Business

Federal budget cuts take toll on workers, economy

Marla Levenson, a military contracting officer, said a 20 percent pay cut has been a struggle.
Marla Levenson, a military contracting officer, said a 20 percent pay cut has been a struggle.Credit: Jessica Rinaldi for The Boston Globe

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The automatic budget cuts known as sequestration are forcing thousands of federal workers in Massachusetts to take unpaid furloughs, curtailing services, cutting incomes, and stifling economic growth and job creation in the state.

From military installations to federal courthouses, employees are losing as much as 30 percent of their salaries to comply with a law aimed at reducing the federal government deficit. They include hundreds of engineers and civilian employees at the Army’s Natick laboratories, scores of Internal Revenue Service employees, and thousands of civilian workers at Hanscom Air Force Base, many of whom work on important national security programs.

The furloughs are shrinking paychecks at time when the lackluster economy needs consumers to spend. Job growth in Massachusetts has slowed significantly in recent months.

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