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Business Disruptions Wane As Some Industries See A Return To Normal

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Business Disruptions Wane As Some Industries See A Return To Normal

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Business Disruptions Wane As Some Industries See A Return To Normal
Business Disruptions Wane As Some Industries See A Return To Normal

More than two years after the turmoil caused by the pandemic, businesses in many sectors of the economy are seeing disruptions caused by the Covid downturn.

The supply chain is broken. The semiconductor shortage marks a sharp shift in global shortages amid a two-year rise in demand. It has become easier for small businesses and restaurants to hire workers despite a shortage of pizza delivery drivers due to busyness during the pandemic.

As the new year approaches, check out the latest Wall Street Journal reports on business normalization in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supply chain density is declining

Despite some production disruptions in China and the Covid outbreak, products are once again circulating around the world and reaching businesses and consumers. Cargo ships have been calling at major ports for several weeks now since the start of the pandemic. Shipping rates have dropped from pre-pandemic levels.

Chips flipped the script

Chip inventories reflect what's happening in the broader economy, with retailers stuck with groceries on their shelves and manufacturers of a variety of products that were in high demand at the start of the pandemic are now facing challenges.

Back to last minute Christmas shopping

Discounts are making a comeback as stores try to attract shoppers willing to wait for the best deals. For retailers, the holiday season is a reversal from the past two years, when supply chain disruptions and delivery delays encouraged consumers to shop earlier.

Workers return to work in restaurants

The restaurant industry, which has suffered some of the biggest job and workforce losses since the pandemic hit the United States, has made up most of those losses. Restaurants and bars created 62,000 jobs in November, according to the Labor Department. Restaurant owners and workers blamed a number of factors for this, including higher wages, better working conditions and fewer opportunities elsewhere.

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Small business finds hiring discounts

Jobs continue to hurt many small businesses. But in December, for the first time since July, more small business owners said they had an easier time finding workers than in a magazine survey. Some business owners say measures like pay increases, adding apprenticeship programs and changing job postings are starting to take effect. Others report an increase in the number of candidates as competitors start hiring or firing employees.

Changing food supply practices

After taking off during the Covid-19 crisis, the biggest food delivery apps DoorDash and Uber Eats continue to expand sales. But the growth of the industry has slowed down. Analysts and industry leaders say people are switching to in-store pickup, ordering less food and changing what they buy.

Pizza Place is recruiting delivery drivers

The driver shortage is hurting pizza restaurant owners, from chains like Domino's Pizza and Pizza Hut to small, family-run stores. The pizzeria's often busy schedules, as well as rising fuel prices and the risk of crime, have contributed to shortages that have come as a result of the pandemic-related growth in pizza sales slowing down.

Email Todd Olmstead at Todd.olmstead@wsj.com

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