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12 Things That Are in Short Supply Right Now

Shocked woman with tub of popcorn
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For more than two long years, Americans have struggled to find many products that once were readily available. The list of specific goods in short supply has changed from time to time, but the trend of empty store shelves has remained frustratingly persistent.

Now, another dozen products and services suddenly are vanishing before our eyes.

Following are some items that suddenly have gone AWOL.

1. Baby formula

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Unless you have been living off the grid, you know about this shortage. The news has been filled with stories of desperate parents scrambling to find this baby essential.

Factories have cranked up production of formula, but reports say things are unlikely to improve anytime soon.

2. Feminine care products

Tampax
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A shortage of feminine care products is the result of a lack of staffing in factories, transportation issues and the rising costs of raw materials, according to NPR.

Fortunately, Procter & Gamble — which makes Tampax — says the problem should be temporary.

3. Airline pilots

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In 2009, tragedy struck when Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed into a house, killing 49 passengers, the crew and one person in the house.

Congress responded to the wreck by requiring new pilots to get 1,500 hours of training and additional certifications, which made training much lengthier and more expensive.

Then, during the pandemic, the airline industry incentivized a wave of early retirements among pilots.

The combination of these factors has resulted in a pilot shortage that is making flights both harder to find and more expensive.

4. Contrast dye

Contrast dye
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If you need a medical imaging test, the availability of contrast dye is probably the last thing on your mind. However, this dye — which is injected into the patient to highlight parts of the body during scans — is now in short supply.

As a result, patients are now facing backlogs as hospitals ration the dye.

5. Popcorn

Women watching TV
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In hard times such as we face today, simple pleasures mean more than ever before. Alas, even a bowl of popcorn can now be difficult to come by.

Increased attendance at movie theaters is colliding with the higher cost of fertilizer, a trucker shortage and other factors to cause a shortage in the supply of popcorn, the Wall Street Journal reports.

6. Electric vehicles

Man charging a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle
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With gas prices reaching record highs, maybe it’s time to buy an electric vehicle — if you can find one.

Electric cars may be the wave of the future, but here in the present, models that Ford, GMC, Rivian and Lucid manufacture have backlogs of orders and reservations, CNBC reports.

The upshot: If you want an electric car soon, prepare to pay more than sticker price.

7. Lithium

Electric car lithium battery pack
asharkyu / Shutterstock.com

Lithium, a metal used in production of electric vehicle batteries, is in short supply.

Time reports that the price of lithium carbonate has exploded, up 432% in a year. In addition, it is becoming more difficult to extract enough lithium carbonate from the ground to keep up with supply.

8. Lifeguards

Being a lifeguard requires diligence, responsibility and teamwork.
Being a lifeguard requires diligence, responsibility and teamwork. (Photo by katacarix / Shutterstock.com)

A shortage of workers is now surfacing at America’s oceans, lakes and pools.

Bernard J. Fisher II, director of health and safety at the American Lifeguard Association, tells Fox News that by August, a lack of lifeguards will be “a total disaster.”

Fisher says that in past year, temporary foreign workers have been hired to fill gaps in staffing. But the pandemic caused such programs to be delayed or backlogged.

9. Helium

Weather balloon
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Issues at plants that process helium are leading to a shortage of the gas, which is a problem for several industries, including health care, technology and manufacturing.

In fact, 10% of the world’s supply of helium comes out of a plant in Texas that has been shuttered due to lack of staffing and safety concerns.

10. Sriracha

Sriracha
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The supply of the popular hot sauce sriracha has gone cold.

California-based Huy Fong Foods Inc., which makes sriracha, warns that a surprise crop failure of the spring chili harvest means a shortage of the hot sauce that could linger into the fall.

11. Semiconductor chips

Semiconductor chip
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The shortage of semiconductor chips is almost as old as the COVID-19 pandemic itself.

After two years of supply chain issues, a lack of these chips now threatens the production of next-generation smartphones, according to the Wall Street Journal.

12. Camp counselors

Camp counselor with children
Vikulin / Shutterstock.com

Finally, just as the weather is heating up, summer camps are experiencing a meltdown in staffing.

A shortage of camp counselors means many camps are cutting back on programs or canceling them altogether.

CNN reports that one of these camps — Camp Fire Camp Toccoa in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northeast Georgia — recently posted the following on its Facebook page about its decision not to run overnight camps this year:

“No amount of leaf blowing, painting, and fixing will put a counselor in each cabin. No amount of advertising, networking, and direct contact with individuals in search of summer staff has produced a staff large enough to run our magical overnight programs.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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