Unless Congress reaches a last-second agreement on the sequester on Friday, the huge budget cuts slated to kick in have the potential to affect close to 20,000 federal employees working in Fairfax County (in addition to people working for federal government contractors).
Barring any kind of deal, the Obama administration will have to impose $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts to military and domestic programs on Friday. Those cuts would be the start of $1 trillion in cuts over the next decade.
The numbers here show the federal employees in Virginia by county or independent city in 2012, according to the latest figures from Eye on Washington, a DC-based lobbying firm that tracks federal employment. It compiles the data from the Office of Personnel Management, Federal Employment Statistics and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While much has been made written on how the current sequestration battle in Washington could affect the national economy, these numbers show sequestration on a local level.
More on sequestration in McLean and Northern Virginia:
- McLean Businesses Brace for Sequester
- McDonnell: Sequester Could Force Virginia Into Recession
- What are you Doing on Your Furlough Days?
- Sequestration in Northern Virginia: Bracing for Impact
But sequestration won’t only affect government employees and people working for government contractors, according to the White House, which released a state-by-state breakdown of sequestration’s affects.
Sequestration could affect students, unemployed people, victims of domestic violence and the environment, according to the data for Virginia.
Sequestration’s direct affect on Virginia could total more than $838 million, though ripple effects throughout Virginia’s economy could drive that number up.
Even if the March 1 federal cuts are enacted, the full effects would not be felt immediately. The government is required to alert impacted agencies of what cuts are to be made and what workers are to be furloughed.
It should be noted, however, that even the suggestion of cuts and the notification process itself could be felt in some community economies. Uncertainty for federal workers means they are likely to tighten their belts until they see what the cuts look like – and how long they last. It means those workers will likely spend less money at local shops and restaurants.
In some communities there may be only a handful of federal workers and the impacts may be small. But, as these figures show, in many areas of Northern Virginia, federal employees numbers in the thousands and in those places the sequestration could become a more significant pain, particularly if it drags on for weeks or months.
(U.S. Postal Service Employees are excluded in this count. The USPS receives no tax dollars in its operations and would not be affected by the sequestration cuts.)