasoline.

Here in Colorado, the average price of gasoline is $2.17, now it is currently around $3.50 according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). At the Safeway Gas Station located at the intersection of Smoky Hill Road and Himalaya Street, the price of standard unleaded gasoline was $3.55 on November 14th. The price is $3.57 at the Conoco station located a short distance away. In San Francisco County, California, the story for gas is different, but not better. The average price for fuel is $4.89, higher than Colorado’s highest average price ever, $4.09 on July 17, 2008.

Message along Walmart store shelves in regards to a shortage of dish soap across the country, just an example of one product that is spread across the world. (Edmond Kunath)

In the United Kingdom, they’re currently going through what can be deemed as another gas crisis by some, as gas stations have ran out of fuel, however this can be inferred due to different reasons such as the nation’s departure from the European Union a few years ago and a lack of drivers for trucks to deliver fuel to these stations. Similar issues are also occurring in other nations across the pond from us. 

Gas isn’t the only thing that prices are increasing on. The inflation rate was raised to 6.2% in October of 2021. The prices of everything, from groceries to appliances, have been on the rise. Combined with empty shelves, now some Americans find it more difficult to afford basic necessities, especially as inequalities in wages across the country vary wildly. 

With the upcoming holiday season arriving very shortly, uncertainty is the best way to describe so much of what the world is going through at this very moment, and the pressure on the economies and governments across the world is magnificent. Through the Biden Administration’s solutions and possible future improvements by both state and federal governments, the holiday season will not be the usual, but it will be the best it can be in this era.