The Achilles Heel of the U.S. Food Industries: Exposure to Labor and Upstream Industries in the Supply Chain
43 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2021
Date Written: November 5, 2021
The modern day food industries are part of a complex agri-food supply chain, where food production has become efficient, yet potentially vulnerable to supply chain risks. The COVID-19 pandemic is a testament to that end. This article measures and identifies the U.S. food manufacturing industries' vulnerability to upstream industries and labor occupations by (i) calculating a food industry's diversification of intermediate input purchases across upstream industries, (ii) quantifying the relative exposure of food manufacturing in a given industry and location to upstream input suppliers and labor occupations, and (iii) estimating each food industry's gross output elasticity of inputs. Among our results, we find the evidence that the animal processing industry's output is relatively vulnerable to production labor which is consistent with the observed disruptions to the meat packing sector during COVID19, which were largely caused by labor issues. Our results may help academics and practitioners to understand food industries' vulnerabilities to upstream industries and labor occupations.
Keywords: food industry, food supply chain, labor, vulnerability analysis
JEL Classification: D57, L66, Q1, R11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation