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Fed confronts economy with most widespread shortages since 1970s

Federal Reserve officials meet this week as consumers and companies fret the U.S. economy is facing the most widespread supply crunch since the oil crisis of 1973.

The Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve building in Washington on Oct. 8, 2021. Foto: Bloomberg photo by Stefani Reynolds

Chair Jerome Powell and his Federal Open Market Committee meet Tuesday and Wednesday as supply chains fray at multiple junctions for trade. The hard part of their job: deciding if snarls are localized and temporary, or are longer-term headwinds that'll fan inflation if supply and demand remain out of balance.

Ports including Los Angeles and Savannah, Georgia, are congested, key manufacturing materials such as semiconductors are tricky to source, commodity prices are soaring and some employers are struggling to find even unskilled workers. Yet problems are uneven, with ports in Boston and Oakland, California, promoting the relative ease of moving goods across their docks...

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