Shutdown could cost jobs down the line, report says

October 3, 2013
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The economic impacts of a government shutdown are likely to vary depending on geographic location, how many federal employees live in a given area, and how long the partial halt in operations lasts, according to one economist.

Ball State University economist Michael J. Hicks (no relation to the author of this article) made those conclusions based on an analysis of the unemployment rates and employment levels in the nation’s capital during the 11 shutdowns that occurred since 1976.

Hicks found that the impacts have not been immediate, but that “employment within Washington, D.C. is negatively affected” within two months of a lapse in appropriations. His models show a reduction of roughly .02 percent in employment for each day of a shutdown for the Beltway.

The economic impacts of government closures are also “concentrated in places where employment is dominated by federal workers,” Hicks said. Perhaps surprisingly, the D.C. area does not have the highest concentration of such employees in the United States.

The map below shows the nation’s densest regions of federal employment, to give readers a sense of other parts of the nation that are hit hardest by the shutdown.

The distinction for highest percentage of federal employees belongs to Colorado Springs, which has a large number of military personnel — such employees are exempt from shutdown furloughs. In that city, 18 percent of workers hold jobs with the federal government.

Here are the top cities:

1. Colorado Springs:18.8%

2. Virginia Beach-N.C.:17.2%

3. Honolulu:17.2%

4. D.C. region:14.3%

5. El Paso:13.6%

6. Ogden-Clearfield, Utah:11.5%

7. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos:10.9%

8. Augusta, Ga.-S.C.: 9.1%

9. San Antonio: 7.8%

10. Charleston S.C.: 7.6%

To connect with Josh Hicks, follow his Twitter feed or e-mail  josh.hicks@washpost.comFor more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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