Despite positive numbers, massive job cuts loom

Despite positive numbers, massive job cuts loom

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While unemployment in September dropped to 7.8 percent /node/56148, the lowest since President Obama took office four years ago, the prospects are not looking good for federal workers.

CNN’s Jennifer Liberto reports that 277,000 federal workers’ jobs are on the chopping block if Congress fails to pass a budget before the year’s end, according to a recent study by George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis.
The jobs in jeopardy include an estimated 48,000 federal workers from civilian defense jobs and 229,000 from other federal jobs.

“Jobs could be slashed from food inspections, health institutes, national parks and even air traffic control towers staffed by Federal Aviation Administration employees,” said Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis.

Despite this projection, White House officials have told the defense industry, which would be expected to cut thousands of jobs, that lay off notices are not needed. This could likely change after the elections in November.  Read more at CNN Money

GOING FOR THE GOLD Planning for the worst, and anticipating a fiscal cliff fiasco, investors are choosing gold as their top commodities choice. Reuters’ Eric Onstad reports that U.S. hedge funds and money managers boosted their gold futures positions to the most bullish in almost seven months On Friday, international gold rose to its highest price in 11- months, trading close to $1,800 per ounce.  Read more at Reuters

GOLDMAN SACHS: IT’S NOT LOOKING SO GOOD Analysts at Goldman Sachs say even if Congress strikes a deal and tax cuts are extended and there’s a temporary delay of sequester cuts, they’re not expecting a sustained increase in growth. “Even if both the Bush tax cuts and emergency unemployment insurance are extended, the “sequester” is mostly postponed, and the fresh fiscal drag is confined to the expiration of the payroll tax cut and the new taxes to pay for healthcare reform, our baseline estimates suggest that fiscal policy would shave nearly 1½ percentage points from real GDP growth in early 2013, compared with ¾ points in 2012. We therefore forecast a renewed slowdown in growth to 1½percent in Q1, despite the healing in the private sector and renewed monetary easing.  Read more at: Goldman Sachs 360 

PATIENTS WON’T BE SPARED The health care industry is bracing for massive cuts because of the Budget Control Act.  Research will be delayed, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost, and medical professionals say patients will bear the brunt of the impact. Nancy Davenport-Ennis, National Patient Advocate Foundation founder and CEO told The Hill, “As disheartening as it is to consider that we are putting our physicians in this increasingly difficult scenario, ultimately it is the vulnerable patients on Medicare seeking care who will pay the greatest price.”  Read more at The Hill 

Brianna Ehley is the former Washington Correspondent for The Fiscal Times. She is currently a reporter on Politico's health care team in Washington, D.C.