CPG Slow Job Growth Signals Continued Supply Chain Challenges
Consumer Brands Calls on White House to Closely Monitor Effect of New Vaccine Requirement on Labor Pool
ARLINGTON, Va. — Today’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows strong overall improvement from September’s dismal number but fails to make significant gains in key segments that are critical to alleviating the nation’s supply chain crisis. According to the Consumer Brands Association’s analysis of the October BLS data, the consumer packaged goods industry added 6,400 jobs last month, doing little to close the gap on the more than 130,000 job openings.
“We are experiencing a supply chain crisis unlike anything our industry has seen before and the labor shortage is at the top of our list of concerns,” said Geoff Freeman, Consumer Brands president and CEO. “While fully supportive of increasing vaccination rates, we are holding our breath that the new vaccine requirements don’t further erode the essential workforce and ask the Biden administration to partner with industry to track progress as we approach the January 4 deadline.”
As the supply chain crisis worsens, American families are becoming more aware — and more concerned — about product shortages in grocery stores. In a Consumer Brands/Ipsos poll of 1,021 Americans conducted October 21-25, a majority (62%) of respondents expressed concern over access to grocery products due to supply chain concerns. Half (50%) of Americans say they have already experienced grocery product shortages in the past few months and another 17% say they expect to in the coming months. Their concern over access to grocery products outweighed worries about getting holiday gifts like electronics, toys or apparel.
Shortage concerns and today’s job numbers invite questions about what will happen in the wake of yesterday’s release of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s final rule formalizing President Biden’s vaccination and testing requirements. Consumer Brands met with and provided comments to the administration during the development of the rule, including a set of 98 questions sent to OSHA, many of which were answered in the agency’s guidance.
“We thank the administration for listening to our concerns and offering a high level of detail and clarity,” said Freeman. “Our industry will do everything in its power to encourage vaccination and ensure this policy is successful.”
The labor shortage reflected in today’s jobs numbers is hurting every link of the supply chain. For example, the trucking industry added only 8,000 jobs in this month’s report, far short of the 80,000 needed, according to the American Trucking Associations.
With so much unknown about how the vaccine and testing requirements will affect the critical supply chain workforce, it is imperative that the White House keep a regular dialogue with the private sector to stay tuned into how implementation is affecting the production and delivery of essential products leading up to the January 4 deadline.
“We said at the outset of the mandate that the devil was in the details. Now the devil is in the implementation. With the supply chain at its breaking point, we cannot allow ourselves to be blindsided by crisis on January 5.”
The Consumer Brands Association champions the industry whose products Americans depend on every day, representing nearly 2,000 iconic brands. From household and personal care to food and beverage products, the consumer packaged goods industry plays a vital role in powering the U.S. economy, contributing $2 trillion to U.S. GDP and supporting more than 20 million American jobs.
Published on November 5, 2021
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