NORFOLK— After months of doom and gloom, there is a glimmer of hope for those in Hampton Roads affected by sequestration.
The Old Dominion University Economic Forecasting Project has revised its calculations for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013, and it now appears the region won’t be losing jobs, but instead will experience a 0.04 percent increase in jobs.
In January, ODU had predicted that Hampton Roads would lose 17,432 jobs because of sequestration, and would lose 12,225 jobs overall.
Now, ODU is predicting Hampton Roads will lose just 4,940 jobs because of sequestration, but because of other economic factors, the region will actually experience an overall gain of 267 jobs.
The changes are a result of improving conditions after Congress passed the $984 billion Continuing Resolution stop-gap federal funding measure back in March.
The individual military branches gained more discretion in budget cuts and spending, and consequently, private shipyards received approval for eleven ship repair contracts.
Newport News Shipbuilding also received funding for a major overhaul of the USS Abraham Lincoln.
Also, anticipated furloughs at the area’s lone publicly-owned shipyard, Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, won’t take place. The 9,000 workers there have been exempted from forced days off without pay because they received a special exemption from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Earlier this year, BAE Systems in Norfolk sent letters to more than 1,600 of its workers, warning that layoffs were possible. Huntington Ingalls President Mike Petters had warned there could be layoffs at Newport News Shipbuilding.
“It appears the worst fears of ours over sequestration are over,” said ODU Economics Professor Vinod Argawal. “I would not say I am modestly upbeat, but what I would say still, is sequestration has a significant impact on the economy, but the negative impacts are not as severe as we originally estimated them to be in March.”