Pandemic-Related Shortages

May 11, 2021

Not Just Toilet Paper

As Americans navigate the next stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, shortages of everyday items are still occurring.
What to Know
Why It Matters

Boom & Burn: Chlorine Shortage

  • “A pandemic swimming pool boom” has led to a high demand for chlorine. *But* a major fire at a Louisiana chemical plant has severely impacted production. This plant is one of only three chlorine tablet producers in America & has been closed since August.
  • The average price for a 50-pound bucket of chlorine tablets was about $80 last summer. It has now increased to approximately $200.
  • Why it matters: Chlorine keeps pools clean & helps maintain safe swimming conditions, protecting people from waterborne illnesses.

Lumber Shortage & Its Impact

  • Many sawmills decreased their production when the pandemic hit, expecting the need for lumber to be minimal.
  • Instead, the housing market began to surge & lumber production hasn’t been able to meet demand. Due to COVID-related production challenges, the problem still grows.
  • Impact on your wallet: “Soaring lumber prices that have tripled over the past 12 months have caused the price of an average new single-family home to increase by $35,872.” (National Assn. of Home Builders)

Computer Chip Shortage

  • What computer chips are used for: They are “like tiny brains or memory receptacles” & are essential to most modern appliances such as smartphones, cars, & airplanes.
  • How COVID has impacted production: Inventory miscalculations & “uncertainties caused by the pandemic” have “led to sharp swings in orders last year” & widespread shortages.
  • Impact: This production delay could result in longer wait times for items like cars, phones, & kitchen appliances until 2022.

From toilet paper to chicken wings to chlorine – the pandemic has resulted in shortages of every kind (at different times). With increased demand and lower supplies for certain goods, this summer could once again be impacted by what *isn’t* available on the shelves.

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How the chlorine shortage could impact swimming this summer

The impact of lumber shortages on the booming housing market

For more information on how computer chips are important to everyday life

by Jenna Lee,