Labor shortages spur big equipment sales
Equipment sales are rising rapidly as U.S. manufacturers invest in new equipment. This has been happening in the plastics industry, as indicated by reports from the Plastics Manufacturers Association , but these investments have been widespread everywhere.
As the Marketplace public radio show reported this week, orders for equipment that manufacturers use to make things known as capital goods hit a 40-year high in January. (You can find the chart via the St. Louis Federal Reserve here .)
Part of the push is that consumers have money to buy goods, but labor shortages are affecting manufacturers’ ability to supply goods.
“The challenge has been to meet that demand with all the supply chain issues and labor issues that we continue to see around the world,” said Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, Justin Ho of Marketplace. .
Automation and other equipment that manufacturers can use to produce more goods with fewer people require capital investment.
Plastics News economics editor Bill Wood tracks similar numbers, tracking investment in new equipment.
“This is good news for our economy and our industry,” he says.
I’m sure anyone who follows the auto industry is aware of the reshuffle at Ford Motor Co. where the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker is splitting its traditional car operations and its fledgling electric car business.
The plan is that the new arrangement — internal combustion engine cars will become a division of Ford Blue and electric cars, the Ford Model e — will allow the car development teams to focus on their specific product line.
But I want to mention some other Ford news with a special focus on the special customer.
As Michael Martinez of our sister paper Automotive News writes , Buzz Aldrin , the second man to set foot on the moon and the last surviving member of the Apollo 11 crew, ordered a 2022 Lincoln Nautilus crossover in October. He wanted it delivered in time for his 92nd birthday on Jan. 30, but his order wasn’t fulfilled for months because of a shortage of semiconductors.
But when Ford CEO Jim Hackett heard about the delay in Aldrin’s car, he stepped in, and the Lincoln team and assembly line workers made it a priority to get Aldrin’s car delivered on time.