News / Economy

Uncertainty in Washington Keeps Businesses From Hiring

President Barack Obama answers questions about the ongoing budget negotiations during a press conference in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House, in Washington, DC, July 15, 2011
President Barack Obama answers questions about the ongoing budget negotiations during a press conference in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House, in Washington, DC, July 15, 2011

Multimedia

Jeff Swicord

As lawmakers in the United States argue over the nation's debt ceiling and spar over who is responsible for the nation's 9.2 percent unemployment rate, many business owners look on in disbelief. They are uncertain about the state of the economy, and are looking for signs of confidence in Washington that it is safe to begin hiring.

At Carlos Interiors in Crofton, Maryland, company owner Cristina Uria sees a glimmer of hope. Business is up 15 percent from last year.

In 2008, when the recession began, Uria's business dropped 60 percent. Like many small business owners, she had to make  painful decisions in order to remain open.

“We had to let go probably about four people," said Uria. "During this recession, companies have needed to become leaner and meaner.  Any extra fat that we had, and extra expenses, we needed to cut them off.”

Uria said there were months when no one walked through the door at her design center. With more than 25 years in business, it was her established clients that kept her afloat. Even though business is picking up, she said she is not ready to hire new employees.

“The government in Washington is not giving us the right signals,” she said.

Uria cites the long, drawn out negotiations between the White House and Congress over raising the debt ceiling as an example. She said rhetoric on both sides adds to the confusion.

“The House cannot pass a bill that raises taxes on job creators,” said Speaker of the House John Boehner.

“I will not sign a 30-day or a 60-day or a 90-day extension," said President Barack Obama. "It is not going to get easier; it is going to get harder. So, we might as well do it now.”

Many economists agree that businesses need a clearer picture of the economy before they will begin hiring again. Ayman El Tarabishy, who  teaches economics at George Washington University, said, "Even President Obama coming out and saying you need to raise taxes. It’s not that they [business owners] don’t understand it, they do understand it. But what they don’t understand is the implications from a bottom line because they are still fighting it out. And until this settles down, until they see a clear path forward, they are going to wait.”

Uria said one of the things businesses have learned over the last two years is that they can survive without the workers they lost, giving them less incentive to hire.

“I think most of us have learned that we can stay still with less than what we had before," she said  "Of course, if the economy gets to the point to where it was before, I will have to have more people to handle the amount of work I have."

Even then, she said any new workers would not be full-time employees. She said the key is confidence. Confidence the economy is growing. Confidence that consumers are willing to spend. And confidence that politicians in Washington will find the right answers to revive the nation's economy.

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7768
JPY
USD
108.84
GBP
USD
0.6124
CAD
USD
1.0999
INR
USD
61.042

Rates may not be current.