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GM Strike Dents Manufacturing, Risks Overall U.S. Economy

The strike is now in its third week

Don’t look now, but the General Motors strike is threatening to become a significant drag on a U.S. manufacturing economy that really doesn’t need any more baggage right now.

By entering its third week with the two sides declaring they’re still far apart in settling key issues, the walkout by some 46,000 full-time United Auto Workers members at GM factories already has surprised many prognosticators by persisting this long. And the strike has moved into territory that could cause significant harm not only in terms of GM’s profits, and strikers’ pay, but also in retarding the economies of key manufacturing states in the Midwest and even the U.S. economy as a whole.

The first significant UAW walkout since its last strike at GM since 2007, and the longest strike at America’s largest automaker since 1998, the work stoppage already has cost the company more than $100 million in profits to date, according to estimates by Wall Street analysts. Ripple effects have been spreading in terms of shutdowns of GM plants in Canada and Mexico because of parts shortages, idling of some production at major GM suppliers, and swelling inventories of U.S. steel and aluminum.

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