CLEVELAND, Ohio — What products are scarce on store shelves as the pandemic cruises into its second summer? In Northeast Ohio, consumers can’t find their favorite cat food brands, and they see price hikes in cleaning and building supplies as COVID continues to affect labor and shipping.
The available products may have steeper prices, too, though one expert said inflation is not the top concern.
“Rising prices in these industries reflect strong demand and some supply-chain disruptions,” said Daniel Shoag, an associate professor of Economics at the Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management. “Higher prices will lead to more supply and tamp down purchases by marginal consumers. That’s how the price mechanism works to restore equilibrium and prevent literal shortages.”
Lumber prices are up nearly 400% over the year because of labor shortages and high demand for homes.
“The lumber industry is a good example,” Shoag said….