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Opinion
Brooke Sutherland

What Should We Expect for Manufacturers in 2022?

The industrial economy is entering a new stage of the recovery, with implications for everything from capital spending to equity valuations.

Supply-chain congestion may be easing, but it’s not fixed.

Supply-chain congestion may be easing, but it’s not fixed.

Photographer: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

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It has been 21 months since the World Health Organization declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic, but it has felt like eons longer. That’s in large part because we keep reliving the same story lines again and again. Business operations and air travel are getting disrupted yet again by a spike in Covid cases and the emergence of the omicron variant. Americans just keep buying boatloads of physical stuff, overloading logistics infrastructure. I recently looked back at some of my early pandemic columns: The virus has solidified overly globalized supply chains “as a liability” and should “accelerate the unwinding of far-flung parts networks” and boost the adoption of industrial software to guard against unplanned downtime, I wrote in February 2020. The observation would be just as pertinent today.