By Chris Tye

CHICAGO (CBS) — They run everything for kids’ toys to ovens to computers, but there is a global shortage of microchips. CBS 2 is Working for Chicago and has learned the scramble to make more microchips could last almost two years. Companies that are out of chips may soon be out of ways to make money.

The globe is short on them because during the COVID-19 pandemic, companies like automakers cut their forecasts on how many they would need. But now the economy is humming along, and demand is wildly outpacing supply.

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An expert told CBS 2’s Chris Tye that all industries will feel it.

“Everything. It’s as simple as that,” said analyst Bharat Kapoor.

At least 169 industries will feel the pinch of the chip shortage.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs said it will range from soft drink and concrete makers to those making refrigerators, steel and soap.

The hardest hit so far in Chicago is Ford. The idling of its South Side assembly plant will now last through late May, which will mark six weeks closed.

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While that could be extended, this isn’t limited to the big guys.

“It’s trickled all the way down to us,” said Russell Caldwell, who owns CCST, a company that manufactures electronic dog washing booths in Garden Prairie, Illinois. 

Microchips are used in devices to regulate water and soap dispersement and to make sure the amount of money paid by customers matches the amount of time they get to spend inside. But the CEO’s chip inventory is running out.

“We have inventory in house for the next 60 days,” he said. “If we cannot ship, obviously the workload would drop off significantly, and there is always the chance of a layoff depending how long this lasts. I don’t see this ending for the next 18 months or so, at a minimum.”

Kapoor said heads of companies are not the only ones that need to worry. Heads of households, particularly with kids about to have a birthday or graduation are next.

“If you’re thinking of buying a tablet or PC electronics for your kids for a birthday, you better run to the store and buy it right now or you better think of a different gift. And I’m serious about that,” he said.

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How does this story end? It is purely a matter of chip makers making up for lost time, ramping up production. Insiders seem to think that will last through mid to late 2022.