From zippers to glass, shortages of basic goods hobble U.S. economy

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FLETCHER, N.C., Sept 13 (Reuters) – For Lauren Rash, it’s the little things that have snarled production at her tent factory here, like the many shades of black Velcro.

Her company, Diamond Brand, just launched a new line of high-end wall tents called the Liminal, thick with vents and fasteners demanded by discerning campers. But that means using lots of Velcro. And that’s a problem, because black Velcro comes in many shades, depending on the type of raw plastic resin used to make it.

“If I have older stock and put it with new,” the colors won’t match, said Rash. “Black is not black is not black.”

Before supply chain breakdowns and shortages swept the world in the wake the COVID pandemic, buying the bits and pieces for an assembly line was often as easy as clicking a button and waiting a few days or, at most, a few weeks for delivery.

Not anymore.

Shortages of metals, plastics, wood and even liquor bottles are now the norm.

The upshot is a…

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