California’s New Pro-Union Law Could Grind the Supply Chain to a Halt

California truckers are protesting across the state to express their disapproval of Assembly Bill (AB) 5, a new law backed by unions that reclassifies them as employees rather than independent contractors and could send shockwaves through an already-stressed supply chain.

The regulation was partly enacted to protect gig workers at companies like Uber and Lyft that hire independent contractors in large numbers without affording them the benefits given to employees, but will complicate or render illegal the current employment status of many of California’s approximately 70,000 independent truck owner-operators, The Wall Street Journal reported. The law will likely force some truckers out of the industry, thus lowering shipping capacity and raising prices for transporting cargo in the Golden State at a time when California ports have already experienced major supply-chain bottlenecks during the COVID-19 pandemic, CalMatters reported.

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Commentary: Buttigieg Missing in Action on Supply Chain Disasters

Pete Buttigieg is the United States Transportation Secretary elevated from his role as a failed presidential candidate and a marginally competent mayor of South Bend, Indiana. During his tenure, our nation has suffered from unprecedented supply chain disruptions ranging from on-going back-ups at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, where forty percent of our nation’s imports arrive, to airline pilot shortages which are causing thousands of flights to be cancelled during high volume travel days. 

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Tennessee Firearms Association Founder John Harris Deep Dives into Biden’s Thursday Anti Gun Speech

John Harris

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed John Harris, founder of the Tennessee Firearms Association, to the newsmaker line to comment upon Joe Biden’s speech Thursday night and detail the mechanics of red flag laws.

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RNC Blasts Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s Visit to Ohio

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visited Toledo to tout a new $2 billion framework to improve the U.S. food supply chain, as the coronavirus pandemic has sent ripples through the economy.

According to the USDA, Vilsack’s framework will “transform the food system to benefit consumers, producers and rural communities by providing more options, increasing access, and creating new, more, and better markets for small and mid-size producers.”

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Congressman John Rose, Other GOP Lawmakers Question Biden Administration over Shortage of Baby Formula

Congressman John Rose (R-TN-06) and several other GOP members of the House of Representatives held a press conference to highlight the concerns of Americans over a shortage of baby formula.

During the press conference, Rose questioned the administration on their efforts to fix the crisis, as little noticeable improvement has been made.

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Youngkin Signs Legislation Aimed at Identifying Laws, Regulations, Policies to Change to Address CDL Driver Shortage

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed Delegate Israel O’Quinn’s (R-Washington) HB 553 to help address a CDL driver shortage in a ceremony Wednesday. In February, O’Quinn said that shortage is contributing to broader supply chain problems.

“While we can’t control what goes on in 49 other states, we can control what goes on in Virginia,” O’Quinn said in a subcommittee meeting.

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‘The Supply Chain Does Not Exist’: Green Energy Industry Is in for a Rude Awakening

Renewable energy prices have skyrocketed while new wind and solar installations have plummeted over the last year, even as governments continue to forge ahead with ambitious climate plans.

While the U.S., European Union, other Western nations and international organizations have all pursued aggressive climate agendas that involve expanding renewable energy technology and infrastructure, prices have surged and profits have declined, according to industry reports and corporate earnings reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation. President Joe Biden has made a series of climate pledges, including a commitment to decarbonize the grid by 2035 and achieve net-zero economy-wide emissions by 2050, while pushing a long list of anti-fossil fuel policies.

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Commentary: America’s Future Depends on the Bioeconomy

If the coronavirus pandemic exposed the fragility of our supply chains, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has laid bare the precarious state of global food security. While inflation and sanctions on Russia have pushed up the price of food and fuel, the latest U.N. climate report provides a further urgent warning to change the status quo for the sake of our planet. It claims that global CO2 emissions must peak by 2025 to avoid catastrophic effects.

But there is an alternative to the uncomfortable choice between economic sacrifice, moral compromise, and ecological ruin. It’s called the bioeconomy, and it has the potential to address the existential challenges posed by climate change, global pandemics, and growing economic inequity. Imagine bio-based antiviral face masks, or carbon-neutral cement produced in facilities located in America’s former industrial hubs.

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Michigan Food Exports Eclipse $2.5 Billion

Despite continued supply chain struggles, Michigan food, agriculture, and forest exports grew 19% year-over-year in 2021 to eclipse $2.5 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Michigan’s food and agriculture industry is thriving with 19% annual growth and $2.5 billion in exports. It continues to uplift Michigan’s economy and make a local, national and global impact,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement.

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Commentary: The Green U.S. Supply-Chain Rules Set to Unspool and Rattle the Global Economy

in a warehouse at General Mills

Making a box of Cocoa Puffs is a complicated global affair. It could start with cocoa farms in Africa, corn fields in the U.S. or sugar plantations in Latin America. Then thousands of processors, transporters, packagers, distributors, office workers and retailers join the supply chain before a kid in Minnesota, where General Mills is based, pours the cereal into a bowl. 

Now imagine the challenge that General Mills faces in counting the greenhouse gas emissions from all of these people, machines, vehicles, buildings and other products involved in this Cocoa Puff supply chain – then multiply that by the 100-plus brands belonging to the food giant.

Thousands of public companies may soon have such a daunting task to comply with a new set of climate rules proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Farmers Hit Hard by Price Increases as Food Price Spike Looms

Man in white shirt and jeans planting seeds in the ground of a garden

Goods and services around the country are becoming increasingly more expensive, but farmers may be among the hardest hit as inflation, supply chain issues, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are expected to send food prices soaring even higher.

That impact is being felt by farmers around the country.

“The cost of fertilizer is up as much as 500% in some areas,” said Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron. “It would be unbelievable if I hadn’t seen it for myself as I priced fertilizer for our farm in southern Indiana. Fertilizer is a global commodity and can be influenced by multiple market factors, including the situation in Ukraine, and all of these are helping to drive up costs.”

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Crom’s Crommentary: Forcing the European Countries to Talk Amongst Themselves

"Pray for Ukraine and stop war" sign

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio for another edition of Crom’s Crommentary.

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Ohio Gives $10 Million to Meat Producers to Help Supply Chain

Ohio is offering $10 million in grants to livestock and poultry producers across the state to help farmers increase capacity and ease growing stress on supply chains, Gov. Mike DeWine announced.

The plan is to offer 40 Ohio producers grants of up to $25,000, with half the money provided before projects start and the other half awarded after companies show the money was spent on eligible costs.

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U.S. Economy Grew Faster Than Expected at the End of 2021

The U.S. economy grew at a faster rate than was anticipated pace in the fourth quarter of 2021, benefiting from solid consumer demand before the slowdown caused by the Omicron coronavirus variant and supply chain disruptions.

U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 6.9% on a year-over-year basis in the fourth quarter of 2021, a 2.3% increase from the third quarter figure, the Commerce Department announced Thursday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal estimated that U.S. GDP would grow at a just 5.5% annual rate.

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Senator Bill Hagerty Tours Lipman Brothers Warehouse and Discusses Supply Chain Shortages

NASHVILLE, Tennessee— Senator Bill Hagerty toured the Lipman warehouse Tuesday morning. Haggerty and his team walked with CEO Robert Lipman and COO Lowell Goldman through a small tour, where Lipman and Hagerty discussed the problems the Lipman company had been facing with supply chain shortages. 

“This is another great example of wonderful Tennessee entrepreneurs that have thrived in an environment that’s very challenging,” Hagerty said. “But Robert Lipman, the proprietor here, told me how hard it is to get the workforce that he needs, the difficulties that he’s had with the supply chain; the fact that glass from China is a major bottleneck now, for what he’s trying to do right here.

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Luxury Car Sales Surge Amid Global Supply Chain Disruptions and Surging Inflation

blue Rolls Royce at a dealership

Luxury car sales surged in 2021 while mainstream car companies struggled amid global supply chain disruptions and soaring inflation, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Luxury car brands, including Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Porsche and BMW, all reported record sales in 2021, the WSJ reported. Reduced international travel reportedly encouraged high-end car users to boost their vehicle purchases.

Meanwhile, the auto industry was crushed by supply chain bottlenecks and worsening chip shortages causing companies to curb production, the WSJ reported.

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Commentary: Five Facts About the U.S. Truck Driver Shortage

The Big Insight: Regulatory changes could help alleviate a trucker shortage making our supply chain problems worse.

There are many causes of the ongoing supply chain slowdowns impacting the U.S., but one of them is a shortage of truckers, who move the bulk of goods to stores and consumers. Many jobs are being posted, but onerous certification and age requirements are preventing some of them from being filled.

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Owner Greg Davidson of Music City Outdoors Discusses Smart Moves for His Small Business Amid Supply Chain and Inflation Challenges

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed local business owner, Greg Davidson of Music City Outdoors to discuss the effects of supply chain and inflation on small business.

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Labor Shortage, Supply Chain, Inflation Hurting Ohio Small Businesses

Small businesses across Ohio find themselves in the middle of what one of the leading advocates in the nation calls a perfect storm of issues, causing continued concern and struggles.

A new survey from the Ohio branch of the National Federation of Independent Business shows labor issues, supply chain problems and inflation create significant hurdles as mom-and-pop businesses around the state continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Vaccine Mandate Ruling Could Hurt Supply Chain, Amplify Labor Shortage in Virginia

A U.S. court of appeals ruling that will allow the federal government to impose a vaccine mandate on businesses could hurt the supply chain and amplify the labor shortage in Virginia and nationwide, according to a business group fighting against the rule.

An appeals court ruled Friday the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is allowed to enforce its vaccine mandate. The rule requires any business with 100 or more workers force every employee to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or be subject to a test every week. The National Federation of Independent Business and several other groups have filed lawsuits against the rule and plan to take the fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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All Star Panelists Roger Simon and Carol Swain Discuss Who’s Really Running America

Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelists Roger Simon and Carol Swain in studio to talk about who is running America.

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Fertilizer Shortage Could Impact Crop Yields over the Next Year

Blue tractor in a field, fertilizing the land

Experts are warning that the dual energy and supply chain crises could serve to significantly disrupt global crop production, potentially disrupting food supplies for poorer consumers in particular.

Those ongoing crises are helping to temporarily decrease the global supply of fertilizer, a critical component in much of world agriculture and one that allows farmers to grow considerable quantities of crops in much of the world’s soils.

The fertilizer shortage is “impacting food prices all over the world and it hits the wallets of many people,” Yara International Director Svein Tore Holsether told the BBC this week.

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Blackburn Legislation Addresses Supply Chains in Tennessee

Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced a bill this week to engage public-private partnerships toward strengthening supply chains in Tennessee and the region.

Current bottlenecks in shipping have translated to fewer goods on store shelves and higher prices for American consumers. Their causes are multifaceted and include high labor costs, cumbersome union work rules and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Crom’s Crommentary on the Biden Administration’s Negligent Response to Inflation, Supply Chain, and Oil Shortages

A massive ship getting pulled into the harbor

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio for another edition of Crom’s Commentary.

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Inflation Increases at Record Rate for Second Month in a Row

Woman shopping

The Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures inflation at the wholesale level, rose 8.6% year-over-year as of October, growing at a record rate for a second straight month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Thursday.

BLS reported Thursday that the PPI, which measures inflation before it hits consumers, grew 0.6% in October, in line with Dow Jones estimates, highlighting that inflationary pressure is still strong.

Over 60% of the month-over-month increase in producer prices resulted from a 1.2% spike in the price of goods rather than services, BLS reported. Goods prices rose 1.2% in October compared to a 0.2% increase in the cost of services.

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Wisconsin Sen. Baldwin Introduces Legislation to Support American Made Goods, Address Supply Chain Issues

Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced legislation to support American made goods and to try to address the supply chain issues facing many Americans. Baldwin said, “Our Made in America economy has been neglected, exposing us to shocks that leave us unable to produce or acquire the things we need, putting our health, economy, and security at risk.”

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Big Tech Companies Apple and Amazon Warn of Worsening Supply Chain Crisis

A ship arriving at the Hamburg harbor.

On Thursday, two of the biggest tech companies in the world posted earnings that fell below market expectations, attributed to the ongoing supply chain crisis that is paralyzing the American economy, according to CNN.

For the third quarter of 2021, Amazon’s net sales amounted to around $110.8 billion, which was a 15 percent increase from the previous year; however, this ultimately fell below market analyst predictions of about $111.6 billion. Amazon’s overall net income for the same period decreased from the same period in 2020 to about $3.2 billion, when predictions estimated around $4.6 billion.

Apple’s sales during the same quarter were $83.4 billion, with iPhone sales at $38.9 billion; both were lower than original projections.

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U.S. Consumer Spending Grew Slowly in September amid High COVID-19 Cases, Supply Chain Problems and Rising Inflation

U.S. consumer spending growth slowed in September, and income dropped due to high COVID-19 cases, supply shortages, rising inflation, and ending unemployment benefits.

Consumer spending increased 0.6% in September, down from a 1% jump in August, the Commerce Department announced Friday. Personal income fell 1% in September, driven by a 72% drop in unemployment insurance benefits that offset a 0.7% spike in wages and benefits, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Economists polled by Reuters projected a 0.5% in consumer spending. Delta variant cases peaked in the middle of September, and the continued supply chain backups have caused shortages and rising prices, making it harder for consumers to purchase their desired goods, the WSJ reported.

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The Supply Chain Crisis Could Threaten Rural America’s Internet Access

The telecommunications industry, like other sectors, is suffering from ongoing supply chain chaos, with equipment delays and heightened costs endangering efforts to bring internet access to rural America.

AT&T announced in August that it would miss its target of supplying internet to 3 million new homes, citing supply chain disruptions, while smaller providers and contractors are reporting widespread shortages impacting their ability to complete jobs. The problem is exacerbated by the ongoing semiconductor shortage, causing long lead times, or the time it takes for products to arrive after an order is placed, for broadband equipment requiring a computer chip  like modems and routers.

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Russian Hackers Behind SolarWinds Attack Are Targeting the Supply Chain, Microsoft Says

silhouette of person with hoodie on

The same group of Russian hackers behind the December 2020 SolarWinds attack are targeting companies in the U.S. technology supply chain, according to a Monday report released by Microsoft.

Russian hacking group Nobelium is targeting cloud infrastructure companies and information technology software resellers in an attempt to gain access to these companies’ customers, according to Microsoft’s research. Microsoft believes Nobelium to be the same group responsible for the SolarWinds hack in late 2020 that affected multiple Cabinet-level agencies, federal contractors and critical infrastructure companies.

“This recent activity is another indicator that Russia is trying to gain long-term, systematic access to a variety of points in the technology supply chain and establish a mechanism for surveilling – now or in the future – targets of interest to the Russian government,” Tom Burt, Microsoft’s vice president for customer security and trust, wrote in the report.

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Food Supply Shortages Hit Tucson Unified School District

As schools in Mesa face food shortages due to supply chain issues, the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) is also reporting similar circumstances. 

“We are experiencing delivery delays and volume shortages for many products. For example we order 1,000 cases of an item but only receive 700 cases or delivery dates are pushed further out,” Karla Escamilla, TUSD’s Senior Coordinator of Communications & Media Relations told The Arizona Sun Times.

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Cargo Companies Warn That Vaccine Mandates Could Worsen Supply Chain Crisis

Several cargo boxes on a ship in the ocean

A trade association representing all of the major cargo companies in the United States is warning that if Joe Biden actively purses more vaccine mandates, it could further disrupt an already-weakened supply chain, according to Politico.

Stephen Alterman, president of the Cargo Airline Association (CAA) sent a letter to the Biden Administration expressing concern over an upcoming December 8th deadline.

“We have significant concerns with the employer mandates announced on September 9th, 2021,” Alterman said, “and the ability of industry members to implement the required employee vaccinations by December 8th, 2021.”

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The U.S. Is Running Out of Warehouse Space, Intensifying Supply Chain Bottlenecks and Adding to Inflation

Man in blue polo and jeans working on a warehouse on his laptop

Available warehouse space near significant distribution hubs fell to historic lows in the third quarter of 2021, placing even more pressure on supply chain bottlenecks and increasing inflation, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Demand for industrial real estate in the third quarter outpaced supply by 41 million square feet, increasing the vacancy rate to 3.6%, down 0.7% from Q3 2020 and marking the lowest level since 2002, according to data from CBRE, the WSJ reported.

Warehouses near the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports in California, some of the most important distribution points of entry in the country, reached a vacancy rate of 1% in Q3 this year, according to the WSJ. During the same quarter in 2020, the vacancy rate was 2.3%.

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COVID-19, Supply Chain Issues Slowing Virginia’s Economic Recovery

Virginia’s financial position continues to improve after COVID-19’s impacts in 2020, but the fast-paced recovery seen earlier in the year is slowing, Secretary of Finance Joe Flores told legislators in an update on Monday and Tuesday.

“The bottom line is that we’ve hit a few roadblocks in the past month or so with the resurgence of the virus, especially the Delta variant, and some supply chain issues. But you’re going to see from this report, as you mentioned Madam Chair, that the current revenue performance continues to just chug along. We’re doing actually very well, and it’s suggestive of a recovering economy,” Flores told the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.

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Crom Carmichael Discusses the Experience of Inflation and the Dishonesty of the Biden Administration

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio to discuss the dishonesty of the Biden administration and experiencing the effects.

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Expect Inflation, Supply Shortages to Last Well into 2022, Economists Say

High inflation will last well into 2022, economists say, indicating that supply chain bottlenecks will keep increasing prices and curbing production.

Experts expect to see average inflation of 5.25% in December, slightly down from the current maximum predicted 5.4% figure, according to The Wall Street Journal. If inflation stays around its current level, Americans will experience the longest period during which inflation has stayed above 5% since 1991.

“It’s a perfect storm: supply-chain bottlenecks, tight labor markets, ultra-easy monetary and fiscal policies,” Michael Moran, Daiwa Capital Markets America’s chief economist, told the WSJ.

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Commentary: Solving the Supply Chain Problem Requires Less Government, Not More

During the latter part of the 20th Century, Americans became accustomed to hearing stories of shortages of basic items in the Soviet Union.  The metaphor of “waiting in line for bread” came to signify anything where a state-managed effort led to the inefficient and ineffective distribution of consumer goods and services.  The state-generated supply chain problems were the butt of jokes for comedians everywhere.

Well, “bread lines” have now officially arrived in America and nobody is laughing.  The middle class and the poor have especially lost their sense of humor over the supply chain disruptions that have led to shortages and higher prices being found everywhere from the grocery store shelves to the provision of medical supplies.  Nothing is funny about shelves, wallets, and medicine cabinets all emptying out simultaneously.

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Holiday Blues: Economic Challenges Threaten Season with Delays, Shortages and Price Hikes

A series of economic struggles that have grown increasingly worse this year will likely have a significant impact on the holiday season, many economic experts predict.

After President Joe Biden gave remarks from the White House this week, one reporter called out, “Will Christmas presents arrive on time, sir?” The president did not respond to that question or the flurry of others as he walked away from the podium.

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Retail Sales Beat Expectations Amid Surging Inflation

Woman shopping in a department store

U.S. retail sales increased in September, beating expectations amid growing inflation and supply chain disruptions, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Friday.

Retail sales increased 0.7% in September, beating experts’ estimates of 0.2%, according to the Census Bureau report.  The number rose 0.8%, excluding auto sales, beating the 0.5% forecast.

Sales were up 13.9% compared to September 2020, and they increased 15.6% compared to September 2020, excluding auto sales, according to the Census Bureau.

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Inflation Rises Again as COVID Recovery Slows and Supply Chains Remain in Chaos

The Consumer Price Index increased 0.4% in September, bringing the key inflation indicator’s year-over-year increase to 5.4%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Wednesday.

The year-over-year 5.4% inflation figure is an increase from August’s 5.3%, and September’s figure represents the highest year-over-year inflation increase since January 1991, according to CNBC. The 5.4% increase in the CPI is slightly above the 5.3% economists estimated.

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IMF Expects Less Economic Growth from U.S. Amid Supply Chain Chaos

The International Monetary Fund cut its global growth forecast for 2021 on Tuesday, citing supply chain disruptions and pandemic-related health concerns.

In the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook report, released Tuesday, the IMF’s economists share anticipations for global economic growth measuring 5.9% in 2021, a downgrade from their 6% projection in July.

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Groups Warn of Supply Chain System Collapse, as California Ports Face Record Backlogs

Seaport

The International Chamber of Shipping, a coalition of truck drivers, seafarers, and airline workers, recently warned heads of state at the United Nations General Assembly that if restrictive COVID policies don’t change and freedom of movement isn’t restored to transportation workers, a supply-chain collapse is imminent.

Industry leaders representing some 65 million transport workers asked the United Nations and heads of government to “take meaningful and swift action to resolve the crisis now.”

“Global supply chains are beginning to buckle as two years’ worth of strain on transport workers take their toll,” they wrote in an open letter signed by the International Air Transport Association, the International Road Transport Union and the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

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Construction Industry Experiences Slowdown as Labor, Supply Shortages Wreak Havoc

The construction industry is struggling to recover from the pandemic due to difficulties hiring workers and severe supply chain shortfalls, a report found.

Construction contractors project revenue to remain stagnant and below pre-pandemic levels over the next 12 months even as the economy-wide recovery continues, according to the report published Wednesday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. While the Commerce Commercial Construction Index (CCI), which the Chamber measures on a quarterly basis, ticked up one point, it remained eight points below its early 2020 figure.

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Crom Carmichael Discusses the Bureaucratic Attempt at Managing the Distribution of Monoclonal Antibodies Source

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio to weigh in on the Biden administration’s attempt at controlling the origins of the monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19.

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Partnership Boosts Supply Chain Resiliency for Florida’s $56B Manufacturing Industry

Aerial shot of downtown Miami, Florida

According to an April-June McKinsey Global Survey poll of 60 senior supply-chain executives from across the nation, 73% encountered a shortage of suppliers – not just supplies – and 75% faced production/distribution shortfalls during the 2020 height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Florida’s 21,000 manufacturers – not to mention farmers, restauranteurs, hoteliers, retailers – were also affected by pandemic-induced supply disruptions, as they were by Hurricanes Irma in 2017 and Michael in 2018.

To mitigate disruption for the state’s $56 billion manufacturing industry, which employs about 400,000 Floridians, the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF), Space Florida and FloridaMakes have formed Connex Florida, an online database to link manufacturers connect with prospective suppliers and develop business opportunities.

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Testing Supply Chain in Minnesota Re-Emerges as Concern

Minnesota health officials are concerned about renewed pressure on the testing supply chain, which could affect the state’s response to a recent growth in cases and plans to continue to ramp up testing.

Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said during a press call Friday that state officials have received reports of delays or reductions in testing supplies like reagents and pipettes from some health systems across the state, which rely on their own supply channels for weekly shipments of testing equipment.

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