Shortage of Patio Furniture Reflects Wider Economic Issues

Yesterday, we looked at how cost-cutting measures used by rental car companies to survive the pandemic have now led to supply problems that are affecting travelers across the country. But rental cars aren’t the only items that are in short supply these days. For instance, a garden supply store called Valley View Farms experienced record sales of patio furniture in March as customers began to emerge from the extended stays at home. Soon after this boom, though, the Maryland retailer ran out of stock as it waited more than six months to be resupplied. 

This small example reflects a wider post-pandemic trend in which many products are in high demand but short supply. So while Valley View Farms has already sold half of its incoming stock through pictures alone, the company must still wait as items that should have arrived by February remain in transit. Although this is certainly inconvenient, experts say that skyrocketing demand is still a positive development overall. “This is a very good problem for the economy to have,” said economist Gus Faucher. “You’re much better off having too much demand than too little, because too little demand is the recipe for an extended recession.”

Of course, that might not provide too much comfort for patio furniture sellers who are desperate for resupplies. Along with experiencing shipping problems, other major issues like the February snowstorm in Texas and an explosion at a plant in Ohio also caused delays for many companies. As a result, the cost of acquiring new stock has increased with demand, which could further strain the finances of recovering companies. 


  1. Why is patio furniture currently in short supply?
  2. How does the current shortage of patio furniture reflect wider economic trends? 

Source: Josh Boak, “Have a Seat: Patio Furniture Shortage Tells US Economic Tale,” Associated Press, July 7, 2021.