A few months ago during the holiday shopping season, New Jersey small businesses were struggling with a shortage of workers and with difficulty getting the supplies they needed to meet customer demand.

According to Eileen Kean, the director of the New Jersey chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, things have gotten even worse.

Supply chain problems continue

She said with China locking down tens of millions of workers because of COVID fears as the start of the Winter Olympics approaches, the supply chain disruption crisis has become even more pronounced.

“The interruptions are just going to escalate further: the ports are still clogged but then on top of it you have the worst inflation that we’ve seen since the 1980s,” she said.

(Tim Mossholder via Unsplash)
(Tim Mossholder via Unsplash)

The inflation factor

Kean pointed out in situations where there is a contract to do work on a home, if the parts and supplies needed to do the work are on backorder, which is frequently the case these days, the cost of those products may rise substantially by the time they are available.

She said this means “it’s the small business owner who has to take the hit because there was an existing contract covering what at the time was thought to be price of the goods in question.”

There still aren’t enough workers

Kean said the labor shortage is continuing, and a recent poll found 50% of small businesses indicated they will have to give their employees another round of raises soon if they want to hang on to them.

“Bottom line is small businesses are getting hit by the supply chain interruption, inflation and finding labor, right now we are at the peak of problems,” she said.

Kean added unfortunately there are no quick solutions to these issues, which means they will probably drag on at least another 6 to 9 months.

Her message to all New Jerseyans is “please remember, shop local and support those businesses in your neighborhoods.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.

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