Northrop Grumman chief executive Kathy Warden warned that labor shortages and supply chain bottlenecks are threatening the defense industry.
“When I think about the challenges that we all might face going into next year, the labor shortages that we’re seeing are suddenly one that’s top of mind,” Warden told CNBC’s Morgan Brennan during an interview. “We have seen an increase in demand for the kinds of skills that we need to support our work at the same time that we’ve seen labor participation rates go down.”
Warden also expressed concerns about ongoing disruptions to the global supply chain, triggered in part, by the coronavirus pandemic.
Along with labor shortages, Warden said that the defense giant saw shipping delays and chip shortages during its third quarter, in alignment with rising infection rates due to the emergence of the Delta variant. When asked about the Omicron variant, Warden explained that the defense industry will adhere to a playbook developed over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Friday, the Department of Labor revealed that the United States economy added 210,000 jobs in November — falling far short of economists’ predictions. Nevertheless, Biden proclaimed that “our jobs recovery is going very strong.”
“This year, we can reflect on an extraordinary bit of progress. Our economy is markedly stronger than it was a year ago, and today, the incredible news that our unemployment rate has fallen to 4.2%,” Biden said during a press conference. “At this point in the year, we’re looking at the sharpest one-year decline in unemployment ever. Simply put, America is back to work and our jobs recovery is going very strong. Today’s historic drop in unemployment rate includes dramatic improvements for workers who have often seen higher wages and higher levels of unemployment. Excuse me, higher levels of unemployment — they are seeing higher wages.”
“But that’s not just jobs that are up; wages are up,” he continued. “Americans, on average, have more in their pockets today than they did each month since I’ve been in office, than they did last year, after accounting for inflation. Let me repeat that: Even after accounting for rising prices, the typical American family has more money in their pockets than they did last year.”
Last month, Goya Foods CEO argued that the federal government is acting as a “competitor” to private companies by “incentivizing” people to quit their jobs. He told Fox Business anchor Stuart Varney that the firm is experiencing “an unfair competitive disadvantage with big government from one year to the next.”
“Last year with COVID, we were working and we were a capitalist society,” he explained. “When the government stepped in and started printing money and giving it out and telling people, you don’t need a reason to get up in the morning.”
“We are heading for hard times,” he added. “We are dismantling this country. We’re getting soft. We have the government as our biggest competitor. Government needs to get out of the way and let us work.”