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Data: IHS Markit; Chart: Axios Visuals

It’s taking longer for businesses to get stuff delivered from their suppliers.

Why it matters: On one hand, supply chain delays are known to fan inflation as sellers can get buyers to pay higher prices for a smaller number of goods. On the other hand, these delays also reflect that the demand for goods remains robust, which is a bullish sign for the economy.

Driving the news: Average supplier delivery times have lengthened to record levels, according to an IHS Markit PMI report released Monday. This data goes back to 2007.

  • This report also showed that U.S. manufacturing growth slowed to a four-month low, and services growth decelerated to an eight-month low.

What they’re saying: "This reflects surging demand for parts at a time when supply is being constrained as the Delta variant disrupts production in many countries, notably in Asia, and shipping remains fraught with logistical issues stemming from the pandemic," Chris Williamson, IHS Markit chief business economist, tells Axios.

The big picture: In addition to long delivery times, the report showed that new orders were outpacing manufacturing output at a pace not seen before the pandemic, "which is, of course, a recipe for higher prices," Williamson adds.

  • "Not surprisingly, therefore, prices charged by U.S. producers rose at a new record high rate in August, and look set to rise further given that material and labor shortages show no signs of moderating.”

The bottom line: Supply chain issues are persisting as new COVID outbreaks are disrupting manufacturing around the world.

Go deeper

FTC launches supply chain disruption study

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: An Rong Xu/Washington Post via Getty Images

The Federal Trade Commission announced Monday it is launching a study into supply chain disruptions across the country.

Why it matters: As FTC Chair, Lina M. Khan is fiercely focused on competition issues and how they impact consumers. Issuing this inquiry makes it clear she is seeking to illuminate how competition may factor into the supply chain.

What's happening: The FTC is sending inquiries to Walmart, Kroger, Amazon, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Associated Wholesale Grocers, McLane Co., Procter & Gamble, Tyson Foods and Kraft Heinz.

  • The inquiries, due 45 days from the date received, ask the companies to give information on factors disrupting the ability to ship products, the impact on prices, which suppliers are most affected, what is being done to alleviate disruptions and other issues.
  • The FTC is using Section 6(b) of the FTC Act, which allows the agency to conduct studies and gather information about business practices without a specific law enforcement purpose.
  • The move comes as supply chain disruptions get attention from the Biden White House and retailers struggle to fulfill orders ahead of the holiday season due to global strains and shortages of workers.

What they're saying: "I am hopeful the FTC’s new 6(b) study will shed light on market conditions and business practices that may have worsened these disruptions or led to asymmetric effects," Khan said in a release.

Updated 23 mins ago - Sports

MLB enters first lockout since '95 as deal expires

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred (L) and Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark. Photo: Matt King/MLB via Getty Images

Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement expired at 11:59 p.m. ET Wednesday without a new deal in place.

Why it matters: With no CBA, the MLB is in a management lockout — the first work stoppage since a 1994-95 strike led to the cancelation of the World Series for the first time in 90 years.

Media giants back Bannon's bid to release Jan. 6 documents

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon at the FBI Washington Field Office in Washington, DC., in November. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A coalition of news outlets including the Washington Post is supporting Stephen Bannon's campaign for the release of documents related to his contempt of Congress charges, WashPost reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: WashPost, the New York Times, CNN, NBC, the Wall Street Journal's parent company and others filed a motion arguing that a proposed protective order seeking to prevent the documents from being released violates the First Amendment, per the Daily Mail, which first reported on the news.