Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce President Kurt Bauer on Wednesday said customers are having a tough time finding things on the shelves and businesses in the state are having a tougher time making things or getting them to the marketplace.
“We survey our membership twice a year, and workforce shortages were the number one issue followed by supply chain shortages,” Bauer told The Center Square.
Bauer said the workforce shortage is leading to the supply chain shortage because there aren’t enough dock workers, truck drivers, or people working in warehouses to get the products out to stores.
Just this week, Kwik Trip blamed supply shortages for having to temporarily stop selling certain flavors of milk because they cannot get enough bottles; the Oneida Tribe blamed the global shortage of computer chips for the delay in opening its sports book in Green Bay; and southeast Wisconsin’s largest utility, WE Energies, said a natural gas shortage will drive prices up this winter.
“The shortages really do run the gamut,” Bauer explained. “There are plastic, certain types of steels, and aluminum used in the manufacturing process that are all short.”
But Bauer said the biggest worry is a possible energy shortage.
“In almost every other business, the number one cost of doing business is your labor force. But for manufacturers energy is the number one cost of doing business,” Bauer said. “Energy is very expensive. And it’s the difference between global competitiveness and being uncompetitive.”
WE Energies and other utilities in the state are warning about more expensive heating bills this winter. WE Energies said homeowners can expect their bills to jump at least $25 per month.
Bauer said that’s for people at home. Businesses, he said, have much larger energy needs and much, much larger energy bills.
“We’ve been asking questions on whether there will be the kinds of energy supply shortages that we saw down in Texas,” Bauer said. “It makes us nervous. Manufacturers are the number one consumers of energy in the state, by far.”
Bauer added that there don’t need to be energy shortages. He said gasoline, natural gas and propane shortages exist because of decisions by the Biden White House.
“This is a direct result of anti-fossil fuel policies from not just the Biden Administration, but from some state governments,” Bauer said.
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Original Author: Benjamin Yount / The Center Square
Original Location: WMC president: Shortages top two worries for Wisconsin businesses