Amid the shutdown, federal workers worry about paying for rent, food

Personal Finance

Some 800,000 federal workers across the country find themselves in financial uncertainty as the government shutdown crawls into its 12thday. Some 420,000 employees are considered “essential,” and are working without pay, while another 380,000 have been ordered to stay home, according to calculations provided to CNBC by Paul Light, a professor of public service at New York University.

The shutdown’s reach also fans out to contractors for the federal government, who are unlikely to be included in any legislation Congress passes to make sure federal workers are compensated for the period the government was closed.

There were some 4.1 million government contractors in 2017, according to Light. “These workers are vulnerable,” he said. “If there’s no work on Monday, they don’t go in and they don’t get paid.”

Julie Burr, an administrative assistant on contract for the U.S. Department of Transportation in Kansas City, Missouri, has been forced to deplete her savings. The single mother was gearing up to bring her 14-year-old son to Florida this summer on vacation. “My son has never seen the ocean,” Burr, 49, said. “It’s not likely now.”

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