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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fiscal Cliff, Skills Gap Fuel Small Manufacturer Post-Election Fears

It’s been two weeks since the 2012 elections put President Barack Obama in the White House for another four years. Already, we’ve seen political flareups like the David Petraeus scandal and foreign policy scares like the situation in Gaza, but the issues most important to American machinists are also putting pressure on the administration. With fears about the fiscal cliff, skills gap and competition with China, many machinists are waiting for a signal from the president that can let them know what to expect the next four years.

CNN Money profiled five small businesses to gauge their opinion of Obama’s re-election. Of these, Blue Ash Tool & Die Co. was the manufacturers’ representative.

A tool shop in Cincinnati, Blue Ash takes in $1.6 million in revenue per year, generated by 15 employees who churn out components for aerospace and defense firms. With looming Department of Defense cuts, part-owner James Siderits told CNN he is keeping an eye on his budget.

“Even though we do significant amount of work for the military, we’re still a small fish in the supply chain,” Siderits told CNN. “If there are fewer contracts overall from here on, then there will be less work trickling down to us.”

The fear of further cuts triggered by the fiscal cliff is also strong. If mandatory spending cuts occur in the new year, Blue Ash is “very worried that it may also force us to make tough business decisions in 2013,” Siderits said.

Siderits also expressed concern about the skills gap, mentioning that his company needs to hire two machinists and “we can’t even find candidates with the most basic level of knowledge.”

You can check out the full small-business series from CNN Money here. (via Modern Machine Shop.)

Brian Lane

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