An Illinois Wesleyan University economics professor wonders how long federal employees will continue to work without paychecks as the longest government shutdown in history has surpassed three weeks.
Diego Mendez-Carbajo said while the Bloomington-Normal area can absorb the temporary loss of those paychecks and the siphoning of that money out of the local economy, the shutdown will hurt most if those employees stop showing up for work.
“It’s not a problem now because they are still on the job, but will they still be there tomorrow or the day after tomorrow?” Mendez-Carbajo said. “Are we expecting them to be there forever?”
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there are about 500 federal employees in the Bloomington-Normal area. That's about half as many as there were as recently as 2011.
“Federal agents are able to provide a number of public good services to the community that are important for the whole functioning of the community,” he added. “It might be access to the courts, it can be police protection, it can be safe access to air transportation.”
Officials at Central Illinois Regional Airport said the shutdown has not affected their operations, despite reports across the country of some TSA workers calling in sick to avoid working during the shutdown.
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