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1,350,000 'Essential' Federal Government Employees Continue to Work

10:00 AM, Oct 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The federal government is shutdown. That means only federal government employees that are deemed "essential" are going in to work.


We're led to believe it's a bare bones operation (Michelle Obama won't be tweeting, the National Park Service website is down, etc.). But in reality it appears the number of folks working is higher than half the federal employees. Or, in raw numbers, about 1,350,000 "essential" federal government employees are still working. And that does not include the 589,000 postal employees, who are working, too.

That's 63 percent of the federal work force.

Here's how one gets to those numbers. According to the federal government's Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 2,150,000 non-postal federal employees. (Postal workers make up about 589,000, bringing that totaly to 2,739,000 federal workers.)

Multiple press reports list the number of furloughed federal employees at 800,000. “The federal government's forced shutdown of vast swaths of its operations will send more than 800,000 federal workers home without pay, close national parks and cripple some programs, while leaving essential services up and running,” the Wall Street Journal reports, for instance.

ABC, likewise, reports, “According to government estimates, 800,000 of the more than 2 million federal workers could be furloughed during the shutdown, and the offices that employ them have released contingency plans noting how many employees would be forced to stay home and how many would be ‘excepted.’”

Which would mean that since only "essential" federal employees are working and since 800,000 federal employees aren't working due to the shutdown, there are about 1,350,000 "essential" federal workers.

When asked for comment, one senior Republican Senate aide said, "I'm sure the assistant to the deputy assistant to the undersecretary for secretaries feels pretty good about himself for being deemed essential this week, but all it really does is fuel the cynicism most ordinary Americans feel about Washington." 

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