A government shutdown, particularly if it is prolonged, will affect more than just federal workers and their families. The large number of people employed by federal contractors and subcontractors could be at risk of furloughs, delays in pay, and adverse impacts to the companies they work for.
Paul Light of New York University pegged the total number of federal contract employees at 7.6 million in 2005, according to the Congressional Research Service in a 2011 report.
The Congressional Research Service stated in a recent report that the two fiscal year (FY) 1996 shutdowns impacted contractors. It noted the effects on the densest geographical concentration of federal contractors: “Of $18 billion in Washington, DC, area contracts, $3.7 billion (over 20%) reportedly were affected adversely by the funding lapse… employees of federal contractors reportedly were furloughed without pay.”
If a shutdown lasts much more than a handful of days, the impacts will likely be much greater on contractors this time around.
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