To the degree labor issues were a concern in 2017, developments in the new year have brought the problems into heightened focus. New Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules have strained already inadequate trailer van fleet availability, compounding a stressful logistical environment for millers and bakers. Immigration negotiations within Congress and the Trump administration may result in changes that could dramatically impact the future skilled labor pool, including proposals to reduce the number of legal immigrants allowed into the United States annually.
Even the new tax law widely hailed as a positive for grain-based foods could spur capital investments that will draw still further on the nation’s skilled labor force. These highly significant new developments underscore the importance of the baking industry efforts to find meaningful solutions for a problem that in 2018 is becoming more difficult, not less.