The Easter season is typically a busy time of year for the egg industry, but this year the numbers just throw a bad picture into sharper relief. Egg prices are down five percent from a year ago, and they're probably going to drop further after the holiday this weekend, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The Journal points to a number of discouraging indicators for the egg industry. It notes that egg producers "have been losing money for three consecutive months ... the first time that has happened since 2005," and that players at every level from "small family-owned farms" to "sprawling complexes with millions of chickens" are feeling the squeeze. As if that weren't enough, it costs more to feed a chicken now than it did a year ago. And last summer's big outbreak of salmonella certainly didn't help matters.
As bad as things are for egg producers, it looks like the literal producers of eggs will really be the ones to suffer consequences. The Journal notes that "with little hope that feed costs will substantially weaken... the typical cutback in production after Easter could be more pronounced this year, as farmers look to cull their flocks of less productive birds." In case you were wondering who feels the squeeze most of all? It's the chickens.