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Government Shutdown Taking A Toll On Colorado Economy

Paul Sableman
Creative Commons/Flickr

As the partial government shutdown enters its second week, Colorado’s economy is starting to feel the loss of federal wages. 

Analysis of the shutdown from the Colorado Fiscal Institute notes that about 53,000 federal employees work in the state. Those workers collectively earn roughly $965 million every quarter.

Chris Stiffler is an economist for CFI, which provides fiscal analysis of public policy issues. He tells Colorado News Connection that with consumer spending accounting for nearly 70 percent of the economy, those lost wages will make a difference.

"People are probably going to pull back – they’re not going to go out to lunch in their normal workday at the local restaurant beside the federal center, things like that," Stiffler says. "You do have an impact, at least for a couple weeks, for small business owners or restaurants."

Colorado Springs is the hardest-hit city, Stiffler says, with around 19 percent of its workers receiving a federal paycheck. Over the weekend, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that most Department of Defense civilians will be asked to return to work soon.

In addition to the direct impact on the economy, the government shutdown is also hindering economists trying to keep an eye on trends. That’s because they can’t access data normally provided by agencies like the Census Bureau or the Bureau of Economic Analysis – which are also seeing the majority of their employees furloughed.

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.
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