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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Whatever it is you might want or need — at work, at play or at home — you’re going to have to wait.

Why it matters: There is simply no escaping the complex web of labor, product and service shortages unleashed by the pandemic, and this era of disruption is nowhere close to ending.

The big picture: The Atlantic's Derek Thompson put it well: "This is the Everything Shortage."

Jobs are going unfilled: Storefronts and restaurant windows across the country are still full of “help wanted” signs, often for multiple positions.

  • And workers across almost every industry are still feeling the effects of spending more than a year at home, often with kids also stuck at home, as Zoom and Slack obliterated what was left of a line between work and life.

Getting away is not much easier, though. You can forget about a quick, affordable weekend to unplug, unless you want to plan it a year in advance.

  • One Axios editor’s recent efforts to find a decent Airbnb within a few hours’ drive of Washington, D.C. yielded only a $3,000 per night mansion or a nicer-than-average tent that may or may not have had access to a bathroom.
  • A shortage of rental cars has also made longer trips unaffordable. As individual car owners try to fill the void by renting out their personal vehicles, it can now cost the same amount to rent a Ford Fiesta from a rental agency as it does to rent a Maserati from a guy who owns a Maserati.

Everyday necessities are facing their own daunting supply-chain issues.

  • COVID outbreaks have swept through factories all across Southeast Asia, slowing down production of clothes, shoes, electronics and furniture.
  • And by the time those goods reach the U.S., it can take weeks for ships to be unloaded at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports before waiting — again — for truck drivers to move deliveries to warehouses, sorting centers and final destinations.

Home improvement projects might theoretically be a nice alternative to a vacation, but they'll be even more stressful than usual right now.

  • Would-be customers are running into shortages of large appliances as well as long waits for repairs. In the market for a new mattress? Some of the nicer ones are backordered until spring of 2022 — and the ones that are available now are significantly marked up.
  • Earlier in the pandemic, skyrocketing lumber prices and surging demand made it hard for all but the wealthiest and most patient Americans to fix up the home that was now their office or the backyard that became their only safe place to socialize.

What’s next: These same supply-chain issues will wreak even more havoc at the holidays. Travel is still likely to be significantly disrupted, and analysts are also anticipating a shortage of both children’s toys and Thanksgiving turkeys.

Go deeper

Jan 13, 2022 - Axios Denver

Buying is more affordable than renting in these 4 Colorado counties

Expand chart
Data: ATTOM; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

If you're looking for a home that's more affordable to buy than rent, consider broadening your search outside of the metro Denver area.

Why it matters: Even with home prices continuing to climb, the affordability gap is narrowing, which may signal the imminent end to what's been a steady run-up in home prices.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker