Furloughs loom for 'non-essential' workers

A job seeker carries a worn briefcase at the Green Jobs and Entrepeneurship Fair in Berkeley, California.

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: So with a government shutdown, a lot of so-called non-essential federal workers will be sent home.

Marketplace's Gregory Warner reports on what that's gonna mean for the jobs picture.


GREGORY WARNER: Am I essential? Government workers are asking themselves this question -- wondering whether their names are written on the top secret list at the Office of Personnel Management in Washington. The list of workers whose jobs will be suspended if the government shuts down.

JUDY CONTI: And for most of them the answer will be yes they will be furloughed.

Judy Conti is with the National Employment Law Project. She says at the minimum, a shutdown would mean some 800,000 government workers losing a few days of salary. Congress has not yet decided if those workers will get back pay as they did during the shutdown of 1995. If a shutdown continues longer than a week, those economic effects could ripple into private industry.

CONTI: The dreaded U word of uncertainty is rearing its ugly head. If there is a shutdown, who knows how long it will go on, and markets are volatile. People invest or don't invest based on how sure they think things are going to be working out.

And private employers watch those markets -- before they make plans to hire.

I'm Gregory Warner, for Marketplace.

About the author

Gregory Warner is a senior reporter covering the economics and business of healthcare for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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