There are multiple reasons, but, it all revolves around a limited amount of specialized skilled laborers.
1. The industry is fairly cyclical and manufacturers are not keen on hiring and laying off people based on annual demand cycles. Plus, they can’t just hire anyone off the street and teach them how to sew life-saving equipment without a high amount of training and experience.
2. Manufacturers often build specialized equipment for military applications and when a contract is awarded, they have to deliver by specific dates to meet obligations.
3. Materials sometimes come in short supply and all the manufacturers order from many of the same distributors.
4. It was impossible to predict the demand to be as high as it has been this season and all the reasons above (and others) have contributed.