There are more than 27,000 federal employees in the Houston region – about 1% of the area’s workforce. They report to employers ranging from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Homeland Security Department — not to mention NASA.
With few exceptions, those workers are now on furlough because of the government shutdown. Patrick Jankowski is vice president of research for the Greater Houston Partnership.
“Last year the federal government paid $2.2 billion in wages and salaries to Houston area families, to Houston area workers. That equates to about $42 million a week in wages being paid out to these federal employees, and so you can see how being shut down for just a week’s going to pull $42 million in purchasing out of the economy.”
Jankowski says there are also more than 1,600 Houston area contractors providing goods or services to the federal government. Those range from small businesses to major corporations like Waste Management and KBR.