Washington County is home to more than 1,600 federal employees and retirees who contribute to its economy and potentially could be affected if sequestration budget cuts are enacted today.
The numbers shown here reflect the number of federal employees in each Pennsylvania by county 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.
Of the 1,657 federal employees and retirees who live in Washington County, the greatest number—1,1160—are retirees, according to the data. Others are scattered among Social Security Offices, Veterans Affairs or the Defense, Human Services Treasury, Agriculture, Interior, Transportation, Commerce, Labor, Energy and other departments.
The 411 U.S. Postal Service employees in Washington County wlll not be affected by sequestration cuts because the postal service receives no tax dollars in its operations.
While much has been made written on how the current sequestration battle in Washington could affect the national economy, these numbers are meant to offer a sense of the sequestration and its potential effect at the local level.
No one knows for certain what the sequestration cuts, some $85 billion, will mean exactly.
Even if the federal cuts are enacted today, 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 with only a handful of federal workers, the impact may be small. But, as these figures show, in other counties where federal employees numbers in the thousands, the sequestration could become a more significant pain—particularly if it drags on for weeks or months.
Also this week, a report released by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators said California University of Pennsylvania could lose about $20,000 of its tentative federal allocation for work study grants in the 2013-14 school year.
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