Consumer-goods giant Procter & Gamble is an example of just how tight US labor markets are. In its bid to lure workers to one of the country’s most important tampon plants, the company has been raising wages for months.
The company says that staffing at the Auburn plant, in Maine, the sole source of its Tampax-brand tampons sold in the US, has “largely stabilized”, but people familiar with the production needs say that the facility is short-handed.
This problem have coincided with an increase in tampon demand. Higher labor costs, along with other rising expenses has translated into inflation for period products – average prices rose 8.3% for a package of menstrual pads and 9.8% for tampons.
P&G says it has taken multiple steps to ensure supply of tampons.
The issues haven’t led to a full-on shortage, but some women across the country started to stock up as reports of lower inventories spread. Supply chains have also been strained by raw material costs. Meanwhile, Instacart has said tampon sales on the online grocery platform rose 50% between June 13 and June 15.
Tampax is America’s No. 1 tampon brand, with control of nearly a third of the market in 2021, according to Euromonitor International. And the plant in Maine is the only one where P&G makes the products in North America.
The plant, which employs about 400, is in one of the country’s least-populous states, partly because the location gave it easier access to timber supplies.