By Gabriel Debenedetti
NEW YORK Nov 19 The U.S. "fiscal cliff" could
trigger a recession and push the unemployment rate above 10
percent, ratings agency Fitch said on Monday.
Fitch said it did not expect Congress to allow the tax hikes
and spending cuts, which have been dubbed the fiscal cliff, to
take place, given the "far-reaching effects."
The projected rise in the unemployment rate to exceed 10
percent compares with a 7.9 percent jobless rate in October.
The fiscal cliff would "dramatically affect demand" for
transportation assets, Fitch said.
In such an event, the agency said it expected the impact on
airport traffic volume to range from flat to a 5 percent decline
from current levels, and traffic volume on road, tunnel and
bridge facilities to see smaller declines than they did in the
Fitch said transportation levels would fall because demand
tends to rise and fall with gross domestic product and
unemployment levels. It also said various types of airports
would be hit differently. Airports near leisure destinations
would fare worse in a second recession.
Fitch forecast that with the fiscal cliff, import volumes
would fall along with a decline in consumer confidence and
spending, though not as far as in 2008-2009.