Here’s the price tag for the first government shutdown in 17 years: about $1.6 billion a week, $300 million a day, or $12.5 million an hour.
That estimate, from economic consulting firm IHS Global Insight, covers just the cost in work and services the government is unable to perform as it furloughs 800,000 federal workers. According to IHS, pay for federal employees is considered part of the Gross Domestic Product, which is the total value of all goods and services produced in the nation each year. So no pay for the workers means no contribution to U.S. economic output.
The furloughed workers likely will get back pay when they return to work, as they did the last time Washington shut down. But for now, they are not performing the government’s work, except for essential personnel.
“Although $300 million per day sounds like a big number, it is only a couple of thousandths of a percent of the total GDP,” of about $16 trillion.