Before Christmas, the partial government shutdown was estimated to cost the federal government $52.5 million per day and affect about 15 percent of federal workers. By comparison, the 2013 shutdown which lasted 16 days and affected about 40 percent of the workforce, cost the government an estimated $2.5 billion.
With 34 days on the books this year’s budget stalemate is on track to meet that number. It’s far exceeded the 1995-1996 shutdown to become the longest is history.
The 2013 shutdown also wasted an estimated $600 million in lost productivity from civilian furloughs at the Defense Department. Some feds are now not even getting liquidated damages from that shutdown, which the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled they were owed for untimely compensation of their work — in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act — because this shutdown is holding up payments.
And just as in 2013, OMB does not have an estimate for this shutdown’s cost to employee morale.
Using data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Maryland-based demographics and income research firm Sentier Research released a report attempting to calculate the lost wages of furloughed workers. The report is based on a random sub-sample of 833,000 full-time “federal government employees,” not including postal workers or active-duty members of the armed forces, counted in 2017, the most recent available data. Sentier’s Gordon Green said it was impossible to determine exactly how many people may have been called back to work without pay, however.