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Economic Consequences Of Extended Shutdown Spreading

The federal government shutdown means a lot of penny-pinching, which isn't good for the recovering economy.
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The federal government shutdown means a lot of penny-pinching, which isn't good for the recovering economy.

As the government shutdown enters its third week, the unforeseen economic consequences are spreading.

Do you know how we get unemployment data? A team of about 2,200 people fan out across the U.S., knocking on doors and compiling the survey. Mark Rother is one of those field representatives at the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We have eight days to get it done," he says.

Eight days—starting yesterday. The problem is that it didn’t start yesterday. Rother and the team remain furloughed. While we may not have exact data next month, Rother says some of the numbers are clear.

“I just finished filling out my unemployment insurance," he laments.

Not having exact unemployment data is a seemingly small thing, but it could have big implications. Maryland Democrat John Delaney is a businessman who founded two companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. He says not having that report could pinch the savings of countless people because pension fund managers rely on those numbers to make investments.

“They build very complicated models that have lots of different inputs into them, and the models become unpredictable if you don’t have inputs because you don’t know what the data means," he says.

Even though they risk undercutting a wobbly economy, House and Senate lawmakers have failed to find a way to turn all the government’s lights back on.

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