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Supply chain disruptions affect car industries more than tech sector

Steve Henn May 31, 2011
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JEREMY HOBSON: Japan said today its unemployment rate ticked up in April for the first time in six months. It went from 4.6 to 4.7 percent so its still much lower than ours. And the increase is being blamed, of course, on the March earthquake and tsunami. That disaster has hurt the global supply chain, but different industries have been impacted in different ways.

As Marketplace’s Steve Henn reports.


STEVE HENN: Toyota’s total output in Japan fell almost 80 percent in April from the previous year. Honda’s fell even further. And as a whole the Japanese auto industry has a lot of recovering to do.

DALE FORD: We expect that there will be 3 million cars that will not be produced this year because of the direct impact on the suppliers themselves.

Dale Ford is a vice president at IHS iSuppli and has been tracking the quakes effect on global supply chains. Ford says while Japan’s automotive industry has been hobbled, technology companies bounced back quickly.

FORD: There was panic buying. So when people found out what had taken place they went out and tried to lock up supply to guarantee their supply of parts.

Ultimately, the quake didn’t create any real shortages for chips and components used in mobiles phone or tablets. And Ford says the higher prices created by this spring’s buying binge may actually end up boosting revenue and profits.

In Silicon Valley I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.

How We Survive
How We Survive
Climate change is here. Experts say we need to adapt. This series explores the role of technology in helping humanity weather the changes ahead.