At a press conference held yesterday afternoon at the National Safety Congress and Expo in Orlando, Mark Levy, president of Honeywell’s Life Safety Division, home of Honeywell Safety Products (including Salisbury, BW Technology, Sperian, and Norcross brands) said in response to a question that the U.S. economy maybe has recovered 50% from the depths of the Great Recession of just a few years ago.
Levy said his company had seen a general slowdown in orders and sales since June, 2012. He said most major corporations have had similar experiences, and are now in a “hold” mode. For a number of firms, that means a focus on operations efficiency and cost containment.
Uncertainty about the future is a major reason corporations, inside and outside the safety market, are currently cautious. In the U.S., there is the very uncertain outcome of the presidential election in a mere few weeks. And there is fear and uncertainty about Congress’s willingness to face down the so-called “financial cliff” of decisions regarding very difficult federal budget cuts come January, 2013, said Levy. He said it now appears Congress may put off action until March or the spring.
The slowdown in China’s once surging economy is another reason for corporate caution, as is the financial instability of several European Union countries, such as Greece and Spain.
David M. Cole, chairman and CEO of Honeywell, who has been deeply involved as a corporate leader in discussions and possible plans to deal with the U.S. near-term financial problems, has been a vocal critic of the Washington gridlock that has held up any real progress in moving back from the “cliff” to safer, more stable ground, said Levy.
Honeywell is a Fortune 100 company with sales of $36.5 billion in 2011 across all segments of its business, and has 132,000 employees worldwide.