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Fiscal cliff impact on comp

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The Institute for Supply Management just reported that manufacturing contracted in November because factory managers are concerned about the so-called fiscal cliff and the potential for tax increases ahead.

ISM's factory index dropped to 49.5 for November from 51.7 in October. That means manufacturing activity shrank to its lowest level since July 2009, which was just after the great recession officially ended.

In contrast, the U.S. Commerce Department also just reported that October construction spending jumped by the most in five months.

Manufacturing and construction are two industries that can generate substantial workers compensation premium volume and claims activity, particularly in contrast to other industries, such as those that mostly hire office workers.

Fortunately, construction's improvement should lead to a healthier property/casualty industry that can generate more insurance-related jobs.

But manufacturing, which had been helping the economy, is now contracting, thanks to this fiscal-cliff problem, which Comp Time has to blame Washington politicians for.

That means fewer job opportunities within the work comp industry.

Perhaps if we collectively heap enough resentment on Washington our lawmakers will get their act together and quit playing chicken with our nation's economic health.