NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 2, 2013

No refuge here

Wildlife sanctuary, state park closed by federal shutdown

(Continued)

Likewise, O’Connor Ives expressed concern for veterans disability benefits. According to the Washington Post, money to pay for veterans disability and pension benefits will run out by the end of October.

Today marks the second day of the shutdown of the federal government, which has shuttered dozens of federal agencies that are considered to be non-essential, and has sent thousands of federal workers home.

According to the Statehouse News Service, economists are reporting that the political deadlock at the federal level is eroding confidence in the state’s economic recovery.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts reported yesterday that its employer confidence index checked in at 51.5 in September and has hovered in the neutral zone for a year.

“We are not seeing the sustained positive employer confidence that is required to spur job creation and bring down the unemployment rate — which has actually ticked up,” Raymond Torto, chair of AIM’s Board of Economic Advisors, said in a statement.

The state’s rising unemployment rate held at 7.2 percent in August, a hair below the nation’s 7.3 percent unemployment rate. An updated national unemployment rate is due out on Friday.

Massachusetts employers are becoming less reactive to “crises” stemming from political deadlock in Washington, D.C., Torto said, noting employers responded negatively to debt ceiling and fiscal cliff developments, but are not reacting similarly to the budget deadlock.

“The present deadlock over the federal budget and debt ceiling is not eliciting a similar response, although economists on both sides of the political divide are using words like ‘catastrophic’ to describe the potential effects of a government shutdown,” he said. “Instead of responses to specific threats — which have not so far become realities — there is a consistently negative assessment of national conditions.”

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