Cereal Maker Post Says It’s Struggling to Find Enough Workers

Breakfast cereal maker Post Holdings Inc. is grappling with production delays as it struggles to hire at some of its U.S. plants.

The maker of Grape-Nuts and Honey Bunches of Oats expects the labor squeeze to continue through the summer before beginning to ease around September, Chief Executive Officer Robert Vitale said Friday on a conference call to discuss quarterly results. Some of the effects are “too severe to manage through,” he said.

The comments highlight the labor shortages the have impacted food producers during the pandemic and are now touching many industries. A Labor Department report Friday showed U.S. job growth last month fell well short of estimates, suggesting that employers are facing challenges attracting workers.

Vitale said the constraint is widespread, but particularly in manufacturing plants in the upper Midwest and the South, impacting the food-service, refrigerator, retail and consumer-brands departments. The company is increasingly open to investing in automation to boost productivity, he said.

Post didn’t say whether the latest challenges are impacting availability of specific products. Supply chain obstacles and elevated cereal demand during the pandemic led to a shortage of Grape-Nuts beginning last year, though the company said in March 2021 that it had resolved the situation.

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