March usually comes in like a lion. This year that lion is called Sequester. Congress enacted massive spending cuts to go into effect as of March first. What will this beast do for jobs in our area?
Of course it may not affect us at all if the Congress votes to cage up the budget monster for a little while longer.
However, should the dreaded “sequestration” agreement endure for even a little while, with no retroactive amendment, the impact on the Bay State and the Ocean State will be significant in private jobs just as much as in public spending.
Military spending will have the greatest immediate impact. Federal employees may see their salaries slashed. They will buy fewer consumer goods in local economies. Federal funding for state and local public services will also be cut, notably for teachers and for public health programs. Defense contracts will not be renewed. Already, manufacturers have been hit hard. Niche INC, in New Bedford MA has just laid off the final 200 of approximately 900 workers who used to make cargo parachutes for the army. They have no additional contracts in sight.
The White House has released a state by state report on the impact of Sequester:
“In Massachusetts, approximately 7,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $43.4 million in total.” In addition, federal assistance to state agencies for job search services will be cut by an estimated $787,000.
“In Rhode Island, approximately 5,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $31.5 million in total.” In addition, federal assistance to state agencies for job search services will be cut by an estimated $126,000.
The bite will not be felt all at once. The public will certainly demand a better performance from the Washington circus masters, and fast. We can only hope that March goes out like a lamb.