ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (AP) — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is warning Congress that if lawmakers fail to agree on debt-ceiling talks and trigger $1 trillion in Pentagon budget cuts, they could add 1 percent to the nation's jobless rate.
Pentagon press secretary George Little says Panetta has relayed those numbers to lawmakers in person and in calls this week.
Lilttle says the defense industrial base provides 3.8 million private sector jobs. The increase in the unemployment rate would include government, military and private sector jobs.
The Pentagon must slash more than $400 billion in spending under the current deficit-reduction plan.
If the deficit-cutting supercommittee can't agree on reductions by Nov. 23, or if Congress rejects its plan, automatic cuts of $1.2 trillion would hit the government accounts, with half coming from defense spending.