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'Fiscal cliff' prompts layoff worries

Survey finds 74 percent of American workers concerned ‘fiscal cliff' will lead to layoffs.
by Paula Burkes Published: December 30, 2012

If the nation next week goes off the so-called “fiscal cliff,” 74 percent of American workers — according to a survey released Thursday — will fear layoffs. Scott George, a civilian employee at Tinker Air Force Base, will be one of them.

“With cuts coming to the nation's defense budget, thousands of Department of Defense employees' jobs may be in jeopardy,” said George of Choctaw.

“We have been told that there are funds to operate for a short amount of time, exactly how long that is, no one is saying,” George said. Though he has more than 30 years' service, George still could be affected by potential furloughs, he said.

In an online survey conducted this month by New Jersey-based Lee Hecht Harrison career consulting firm, 74 percent of more than 200 American workers polled said they were concerned the “fiscal cliff” could lead to layoffs. Forty percent are very concerned; 22 percent, moderately; 14 percent, slightly; and 26 percent, not at all.

Since the government sector accounts for nearly 30 percent of Oklahoma employment, “sequestration” — or the across-the-board reduction in federal spending put in place by the Budget Control Act of 2011 — “could have a huge effect on government employees,” Oklahoma City certified financial planner Troy Jones said.

Otherwise, there likely aren't many Oklahoma employees worried about layoffs, Jones said.

Terminations happening?

Conversely, Tulsa headhunter Tony Wolters said, based on feedback from his clients, the “fiscal cliff” already is causing layoffs across all industries, including some 15 employees terminated last month by Hard Rock Casino.

“It may not matter if this is resolved or not, it gives companies that may have struggled in the past year an ‘excuse' to lay off or downsize,” Wolters said. “Layoffs are quietly occurring, small in number so far, but will pick up after the first of the year,” he said.

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by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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