Economic Perspective: Are Some Staples Still Hard to Find?

NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences professor Dr. Mike Walden working in a recording studio.

MARY WALDEN:

“Today’s program asks if some staples are still hard to find. Mike, at the outset of the pandemic, many people rushed to stores to purchase common items like paper towels, toilet paper and canned foods. As a result, these items were quickly sold out, and their shelves were bare. Now, six months into the pandemic, have supplies of these necessities recovered?”

MIKE WALDEN:

“Well they have recovered. Many of them have not totally recovered, but they’re certainly better than they were six months ago. They’re still some items where supplies are limited: paper products, household cleaning products, plastic storage products are very good examples. The big problem of course has been on the supply side.”

“Suppliers were not expecting to have this sort of surge in buying for many of these products, and they’re still having problems keeping up with demand. So as a result, what you’re seeing for many of these products that are limited in supply is you’re seeing prices have gone up anywhere from five and 10 percent.”

“But like many things, once the pandemic is over, once we get COVID-19 banished from our society I do think we’ll see these supplies come back to normal. So that will be another normal piece of our world that I think all of us are looking forward to.”

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