The rush to find common auto parts – NBC New York

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They are not just microchips.

Auto repair shops across the tri-state are in crisis as they try to find mundane bits of metal needed to fix broken down cars and trucks.

“It could be any part for any car – anytime,” said Gerald McNee, owner of Ultimate Collision at Edison. “Mirrors, fenders, bumpers, suspensions, doors, quarter panels, glass. The list goes on. “

According to a Citi-sponsored survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, more than half of automotive companies surveyed said they experienced “very significant” supply chain disruptions in the spring. These disruptions continue to have ripple effects, forcing McNee and his team to spend hours scouring the internet for ordinary automotive components that arrived within days.

“It is not excluded that we wait for parts for two months. We could have 15 to 30 cars for which we are waiting for parts. And they’re going to sink little by little, ”McNee said.

When consumers expect a shortage of supply, it can actually create more demand which can make the shortage worse. NBC New York’s Chris Glorioso reports.

John McElroy, editorial director of automotive news site Autoline.tv, says the reasons for this auto parts shortage are all too familiar.

“These are ships saved in ports. It is difficult to find truck drivers. These are people who quit their jobs to go elsewhere. These are the COVID protocols. The weather is bad, ”said McElroy. “You put it all together, and there seems to be a shortage of anything automotive these days. “

McElroy also predicted that supply issues will catch up with electric vehicles – just as major manufacturers set ambitious electric vehicle production targets for themselves.

“The next shortage is likely to be the raw materials needed for batteries and electric motors in electric cars. Not enough nickel. Not enough cobalt. Or manganese, ”McElroy said.

While raw material shortages are impacting everything from tires to automotive electronics, McNee said he believed the main reason behind the auto parts backlog was a shortage of manpower to manufacture. and transport the goods.

“I honestly think the government has made it so easy to reward someone who stays home rather than going to work,” McNee said.

Small business owners have complained for months that generous stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, tax credits and rent assistance have demotivated a return to work after the pandemic. However, a number of empirical studies have cast doubt on the idea that “moral hazard” is the main factor keeping people on the sidelines.

A working paper released by the Federal Reserve in San Francisco, estimated that about 14% of job offers to unemployed Americans were turned down in early 2021 – due to the availability of additional benefits.

“Each month at the start of 2021, around seven out of 28 unemployed people receive job offers they would normally accept, but one of the seven decides to decline the offer due to the availability of the additional $ 300 per week,” wrote the authors.

When consumers expect a shortage of supply, it can actually create more demand which can make the shortage worse. NBC New York’s Chris Glorioso reports.

Extended unemployment benefits mostly ended in September. Since then, there has been only a modest drop in unemployment.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country’s unemployment rate edged down to 4.6% in October, just 0.2 percentage point lower than the month before. In February 2020, the unemployment rate was 3.5%.

Many economists suspect that the labor shortage is due to structural changes in the workforce, including accelerated retirements among older workers.

Almost a quarter of a million workers have left the labor market in the past 12 months, which means they are out of work and no longer looking for work. But federal economic data shows it could be a continuation of a decades-old trend. The labor force participation rate had declined steadily in the United States long before the pandemic – from 66.7% in 2001 to 63.3% in early 2020.

More than likely, the shrinking workforce is the product of several economic factors. Either way, McNee says the impact is clear in his body shop. His team now spends hours searching the internet for rare auto parts and telling customers that their once routine repairs are now anything but common.

“It’s out of our control. We can only pull a certain number of rabbits out of a hat. “

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