States and Agencies Most Affected by Federal Shutdown

Federal workers sent home this week aren't limited to the Washington, D.C., region. View states and agencies most affected by the shutdown.
by | October 3, 2013

The ramifications of the federal shutdown this week have been far-reaching, from Air Force bases along the west coast to tens of thousands of government workers in the New York City metro area.

READ: Full coverage of the federal shutdown's impact on states and localities.

While fewer than half of federal employees are furloughed, those staying home still represent a significant share of the workforce. By most estimates, more than 800,000 federal employees aren’t going to earn a paycheck this week.

For some select areas with large concentrations of federal workers, the consequences of a partial government shutdown could soon begin to take a serious economic toll.

Employment data provides a rough tally of workers in each state and metro area. But numbers of workers actually affected varies significantly from agency to agency, with many job classifications exempt from furloughs.

Those excluded from furloughs include, for example, most working in the Department of Veterans Affairs and Justice Department. The Postal Service, an independent federal agency, is also exempt.

Governing reviewed contingency plans (posted by the White House here) and U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) agency employment data last updated in March. The following is a summary of agencies with the most furloughed employees and states likely to be hardest hit, accordingly:

Department of Commerce: More than 40,000 workers have been furloughed. About half of the agency’s workers report to offices in Maryland and Virginia.

Department of Defense: President Obama signed a bill Monday that would allow active-service members, along with about half of Defense Department civilian workers, to continue receiving paychecks. This still leaves approximately 400,000 civilians who are affected by the lapse in funding.

Nearly 24,000 civilian employees work in Virginia, OPM data shows. Another 9,400 were stationed in Ohio, along with about 8,500 in both Pennsylvania and Maryland earlier this year.

Department of Health and Human Services: HHS’ contingency plan calls for furloughing 40,512 staff – slightly more than half of its workforce. Most of those working in grant-making and “employee-intensive” agencies, such as the Administration for Children and Families, have been furloughed.

Nearly half of HHS workers – about 39,000 – report to offices in Maryland.

Department of the Interior: The agency’s contingency plan indicates 58,541 of its 72,562 employees would face furloughs this week. Officials shuttered National Parks on Tuesday, while most activities performed by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Geological Survey were also suspended.

Nearly 6,800 workers are stationed in California, the most of any state, according to OPM data. Other states with large numbers of agency personnel include Colorado (6,681), Arizona (4,453) and New Mexico (4,314).

Department of the Treasury: Most Treasury employees work for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which suspended non-automated tax collection and processing activities, but will continue operations deemed necessary for protecting government property, according to the agency’s contingency plan. In all, the shutdown affects about 85,700 IRS employees, accounting for more than 90 percent of the workforce.

READ: More Management news

IRS personnel are fairly evenly spread across the country, with more workers stationed in larger states. OPM data indicates there were 12,764 workers employed in California, 11,875 in Texas and another 9,391 in the District of Columbia.

NASA: NASA has halted the vast majority of its research efforts, with only 549 of 18,250 workers spared from furloughs. Texas and Maryland are each home to about 3,000 NASA employees.

Some local economies in these states can expect to incur a sizable blow if the shutdown drags on for an extended period of time. One economist told the Washington Post that the D.C. region could lose $200 million each day, not counting lost tourist dollars.

Some restaurants and bars in Washington and other areas are responding by offering federal employees discounts or free drinks while they’re furloughed.

Throughout the mid-Atlantic region, unemployment offices have already reported a spike in applications. Officials in Maryland told CNN that the state, which typically processes between 2,500 and 3,500 unemployment applications from federal workers annually, received 4,000 on Tuesday. Unemployment offices in the District of Columbia and Virginia similarly reported upticks in applications.

Federal Workforce Data

The map below shows states where federal employees account for the highest share of total nonfarm employment. About 5.6 of all workers in Hawaii are federal employees, followed by Maryland (5.5 percent) and Virginia (4.6 percent).

Choose a state in the menu to view its federal employment totals for cabinet-level and select independent agencies.

Total federal employment, shown in the map, represents Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates for all civilians and active-duty personnel. Civilian agency totals are actual figures reported by OPM, current as of March, and exclude some agencies. Active-duty personnel data was provided by the Defense Manpower Data Center and is current as of Aug. 30, 2013.

UPDATE: We've added another table showing each state's active-duty military service members, although these individuals are exempt from the federal furloughs.

A direct link to the above database is available here.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.

More from By the Numbers