Round Rock Edition | December 2021

L A B O R shortage

Labor shortages also contribute to supply chain disruptions. In some cases, there are four times more vacant positions than available trained workers in certain industries.

almost overnight—an increase in demand that helped contribute to ination. Labor shortages Widespread labor shortages are another factor contributing to supply chain disruptions, according to Jes- sica Garay, data and career awareness project coordinator for Workforce Solutions Capital Area. Among many skilled trades vital to supply chain operations, includ- ing shipping and manufacturing, the number of vacant positions far out- weighs the supply of trained work- ers, according to data from Workforce Solutions. WFSCA data shows that of the 10 occupation categories most in need of workers, two are directly linked to the supply chain. In transportation and material moving, WFSCA reported 1,213 new job postings in the Austin metro as of August and only 474 jobless trained individuals. BLS data shows as of October, roughly 9,000 trucking industry jobs remained unlled from pre-pandemic levels nationwide. “Notably, there was already a shortage before COVID[-19],” Garay said. “We’re not sure whether that is because talent is not skilled for these positions in transportation, ware- house and manufacturing, or if it’s something else.” Starmark is feeling the eects of those shortages as trucks from retail- ers picking up goods from the com- pany to ship to distribution centers are seeing delays between three and ve days, or sometimes longer, Ben- son said. “It’s just another example of how a few days added on top of a few days all the way down the supply chain kind of creates this bottleneck that we’re experiencing,” he said.

Data for Austin metro area as of August 2021

“A lot of that I’msure has todo with fuel prices and also labor prices. People are gettingpaid morenow, which is great. But then theydon’twant togo out and spendmore on a burger and fries. It’s hard forme to raise prices to stay in linewith ination and labor now, because youhave to paypeople a little bitmore than youdid three or four years ago.” - Rob Snow, owner, Greenhouse Craft Food

Transportation and material moving:

Installation, maintenance & repair:

Jobless talent (active claims) 474 New job postings 1,213

Jobless talent (active claims) 274

New job postings 1,100

This is the rst year for which this data is available, according to representatives of Workforce Solutions Capital Area.


response to global supply chain issues so they are more prepared to deal with future disruptions. The most notable change Tenen- baum predicts is the reduction of overseas manufacturing in favor of local manufacturing to reduce reli- ance on the global supply chain. “Now that we sort of understand the struggles of a global supply chain, I think what we’ll see is onshoring or nearshoring, where we either bring the manufacturing process back to the United States or we keep more inventory of that item,” Tenenbaum said. Benson said Starmark is adjust- ing to supply chain issues by nding alternate suppliers, purchasing mate- rials in larger quantities and planning ahead nine to 12 months in advance, rather than six. Benson said materials shortages and delays in receiving them, as well as cost increases, have probably had the greatest eect on Starmark’s domestic manufacturing operations. “Instead of pallets, we’re purchasing

containers of raw materials now, not only to try and minimize our cost as much as possible, but also just to secure that inventory so that we’re not running out of the ingredients that we need to make our products,” he said. Similarly, clothing store owner Ash- ley Kriegel said she can envision more consumers shopping locally in the future. As owner of Round Rock boutique Rhae, Kriegel said she opened her store in late 2020, and only knows an unpredictable market marred by an unsteady economy. Because of this, Kriegel said she has stayed ahead of the supply chain issue by ordering well in advance. “I feel like at some point, I’m going to be super excited about [the sit- uation improving],” Kriegel said. “Because right now, all I know is it’s hard to get stu.”

While the labor shortage has a direct eect on certain entities, it has an indirect eect on others. Round Rock Honey owner Konrad Bouard said the main issue he has involves delivery of components of his nal product. The honey bottles he sells use labels, bottles and lids that are in short supply. This is further complicated by logistics challenges, he said, as some trucking companies simply cannot nd drivers, a problem faced by many employers. “Our label company … one week, they’ll call us and they’ll say we’re looking [about] three months out,” Bouard said. “Then the next week, they call us and they’ll say it’s only ve days out. Then they call us back the week after that and they’ll say no, we’re back to three months. It’s just erratic, up and down stu.” Moving forward Tenenbaum said he expects man- ufacturers to make a few changes in

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