Manufacturing work in the shutdown: 'Like being held hostage'

A construction worker holds a stop sign near the Washington Monument on August 23, 2012 in Washington.

The government shutdown isn't just impacting federal workers. Workers in all sorts of different industries are feeling the effects of the gridlock in Washington. 

Manufacturing saw a bit of recovery in 2012, but that soon stagnated. Now they have to worry about the government shutdown. Lisa Goldenberg, president of Delaware Steel Company in Pennsylvania and president of the Association of Steel Distributors, says the shutdown is making a slow system even slower. Orders that should have been completed, get halted and things will take a while to get back to speed even when the government comes back to action. 

"You can't make up for lost time, it sounds so trite, but it's very, very true," she says. 

She says workers are frustrated that the problems in Washington are affecting their work, even though it has nothing to do with the work they're doing. 

"They're angry," Goldenberg says. "They don't know how to affect change in their day-to-day lives. It's like being held hostage to be perfectly honest. That's how it feels to me and that's what my employees are saying. It's a hostage crisis, it's not a government shutdown."

All week long, we will be looking into the uncertainty felt by people outside of the beltway about the shutdown and debt ceiling. Visit again later in the week to hear and read about other industries.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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