- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 30, 2001

The aftershocks are just beginning for the nation's workers and consumers.
America's now obvious vulnerability to terrorist attack spells change for virtually every industry, analysts say.
We'll pay more to fly. We'll pay less for gasoline. We'll pay about the same for groceries but may not find what we want. And even the way we work will change.
Employers are hiring security guards for the first time or strengthening existing security forces. Some will make disaster-preparedness drills a new office routine.
"This is a classic example of how intertwined all the elements of our complex economy really are," says James L. Brown, director of the Center for Consumer Affairs at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.
Waits will lengthen and airfares will rise as the federal government and the struggling airlines step up airport security and pass on some costs to passengers. Americans will fly less for business and pleasure, aviation analysts say.
A Sept. 18 survey by the National Business Travel Association, a trade group for corporate travel managers, found 58 percent of companies interviewed plan to reduce travel over the next few months. Nineteen percent said they will not cut travel, while 23 percent said they were not sure.
"There is definitely more caution out there, but travel remains an essential part of doing business in the United States," says Marianne McInerney, the association's executive director.
In the meantime, motorists probably will get relief at the gas pump for at least the next few months, says Justin McNaull, public affairs director in the Washington area for the American Automobile Association (AAA).
Tighter security at U.S. seaports is expected to slow shipping, which in turn will result in fewer trucks on the roads to bring products from ports to stores, Mr. McNaull says. As gas supplies rise, prices likely will continue to drop.
The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the United States last week was about $1.44, compared with $1.50 a gallon before Sept. 11. In this area, the average price of regular unleaded last week was $1.45 a gallon, Mr. McNaull says.
"There is a real possibility we will see gas prices drop even further," he says.
Lower gas prices could help keep grocery prices stable, but consumers may not be able to get all their favorite foods at the store because of shipping problems, the Center for Consumer Affairs' Mr. Brown says.
"This isn't the economy of 100 years ago, where most of our food comes from within 25 miles of where we live," Mr. Brown says. "I buy strawberries [in Wisconsin] in the winter. I don't know if I'll still be able to do that."
The worldwide economic downturn already has slowed fuel use by industrial plants, which eventually will cause oil supplies to soar, according to the Natural Gas Supply Association. As a result, consumers will pay less for natural gas to heat their homes this winter.
"We are not worried about prices this winter. We think consumers will love prices," says R. Skip Horvath, the trade group's president.
The American workplace never may be the same again.
The Society for Human Resource Management, a trade group for corporate personnel officials, found that 56 percent of 5,673 members surveyed last week plan tighter security in their offices.
More of the bigger companies will station security guards in offices and install metal detectors in building lobbies, says Terry Corley, an assistant director for Richmond Group International, a workplace security firm in Woodbridge, Va.
"You're going to have some people who won't like that because it will inconvenience them," Mr. Corley says. "But after what's happened, they will have to appreciate the need for more security in the workplace."
More businesses also will adopt crisis-management plans outlining security measures such as how to evacuate buildings, he says. That could mean holding drills at least four times a year to ensure employees know what to do.
Business owners face higher insurance rates, but homeowners and motorists do not, according to the Insurance Information Institute, which is funded by the industry.
Insurance rates for companies often are influenced by Federal Reserve policies and the general business climate, institute spokeswoman Carolyn Graham says. But insurance for consumers is regulated more tightly, she adds, making increases for homeowner, life and automobile policies unlikely.
"We're not like Proctor and Gamble. We can't raise rates just because we think it's a good idea," she says.
It could take years for the aviation industry to recover, analysts say.
Congress approved a $15 billion financial aid package Sept. 21 to rescue the industry from collapse. Included are $5 billion in grants and $10 billion in loan guarantees over nine months.
The airlines lost as much as $300 million a day when the Federal Aviation Administration grounded airplanes for two days. Airlines gradually restored service, but the major ones are operating with an average of 20 percent fewer flights and 60 percent of seats empty.
The industry laid off roughly 100,000 workers, with US Airways Inc. of Arlington announcing 11,000 layoffs.
It is not clear how the airlines will be affected by President Bush's new proposals to set federal standards and procedures for airport screeners as well as help airlines pay for fortified cockpit doors and surveillance cameras.
Before the terrorist strikes, the industry spent $750 million to $1 billion a year on security. Still to be decided is how increased costs will be divided between taxpayers and the airlines.

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