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Policy

Report Details Costs Of Federal Shutdown

by Andrea Widener
November 18, 2013 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 91, ISSUE 46

The 16-day government shutdown in October furloughed federal employees for a collective 6.6 million workdays at a cost of $2.5 billion in pay and benefits, according to the White House Office of Management & Budget. An OMB report outlines the effects both economy-wide and at specific agencies. For example, FDA delayed 355 food safety inspections, and EPA halted inspections of 1,200 sites, including hazardous waste and chemical facilities. Science agencies such as NSF and NIST sent home most of their employees, including four of the five federal Nobel Prize winners. The shutdown is certain to have hurt the federal workforce, says OMB Director Sylvia M. Burwell. “The uncertainty and the strain are things that … we will see over time with regard to issues of both retention and recruitment.”

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