Jan 19, 2018

Report: Shutdown could cost U.S. economy $6.5 billion a week

Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

A government shutdown will reduce U.S. GDP in the first quarter of 2018 by upwards of 0.2%—or $6.5 billion—each week it continues, according to Beth Ann Bovino, chief U.S. economist for S&P Global Ratings.

Why it's so costly: Roughly half of the hit results from the lost production of non-essential government workers.

  • After previous shutdowns, Congress has agreed to repay furloughed workers for their lost wages, but the economy did not regain their lost productivity since they were barred from working while the government was closed.

Indirect costs: A shutdown will affect more than just government employees and agencies, Bovino warns.

  • Private contractors who rely on government spending will also be affected. Though they will eventually recover that lost business, they "are going to push off some of their investment ideas or investment plans until they get more certainty," she says.
  • According to a National Association of Government Contractors survey following the 2013 shutdown, 29% of such companies delayed hiring as a result, and it negatively affected 58% of them.
  • Bovino said the closing of national parks and monuments hurts local businesses that rely on tourist traffic.

A higher deficit: Government shutdowns make running the government more expensive. The Office of Management and Budget estimates that the 2013 shutdown raised the budget deficit by at least $2 billion, due to the added costs of stopping and starting government programs.

Go deeper

New Zealand sets sights on coronavirus elimination after 2 weeks of lockdown

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gives a coronavirus media update at the New Zealand Parliament. Photo: Mark Mitchell - Pool/Getty Images

New Zealand has flattened the curve of novel coronavirus cases after two weeks of lockdown and the next phase is to "squash it," professor Shaun Hendy, who heads a scientific body advising the government on COVID-19, told Axios.

Why it matters: Te Pūnaha Matatini, the Center of Research Excellence hosted by the University of Auckland of which Hendy is director, released research Thursday showing there could've been hundreds more Covid-19 cases were it not for the lockdown — and there's a good chance the strict measures will help stamp out the virus.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 16 mins ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 14,800

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 2,000 people for the second day in a row, and it's infected more than 432,000 others, per Johns Hopkins data.

Where it stands: More than 14,800 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. — including over 4,500 in New York. The state's death toll surged to its highest one-day total on Wednesday — beating the previous day's record. 779 people died in New York in 24 hours. The state has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 50 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 1,484,811 — Total deaths: 88,538 — Total recoveries: 329,876Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 432,132 — Total deaths: 14,817 — Total recoveries: 23,906Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Top Trump administration officials had been developing a plan to give cloth masks to huge numbers of Americans, but the idea lost traction amid heavy internal skepticism.
  4. States latest: New York has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe. Chicago's Cook County jail is largest-known source of coronavirus in U.S.
  5. Business: One-third of U.S. jobs are at risk of disappearing, mostly affecting low-income workers.
  6. World: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to put politics aside "if you don’t want to have many more body bags.”
  7. Environment: COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.
  8. Tech: A new report recommends stimulus spending to help close the digital divide revealed by social distancing.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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