SPOKANE, Wash - Millions of packages are set to be delivered again this holiday season - and companies like FedEx, USPS, UPS and Amazon are already preparing for the influx of orders. But worker shortages and supply chain issues could make this task tricky.
The labor department reporting 4.3 million people quit their jobs in August, just adding to "The Great Resignation."
That means instead of seeing your package arrive on time, without workers, it could be on a truck just sitting at a warehouse nearby causing your package to arrive weeks later.
"My packages went through, up north to Minnesota, and then to Montana, and got into Spokane and Spokane Valley, at its expected time and then the packages kind of sat at the distribution center. I contacted the seller and seller contacted FedEx, and they said that your boxes are in Spokane Valley, and they're on a semi-truck sitting in the lot. They haven't been pulled off semi," Phil Larkin, one Fedex customer said.
Larkin isn't alone. Several people have taken to social media to explain the delays.
According to Fortune Magazine the Postal Service saw a record-breaking 25% increase in holiday shipping last year, causing mounting delays and unhappy customers.
"I'm guessing that FedEx is like any other major employee right now. And they're experiencing a pinch. You know, if I was to be talking to the CEO, right now, I'd tell him, hey, as a customer, I would be willing to pay more money so that you can pay your employees more, and that we can get boxes on time," Larkin said.
Even with additional surcharges, package holdups continued.
But this year, they're prepared, along with other big delivery companies.
FedEx writing in a statement:
FedEx continues to navigate operational challenges due to constrained labor markets, increased package volume and the ongoing pandemic. We are taking bold action in order to provide the best possible service to our customers. We’re accelerating our efforts to bolster capacity, which includes a laser-like focus on people, facilities and technology. We strongly encourage all customers planning on shopping online for the holidays to shop early and ship early! We’re also actively working with merchants to help ensure they’re ready. We are sharing tools to give shoppers more control over their deliveries, solutions to help simplify the returns process and tips to help merchants keep their business on track.
Supply chain issues and the worker shortage aren't just impacting home package deliveries but larger home construction projects too.
Basically, everything you need to create a new home, from lumber, steel and appliances has been impacted by labor shortages and supply chain issues.
The fact is materials aren't arriving or they are weeks late, delaying construction and driving up costs for not only builders... but buyers.
"I've been working in the homebuilding industry is the management side for almost 20 years and have never seen anything like this," Joel White, an Executive Officer for the Spokane Home Builders' Association
White has worked with builders all over the county. They're handling a vicious cycle. The worker shortage is ever-expanding and getting supplies is becoming even more challenging.
"You're looking for a washer or dryer refrigerator and they're just not available," White said.
And products are also stuck at warehouses as there are not enough drivers.
"So, it may be in at sitting at the port or at the store location the distributor center, but it can't ghetto the retail center," he said.
These shipping delays also impact construction. If teams can't get the materials, they need, the projects take that much longer.
"Traditionally, we're looking at six months, eight months to build the home. And now it's eight months to a year or longer," he said.
All of this adds to the price of a home and that is then reciprocated to the buyer.
"A lot of these houses jumped, you know, 20 30% in cost. I mean, it was more I mean, it was a significant jump in the last year to two years," he said. "When people want to pay for new that generally push up the price existing or push up the price of rentals as well."
But White said housing prices are leveling off and that he hopes to see these supply chain issues fixed soon.
We already know hundreds of Spokane residents are facing economic evictions. Owning and renting a house in our area seems to cost more each year and the pandemic hasn't helped keep costs low.
The good news... White said house prices are starting to level out.