Industry survey: Nearly half of firms have laid off workers in last 2 years

The survey is the AIA’s latest weapon in its fight against sequestration, as the association has been the most vocal defense industry opponent to the sequester.

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The Pentagon’s 2013 budget is being cut $37 billion, and the department is facing a $52 billion cut from its proposed 2014 budget under sequestration. Besides the sequester, the Pentagon’s projected budgets over the next decade are being reduced by $487 billion from cuts included in the 2011 Budget Control Act.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has warned sequester cuts in 2014 will force the Pentagon to buy fewer planes, ships and vehicles and could harm the defense industry.

While the survey is not scientific — it notes the anonymous questionnaire means “data integrity could be compromised by multiple surveys being completed by the same person and/or business” — it might help AIA argue that companies are already feeling the pain of defense cuts under sequestration.

The survey, conducted of AIA members in May and June, asked respondents to detail budget impacts to their companies over the past two years — meaning the negative affects are not just due to the automatic budget cuts, but the overall drawdown in defense spending.

AIA officials say that the cuts are being felt most within small and mid-sized businesses in the defense and aerospace supply chain, as they do not have the same ability as large contractors to access credit or move more into commercial markets.