Members of the American Federation of Government Employees and National Treasury Employees Union march past the Capitol following a rally to protest the government shutdown on Oct. 4. (Mike Morones/Staff)
Federal agencies varied dramatically in the proportion of their workforces furloughed during last month’s partial government shutdown, a new compilation indicates.
More than 95 percent of the Veterans Affairs Department’s 332,000 employees kept working during at least part of the 16-day shutdown, for example, while about 84 percent of the Justice Department’s lawyers, corrections officers and other staff stayed on the job, according to the numbers assembled on the website Masters-in-accounting.org.
At NASA, by contrast, only about 3 percent of employees continued to work; the ratio was not much higher at the Housing and Urban Development Department, the Education Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, the figures show.
The numbers are drawn from data compiled by media outlets, including Federal Times’ sister publication, USA Today, at the start of the shutdown and don’t reflect later developments.
Although several hundred thousand Defense Department employees were initially furloughed, most were brought back to work within less than a week following passage of the Pay Our Military Act, which gave Pentagon leaders more latitude to recall workers deemed necessary to support the uniformed military.
In all, about 850,000 federal employees — or about 40 percent of the total — were furloughed at some point during the shutdown, the Office of Management and Budget reported earlier this month. Those that continued to work did so either because they were needed to protect life, property or perform some other legally “excepted” function or because their agencies had the money to pay their salaries and expenses. As part of the deal that ended the shutdown, Congress and the White House also agreed to back pay for furloughed workers. The price to taxpayers in lost productivity was about $2 billion, OMB estimated.
Masters-in-accounting.org., which ranks graduate degree programs in the accounting field, also publishes articles and infographics related to finance and the economy, Content Manager Madeline Fox said in an email.