Economy
3:51 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Thousands of Civilian Workers at Ft. Knox Would be Affected by Sequester

About 7,000 civilian workers at Fort Knox will be affected if federal cuts in defense spending take effect next Friday.

The News-Enterprise reports the workers would be furloughed one day each week for up to 22 weeks and lose about 20 percent of their pay.

Derek Avey, a civilian Fort Knox Garrison employee, says his family has made plans just in case.

"We'll make car payments and mortgage payments and those things, but going out to eat or catching a movie we may not do as often as we used to," the Elizabethtown resident said.

Brad Richardson, executive director of Hardin County Chamber of Commerce, said he expects many families to cut back on discretionary spending if cuts are implemented.

"No doubt about it, if it is implemented, it will have an impact," Richardson said.

Fort Knox is the largest employer in the area. Akebono is the largest industrial employer with 1,300 workers at its Hardin County plant, according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. Other large employers include Hardin Memorial Health with about 2,000 full-time workers and Hardin County Schools with about 2,600 employees.

Fort Knox spokesman Kyle Hodges says jobs on post also usually pay higher. The average wage of a civilian worker at Fort Knox is about $53,000, while the median household income is $47,000, according to Census data.

"That's a high number," Richardson said of civilian employee salaries. "But nonetheless, 20 percent of anybody's wage is going to impact their spending habits."

Defense Department officials have said employees would receive 30 days' notice before furloughs begin, possibly in late April.

Richardson said despite the possible cuts the long term outlook for Fort Knox is good.

Avey is also keeping a positive outlook on the situation.

"We'll do our part to help the Army," he said. "We'll make our mission."