The “fiscal cliff” is still two months off, but the scheduled blast of tax hikes and spending cuts is already reverberating through the U.S. economy, hampering growth and, according to a new study, wiping out nearly 1 million jobs this year alone.
The report, scheduled for release Friday by the National Association of Manufacturers, predicts that the economic damage would deepen considerably if Congress fails to avert the cliff, destroying nearly 6 million jobs through 2014 and sending the unemployment rate soaring to near 12 percent.
Across the nation, companies are bracing for the fallout by laying off workers, letting jobs go vacant and postponing major purchases. Commerce Department data released Thursday show business investment stalled in September, as orders for core capital goods such as machinery and equipment plateaued at $60.3 billion.
“The general consensus is things are going to get a lot worse as people expect this fiscal cliff to be on us,” said Thomas Riordan, chief executive of Neenah Enterprises in Appleton, Wis., which makes cast-iron products such as truck axles and manhole covers.