US automakers may find ’08 a difficult time to restructure

Nov 20, 2007 | 01:35 PM | Michael Cowden

U.S. automakers plan big changes in the wake of their new labor deals with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, but 2008 won't be an easy time to make them, analysts at Standard & Poor's said Tuesday.

The U.S. economy has done an "amazing" job in the face of the residential housing crisis and spiraling energy costs, according to David Wyss, chief economist for the New York-based ratings agency. It has grown 2.5 percent over the last four quarters, not much lower than its 3-percent average in recent years, but that growth might not last, with wider economic trends finally showing signs of catching up with the U.S. consumer, he said.

"We think our luck is running out," he said. "So far, the consumer is continuing to spend despite his declining wealth. . . . But we feel that he is finally being squeezed."....

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