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Monday, September 1, 2014

AeroCon 2013: As Federal Shutdown Ends, Uncertainty Drives Frustration

The fiscal cliff deal still left unanswered many challenges facing manufacturers, and the U.S. economy as a whole. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Manufacturing industry professionals are concerned about the dysfunction and uncertainty coming from Washington. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Despite the news from Washington that the government shutdown has ended and a federal default averted, many of those attending AeroCon 2013 said they continue to be concerned about the dysfunctional relationship between Congress and the Obama administration.

During the convention in Houston, talk of aerospace production and exciting new technologies was often tinged with worry about the quagmire in Washington.

When asked about the impact of the sequester and the government shutdown on the country’s health, Elizabeth Carlton, director of marketing for Temple Economic Development Corp. in Texas, relayed the situation as “trying to function in a 20th century economy with an 18th century political structure.” While she noted that projects for this year are being financed under earlier budgets, the status of defense and other federal contracts in the future is uncertain.

Shawn Kirkpatrick, executive director of Levelland Economic Development Corp., echoed the sentiment that has been sounding from the manufacturing sector for quite some time. “People are feeling frustrated by the uncertainty,” he said. “There’s little trust in government at a federal level these days.”

Amid the uncertainty, manufacturers are pressing on and looking for skilled workers to fill openings.

“If you come to Levelland, Texas, with skills in machining or welding, I can get you a job by tomorrow,” Kirkpatrick said.


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