EDC Director's Corner: COVID-19 Continues to Drive Supply Chain Disruptions

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Plenty of economic activity continues to flow to Lewis County, despite difficulties in hiring competent employees and supply chain disruptions.

The pandemic is continuing to drag down local economies as businesses and even nonprofit charities are suffering from supply chain disruption and the lack of quality employees.

The latter is expected to ease as extended state and federal unemployment payments are set to expire the first week of September. One general manager of an area business said he started to see a rise in applications this past month, due likely to people starting to get ready for the end of their unemployment payments. One thing is sure — plenty of jobs are ready and waiting for quality, motivated workers.

As far as supply chain disruptions, a survey by the Economic Intelligence Unit of 175 supply chain managers revealed the automotive sector was hit hard due to a shortage of semiconductors. Other industry sectors suffering from disruptions include footwear and apparel, food and beverage and manufacturers.

Central to the disruptions is the Covid virus limiting the distribution of global goods as many countries shut down their borders, close workplaces and limit exports. The pandemic also had several industries slowing down their production when the virus hit in March of 2020. Lumber mills, for example, slowed down their production. When the economy (before Delta) started to come back, the mills lagged behind as start ups take both time and money. The cost of lumber skyrocketed, but in recent months has dropped to more reasonable levels as production opens up. Until Covid gets somewhat under control (the Delta variant has been quickly spreading, including into Lewis County), expect supply disruptions to linger.

Thankfully, Lewis County with its central location and leadership supportive of the business community, continues to attract cmpanies looking to relocate and also to open new opportunities.

Two such businesses are profiled at left. Ryerson Holding Corporation is relocating to Centralia. Keys to the relocation are both the central location for the West Region of the business, as well as a welcoming attitude by area business leaders and politicians.

Also coming to Lewis County is a YMCA outdoor camp located at Mineral Lake. The county’s vast wilderness attractions such as the lake, mountains and plenty of open spaces, add to our county’s appeal.

LEDC Golf Tournament and Annual Banquet

Our first ever golf tournament, set for Sept. 17, is filled with sponsors and golfers. We’re excited to bring this event to Riverside Golf Club. My thanks goes to the LEDC tournament committee, specifically Lewis Economic Development Council External Relations Manager Eric Sonnenberg for his efforts and Chehalis Foundation Executive Director Jenny Collins for sharing her vast experience in running golf tournaments.

Part of the funds raised in the golf tournament will be donated to the Lewis County United Way, which saw its annual largest fundraiser Chef’s Night Out set for Sept. 18 being cancelled due to Covid virus concerns and impacts, including supply chain disruptions for restaurants and chefs as well as staffing issues.

We’ll survive and thrive, in part by supporting each other in ventures such as the golf tournament using proceeds to help area nonprofits. As we move forward into a hopeful strong economy at the end of this year and in 2022, the more we work together the more we will succeed.

See you at the tournament and our annual banquet scheduled for Oct. 18.

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