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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Supply chain snarls are probably here to stay. That’s not to say that today’s specific challenges won’t abate at some point. But there will be new ones — different from our current variety of chip shortages and a dearth of truck drivers.

Why it matters: Pandemic-driven turmoil may have put supply chains on the public’s radar, but major disruptions were picking up even before COVID — think trade wars, Brexit, and an increasing number of extreme weather events.

  • Meanwhile, some of the most disruptive events of the COVID era were not COVID-related: the Texas freeze, Hurricane Ida, cargo ships stuck in canals.

What they’re saying: “Supply chain disruptions will continue to happen both more frequently, and with potentially larger magnitude,” Dan Swan, co-lead of McKinsey's operations practice, tells Axios.

  • For companies, these issues have grown from being a responsibility handled by operations teams, into a CEO-level priority — and that’s likely to continue, he says.

State of play: In McKinsey's latest survey of global supply chain leaders, released today, 92% of respondents said they had changed their supply chain footprints in the last year to boost resilience.

  • That compares to the less than three-quarters who thought they'd do so, as of the same survey last year.

What’s next: Almost 90% of survey respondents expect to pursue some sort of regionalization — moving certain operations, like factories, closer to customers — during the next three years (Ford and GM, for example, are both forging deals with chipmakers to produce domestically).

  • And it'll be more common for companies to ask for information about their suppliers' suppliers — because breakdowns there can ripple through the chain, Swan says.
  • We're not there yet: Less than half of the company leaders in McKinsey's survey said they understand the risks their key suppliers face.

The bottom line: As a supply chain professional, Swan jokes that he has “never been more popular” than he is right now.

Data: Indeed; Chart: Axios Visuals

Supply chain woes aren't going anywhere — and job postings on Indeed.com for logistics specialists and coordinators are up 37% since April.

The big picture: Digitization has accelerated a skills gap. Jobs in demand-planning have transformed into roles that require data scientists, McKinsey's Swan says.

  • Only 1% of respondents to McKinsey's survey of global supply chain leaders said they have sufficient in-house digital talent.
  • And 55% of survey respondents said they are investing in re-skilling their existing employees to address the shortfall.

Go deeper

Food and hospitality industries still recovering from pandemic shock

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Rising pay isn't bringing in enough restaurant workers, adding to the strain on current employees.

A survey of 4,700+ former, current and aspiring restaurant workers found many employees aren't leaving the workforce — just restaurants.

California father and son accused of "reckless arson" in Calder Fire

Firefighters at the Caldor Fire along Highway 89 west of Lake Tahoe, California, in September. Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California officials said they arrested a father and son Wednesday on suspicion of starting the Caldor Fire, which threatened the Lake Tahoe area as it burned for over two months earlier this year. They deny any wrongdoing.

Why it matters: The wildfire was the 15th-biggest ever recorded in California, razing more than 1,000 structures, forcing thousands to evacuate and injuring five people as it burned across nearly 222,000 acres of land in El Dorado, Amador and Alpine counties.

New Zealand aims to create smoke-free generation with tobacco ban

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a December news conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand officials announced Thursday legislative plans to outlaw smoking by making it illegal to sell or supply tobacco products to the next generation as part of a lifetime ban.

Why it matters: "People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco," Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement announcing the proposed law, part of the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan.