As we end the fourth day of the government shutdown, some manufacturers are beginning to feel the pinch.
Military contractors including Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, Lockheed Martin, and BAE Systems are being hit particularly hard. Some have already begun to furlough workers, and possible layoffs may follow.
Not only is the shutdown causing a cash-flow problem for these major businesses, but the absence of federal inspectors required to audit and approve various stages in the production process is forcing production to come to a grinding halt.
Airlines are experiencing delays in the delivery of new airplanes. Boeing has warned that ongoing deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner aircraft built at its assembly facility in South Carolina could be delayed because FAA inspectors servicing that facility have been furloughed.
Both US Airways and JetBlue Airways are missing planes meant to be delivered by Airbus. US Airways’ new Airbus A330s is stuck in France, and JetBlue’s A321 is sitting in Germany.
Perhaps an even bigger concern is the safety of our food and drugs. The FDA has ceased all non-essential activities, which may not sound too scary, until you learn that by non-essential it means things like factory inspections and the monitoring of imports.
Food and pharmaceutical supply chain contamination is now a potential risk, and that risk will only increase if the shutdown drags on into next week.
Amongst all the disagreement, we should be able to agree on one thing at least. This is not what the U.S. needs right now. In the run up to the holiday season, when consumers usually spend big, instead they’ll be bracing for more furloughs and layoffs. Not to mention all the container ships full of holiday goodies stuck at ports across the country with no inspection staff or customs clearance.