How the Shutdown Affects Federal Employment in Each State

About 800,000 federal employees are working without pay or will be furloughed. As the shutdown drags on, the number is expected to rise.
by | January 4, 2019 AT 4:00 AM
A closed sign is displayed at The National Archives entrance in Washington, D.C., as a partial government shutdown stretches into its third week. (AP/Jose Luis Magana)

As the partial federal government shutdown enters its third week, its effects on public-sector employment are far-reaching across the country.

Roughly 420,000 federal personnel are working without pay, and the Senate Appropriations Committee estimated that another 380,000 would be furloughed. While many of these jobs are concentrated around the Washington, D.C., metro area, nearly every state has a least a few thousand affected employees. And numbers are expected to gradually rise as the shutdown drags on.

For a look at impacted federal employment in each state, Governing compiled the latest data from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Data current as of June reflect all civilian workers, excluding those who work for the Postal Service and a limited number of smaller agencies.

 

Total Federal Employment by State

Among all agencies, including those untouched by the shutdown, the most employees -- nearly 144,000 -- worked in California, followed by the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland.

 

 
SOURCE: Governing calculations of June 2018 OPM civilian employment data, excluding USPS
 

Most of these civilian employees, along with all military (which accounts for a major portion of federal employment), are still on the job. That’s because appropriations bills covering several agencies have already been signed. They include funding for the departments of Education, Energy, Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Veterans Affairs, among others. Several independent agencies not reliant on federal funding are also unscathed, such as the Postal Service and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Therefore, most of the government remains open. For this reason, the current shutdown isn’t quite as pervasive as prior budget stalemates.

The largest of the remaining agencies not yet funded include the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior and Transportation. In these and other agencies, a sizable share of employees are furloughed or working without pay.

 

Employment in States Most Affected by the Shutdown

Using OPM data, we subtracted state-level employment figures for 29 agencies with enacted fiscal 2019 appropriations from remaining total civilian personnel to determine each state’s approximate number of unfunded agency employees. More than half of federal civilian personnel work for unfunded agencies in the District of Columbia, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. In 10 other states, this share is less than one-fifth of civilian employees.

The numbers offer an approximation of the severity of the partial shutdown, but they don’t reflect actual numbers of employees furloughed or working without pay. That's because federal law allows for some activities to continue despite a lapse in funding, such as jobs protecting people or property. Within each agency, other positions aren’t dependent on annually appropriated funds. For these reasons, it’s unknown exactly how many employees aren’t working in each state.

Here are the states with the highest number of employees working in unfunded federal agencies.

District of Columbia: 102,183 employees in agencies without appropriations

As one would expect, the consequences of the partial shutdown are felt the most in Washington, D.C. While only a small segment of federal employees work there, they’re largely employed in agencies with funding lapses. About 32,000 Homeland Security and Justice department employees are stationed in D.C., many of whom are continuing to report to work without pay. State Department, Securities and Exchange Commission and Smithsonian Institution employees are also heavily concentrated in the District, accounting for more than half the workforce for those agencies.

California: 41,478 employees in agencies without appropriations

Outside of D.C., more employees in affected agencies are based out of California than any other state. California includes many military bases, and those employees are continuing to receive paychecks. But the state is also home to nearly 10,000 employees of the Department of Agriculture, which hasn’t secured funding. The state’s federal workforce also includes approximately 7,600 Treasury Department employees and nearly 6,800 in the Department of the Interior.

Texas: 35,694 employees in agencies without appropriations

With its vast size, Texas accounts for at least a few thousand workers in nearly every major federal agency. Nearly 9,000 Treasury Department employees are stationed there, along with about 5,700 Homeland Security employees and 4,300 in the Department of Transportation. Smaller agencies with particularly high concentrations of Texas-based employees include NASA and the Small Business Administration.

Virginia: 34,344 employees in agencies without appropriations.

About a quarter of Virginia’s federal civilians work in agencies subject to the partial shutdown. Nearly 9,000 work in the Patent and Trademark Office, while another approximately 9,000 are employed with TSA, FEMA and other Department of Homeland Security agencies.

Maryland: 28,266 employees in agencies without appropriations

Many federal agencies maintain a significant presence in Maryland. The Census Bureau employs about 4,600 workers in the state, with another 3,000 in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and 2,800 in the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Another approximately 4,000 Maryland-based employees work for the Internal Revenue Service, one of the partial shutdown’s hardest-hit agencies.

 
State Employment in Agencies Without Appropriations Agencies With Enacted Appropriations Unfunded Agencies % of Employment
California 41,478 102,223 28.9%
District Of Columbia 102,183 39,331 72.2%
Virginia 34,344 101,312 25.3%
Maryland 28,266 100,968 21.9%
Texas 35,694 80,997 30.6%
Florida 15,992 63,779 20.0%
Georgia 15,735 56,344 21.8%
Pennsylvania 14,024 45,837 23.4%
Washington 11,248 43,670 20.5%
New York 16,657 35,019 32.2%
Ohio 7,171 42,816 14.3%
North Carolina 7,678 36,514 17.4%
Illinois 9,703 31,152 23.7%
Oklahoma 6,430 32,351 16.6%
Alabama 5,494 32,490 14.5%
Colorado 15,818 21,387 42.5%
Missouri 14,048 21,501 39.5%
Arizona 9,539 23,052 29.3%
Utah 9,998 19,186 34.3%
Tennessee 7,088 19,172 27.0%
Michigan 5,730 20,169 22.1%
Massachusetts 7,957 16,730 32.2%
Indiana 5,307 18,291 22.5%
Kentucky 6,453 16,042 28.7%
Hawaii 2,741 19,708 12.2%
New Mexico 7,434 14,443 34.0%
South Carolina 3,681 17,559 17.3%
New Jersey 5,487 15,138 26.6%
Oregon 9,558 10,850 46.8%
Louisiana 6,000 12,772 32.0%
Mississippi 4,030 13,842 22.5%
Minnesota 5,470 11,378 32.5%
Kansas 3,632 12,545 22.5%
Wisconsin 3,203 12,508 20.4%
West Virginia 6,212 8,960 40.9%
Arkansas 3,073 10,076 23.4%
Nevada 3,097 8,457 26.8%
Alaska 5,624 5,842 49.0%
Montana 6,327 4,582 58.0%
Maine 1,195 9,637 11.0%
Idaho 5,969 4,237 58.5%
Nebraska 2,509 7,340 25.5%
Iowa 2,731 6,032 31.2%
South Dakota 2,810 5,906 32.2%
Connecticut 1,481 6,595 18.3%
Rhode Island 554 6,842 7.5%
Wyoming 3,560 3,103 53.4%
North Dakota 1,966 3,632 35.1%
New Hampshire 2,055 2,394 46.2%
Vermont 1,521 1,857 45.0%
Delaware 529 2,564 17.1%
 

Staffing for Agencies Without Enacted Appropriations

Each federal agency maintains its own contingency plan outlining how many workers are exempted from furloughs or unpaid work. Some agencies are funding positions using remaining funds from the previous fiscal year. But others, including the Department of Agriculture, have said they’ll need to furlough more workers as the shutdown persists.

Contingency plans identified the following percentages of employees in larger agencies to incur effects of funding lapses:

 

 

Data and Methodology

Data from the Office of Personnel Management, current as of June 2018, reflect numbers of civilian employees in all federal agencies, with the exceptions of the Postal Service and several small agencies. As stated above, not all employees in agencies without appropriations are going without pay as some agencies are utilizing funding from the prior fiscal year, while other positions within agencies might rely on other sources of funding. Numbers represent workers stationed in each state, not how many necessarily reside there. Employment figures for "Agencies With Enacted Appropriations" inclue the following: Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of The Army, Department of The Navy, Department of The Air Force, Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Energy, Department of Labor, Department of Education, Bureau of Reclamation, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, National Labor Relations Board, American Battle Monuments Commission, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Appalachian Regional Commission, Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, Northern Border Regional Commission, Denali Commission, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, Corporation For National and Community Service, National Council On Disability, Medicaid and Chip Payment and Access Commission, Railroad Retirement Board, Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, Social Security Administration, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Employment figures for "Agencies Without Enacted Appropriations" represent an estimated total calculated by subtracting employment counts for the 29 above agencies with appropriated funding from total civilian employment. Data do not reflect active duty military and a few other agencies not reporting to OPM.