READING, Pa. — With the holidays just months away, Albright College business instructor Adam Owenz said COVID-19 continues to grip the economy.

"We have these just-in-time supply chains that used to operate oh-so-smoothly," Owenz said, "but in fact, are really fragile and can result in somewhat disastrous situations."

He said that can be the case when it comes to what products we expect to get and when we can expect to get them. Owenz said a lack of workers in other countries is part of the problem.

"These countries are being heavily affected by the delta variant, which is causing factories to close," Owenz explained, "and then you compound the production challenges with the shipping challenges we see."

The lack of supply and the high demand come as stores look to stock up for the holidays. Owenz is warning shoppers that gift selections could be limited, particularly with toys, by the time Black Friday comes around.

"You do want to get your items as soon as you possibly can because, if not," Owenz said, "you'll have to settle for what's available this year."

He also noted a number of retailers are looking to market items they have access to this year, rather than ones they would like to get. The future of shortages in the months ahead remains unknown.

"I'm going to be really interested to see what comes of this holiday season," Owenz said, "and then if any we see any large company changes with respect to how we're going to purchase the things that go into the goods that we're making."

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