Shutdown Having Impact on Users

Results from our latest survey indicate that the shutdown is having a direct and noticeable impact on readers.

Results from our latest survey indicate that the shutdown is having a direct and noticeable impact on readers.

Of the almost 3,500 responses, 60% said they have been furloughed by the shutdown. 44% of respondents said the furlough is having somewhat of a financial impact and 39% said it is having a significant financial impact.

For those struggling the most with the situation, their responses indicated a varying number of approaches being taken to secure extra income:

  • Filing for unemployment and/or food stamps
  • Looking for another job
  • Taking out a loan
  • Reducing discretionary spending
  • Garage sales
  • Selling shares of stock/mutual funds
  • Selling items on Craigslist/Ebay
  • Performing day labor/odd jobs
  • Living off of emergency funds
  • Not eating out

How are furloughed federal employees spending their free time? Responses to this varied widely. Here are a few examples:

  • Watching the news
  • Working around the house
  • Cleaning/errands
  • Working (employees who are’t furloughed)
  • Part-time work/odd jobs
  • Sports/recreation/hobbies/exercise/gym
  • Relaxing/sleeping
  • Drinking/recreational drugs
  • Volunteering/community service/elder care
  • Visiting family
  • Worrying/praying
  • Traveling/vacation
  • Studying/exam certifications
  • Working on resumes

The overwhelming majority of respondents said they believe federal employees should receive retroactive pay as has been proposed in Congress. 83% said they think federal workers who are furloughed by the shutdown should get back pay.

As to the shutdown itself, most respondents (61%) felt that it would be resolved by the upcoming debt ceiling deadline. 10% said it would be resolved within the next week, 22% said around the end of the year, and 7% said sometime next year.

Most respondents placed blame for the shutdown on all key lawmakers (the president, Republicans and Democrats). 41% said all were to blame, 17% put most of the blame on the president, 4% on Democrats, and 38% said Republicans deserved most of the blame.

Frustration with the shutdown was the key theme expressed through the survey results. Below is a sampling of comments provided by survey respondents:

  • All of congress including the president should be fired!
  • Republicans created this situation by holding the jobs of federal workers hostage to get concessions they want. There is no other reason for the shut down
  • The Tea Party deserves the blame for having the agenda to abolish the Affordable Health Care. Open the goverment and negotiate later.
  • I am excepted and working without pay. I will be fully furloughed for five days the first full week of November. Approximately half of my office is fee funded and unaffected. It is frustrating because people in my relatively small office seem to be in denial. This is compounded by the fact that we are a busy law enforcement office. We will see how long this denial lasts once the missing pay starts to hit home. I have a fairly large savings, so I can make it through this, but it is a drain on morale for me.
  • This is a pity. I am seriously comtemplating throwing in the towel. 3 years of no raises, health care costs increasing, sequestration and 5 days of lost pay. enough is enough
  • I think this shutdown will push many senior employees into retirement. There is a total disregard for federal employees by both parties in Congress.
  • Really shut it down!!! Everything, no Federal employee reports for duty. Shutdown wouldn’t last more than 1 day then. Then the American Public might actually appreciate how many services we provide!
  • I truly feel for the furloughed federal empolyees, but I would prefer that the government not pay people to stay home. Free vacation in the middle of talks about how bad the federal budget is, sounds absurd. To illustrate: Let’s assume a low $25 per manhour. 800,000 empolyees furloiughed times two weeks (80 hours) = $1.6 Billion paid out with nothing produced. I do not know what the actual manhours are, or how long this will last, but I am willing to bet average pay is higher than $25 per hour.
  • So thoroughly disgusted with both political parties that I’m not sure who’ll I’ll vote for in the next election cycle. I think this could drag out until November.
  • If we are furloughed with no pay or receiving no retroactive pay then we should be allowed to work part-time.
  • The President needs to tell members of Congress that they won’t get paid until a decision is made.
  • A majority of Americans DON’T want Obamacare, so you can’t fault the Republicans for continuing to try to repeal it. This doesn’t appear to be the best way of going about it, however.
  • All parties involved should immediately lose thier positions as a result of the shutdown and a special election should be held so the people colud elect new representatives who can fund the government. furthermore all taxpayers should be prorated for the taxes paid durning the government shutdown, no reason to pay for what we don’t have.
  • It is ridiculous that Congress can’t do their jobs while everyone else is working. I am not against smart reductions in government, but the current Congress has proven that they are not capable of “smart” decisions. They can only act in crisis mode, even if they have to create one.
  • Only employees deemed essential and working should be paid.
  • We are in escrow buying a home and it has been postponed due to the government shutdown. The loan will not be funded until I am back working for the FAA. It is very stressful for myself and my wife.
  • I am getting ready to start calling the banks who I have loans/payments due to. If they don’t give some kind of releive or delay, my family and I will have no money to live on in about two weeks.
  • I have never been so disgusted and ashamed of my government.

Thanks to our readers who took the time to share their experiences in the survey. We will continue to keep you up to date on changes in the shutdown and debt ceiling debates.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.