Defense cuts could cost Virginia 115,000 jobs, trade group says

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Across-the-board defense cuts scheduled to begin next year could cost Virginia 115,000 jobs, according to the Virginia Manufacturers Association.

The VMA today released Virginia figures from a report by by the National Association of Manufacturers on the effects of defense cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011.

The law, passed by Congress during the debt ceiling crisis last year, calls for $1.2 trillion in automatic federal budget cuts over 10 years starting next year. The cuts would be evenly split between domestic and defense spending.

The automatic cuts, known as sequestration, are scheduled to take effect because a bi-partisan congressional “super committee” appointed to reduce the federal deficit failed to come to an agreement.

Overall, the National Association of Manufacturers predicts the automatic cuts will eliminate more than 1 million jobs nationwide, including 130,000 manufacturing jobs, by 2014.

Virginia would lose 115,000 jobs, according to the report, the second highest loss of any state.

In a statement, VMA President and CEO Brett Vassey said defense cuts will be felt deeply across the commonwealth, not just in Northern Virginia and Hampton where many defense contractors are based. 

“It’s not just the impact on the Tier 1 defense contractors; it’s the ‘rolling boulder’ down through the Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers as well as the chilling economic effects on these companies and the communities in which they operate that is potentially devastating - we are sacrificing industrial capacity due to an inability to prioritize federal spending,” he said.

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