The longer the shutdown continues — it’s entering its fifth week, with no end in sight — the tougher it is for the roughly 800,000 unpaid federal workers and an estimated half a million unpaid federal contractors to make ends meet. Yet those of us who are still collecting wages in the private sector are being hurt too, and to a much greater extent than the Trump administration had previously acknowledged.
This week, Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers estimated that the partial government shutdown was slowing the U.S. economy by about one-eighth of 1% per week. That may not sound like much, but the debilitating effect is twice as great as the White House had previously suggested. Economists had projected growth to be anemic in the first quarter of 2019 even without a shutdown; if the impasse continues for another month or so, the economy could actually start to contract.