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The government shutdown is hitting these U.S. states the hardest

Adriana Belmonte
Associate Editor

This post was updated.

As the U.S. enters day 21 of the government shutdown, states across the country are feeling the economic effects.

The impasse — largely caused by President Trump’s demand for border wall funding — is the 21st time the government has shut down. The longest shutdown since 1976 lasted 21 days in December 1995. 

The District of Columbia, the seat of the government, is naturally most affected by the government shutdown. After D.C., using data from WalletHub, we ranked the 50 states being hit the hardest by the shutdown.

The rankings were calculated based on each state’s share of federal jobs, federal contract dollars per capita, percentage of families receiving SNAP food stamps, real estate as percentage of gross state product, and access to national parks.

The government shutdown impact varies. (Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance)

‘Furlough of an estimated 350,000 federal employees’

D.C. is tied with Hawaii and Maryland for the highest share of federal jobs. The most recent jobless claims data indicated that the average has increased for the third-straight week, to 231,000.

“The increase potentially reflects filings from workers affected in the first week of the shutdown, which has caused the furlough of an estimated 350,000 federal employees,” Bloomberg reported.

The nation’s capital also has the highest percentage of families receiving SNAP and is tied with Maryland and Virginia for the highest federal contract dollars per capita.

U.S. President Donald Trump, Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanaha n,and Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt attend a Cabinet meeting on day 12 of the partial U.S. government shutdown at the White House on Jan. 2 (Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young)

Government shutdown impact on certain states ‘might surprise people’

While it might seem surprising for states like Alaska, Hawaii, Arizona, and New Mexico to be impacted so harshly by the shutdown, this is due to a number of reasons, according to WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez. Alaska and Hawaii both have large military and federal contracts, while Arizona is most affected by “real estate and mortgage processing.” Hawaii has the largest share of federal jobs at 5.1%, while Alaska and New Mexico have 4.68% and 3.61%, respectively.

“The mix of states most affected might surprise people,” Gonzalez said about the variations of government shutdown impact. “The longer the shutdown lasts, the more people will be affected by it. Households with federal employees, as well as those who receive benefits from the federal government, will be affected on financial and interpersonal levels.”

Mississippi, seventh overall on our list, has the second-highest percentage of families receiving SNAP benefits, followed by New Mexico, Oregon, and Louisiana. In terms of highest real estate as a percentage of gross state product, Hawaii was at the top, with Maryland, Florida, New Jersey, California, and Colorado not far behind.

A sign near the Golden Gate Bridge shows federal land being closed due to a partial U.S. government shutdown in San Francisco, California, U.S., December 23, 2018. Picture taken December 23, 2018. (Photo: REUTERS/Trevor Hunnicutt)

‘People all over the country are affected’

National parks play a role in this as well. Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, D.C., and South Dakota have the most access, which had an impact on their overall score on the shutdown map.

“During the shutdown, park staffing has been cut significantly,” Gonzalez said.

Additionally, Democratic-led states are being hit harder than Republican-led states.

This could be “because they depend more on the federal government in terms of jobs,” Gonzalez explained. “However, regardless of political beliefs, people all over the country are affected by the absence of government services.”

This post was originally published on January 4.

Adriana is an associate editor for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @adrianambells.


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