DAVOS, Switzerland — Usually-optimistic Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger offered up a sobering view on when the semiconductor shortage roiling everything from auto producers to PC makers may abate.
"We are about halfway through [the chip shortage]," Gelsinger told Yahoo Finance Live on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday. "My expectation now is that it persists through 2024. And the big issue that we've additionally faced over the last six to nine months is equipment that goes into the fabs."
Persistently low levels of semiconductors reflect the frenzied buying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to power demand for work-from-home technologies such as PCs to powering video games and crypto.
Demand for chips surged 17% in 2021 from 2019, a recent report from the Commerce Department found. The median inventory of semiconductor products highlighted by buyers fell from 40 days in 2019 to less than five days in 2021, the report stated, and inventories in key industries are even smaller.
"It's a crisis," Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said about the shortage on Yahoo Finance Live in January.
The situation has hit such a crisis level that automakers such as General Motors and Ford have shipped vehicles without certain chips.
The industry's biggest players like Intel and AMD are waiting for the U.S. government to do its part and pass the $52 billion CHIPS for America Act. In June 2021, the Senate signed off on the legislation, which aims to incentivize U.S. manufacturing of semiconductors, but the bill is still being debated in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Pass the damn bill and send it to me,” President Joe Biden said earlier this month on the bill at an appearance at a metal manufacturer.