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Companies Warn About Cutbacks

Wall Street Journal (11/14/12) Kate Linebaugh; Siobhan Hughes

Some large American companies are making plans to slow investments and lay off workers if Congress and the Obama administration fail to find a way to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. The defense contracting and hospital industries are among those that will be directly affected by the $600 billion in cuts to government spending and end of tax breaks if the federal government doesn’t otherwise lower the deficit. Other employers worry the reduced spending will hurt them indirectly by slowing economic growth.

However, companies juggle a range of factors when deciding whether to hire, fire, or invest, and many say privately they are more influenced by broader shifts in technology and demand than the fiscal cliff. Rob Smith, president of Acutec Precision Machining Inc. of Saegertown, PA, says he continues to seek new hires despite the uncertainty. His company makes parts used in aircraft and gas-turbine engines, among other things. “It’s so hard to get skilled people,” he says, “so you’ll do whatever you can to keep them.”