No. 141—Semiconductors

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The often unseen but increasingly indispensable component of nearly every electrical device we use is the tiny-but-mighty semiconductor. At their core, early semiconductors were leveled up versions of transistors—devices that opened and closed electrical circuits. Semiconductors today are in your televisions, cars, phones, computers, radios, key fobs, stoves, personal care devices, light bulbs, and beyond. Despite their ubiquity in consumer products, semiconductors are the result of one of the most—if not the most—concentrated supply chains on earth. Production delays at a handful of factories during the COVID-19 pandemic impacted dozens of industries and left consumers staring down rising costs for everything from used cars to phones to televisions—assuming you could find them.