The Average Federal Worker Has Missed $5,000 in Wages So Far During Government Shutdown, Report Says

January 16, 2019, 6:24 PM UTC

While much of the attention during the ongoing federal shutdown has been on government services and businesses, the human toll is adding up quickly.

Eight hundred thousand federal employees are off the job right now. And a New York Times analysis finds that most have missed $5,000 (or more) in wages. That could be especially devastating to government workers who earn on the lower end of the pay spectrum.

The shutdown is in its fourth week and currently shows no signs of stopping, despite inconveniences such as of delayed tax refunds and airport delays hitting now and possibly worse things to come in the future.

Salaries vary by department, of course. But, per The Times, here’s a look at the salary shortfall the average worker in various departments is facing.

Securities and Exchange Commission

One of the highest paid federal divisions, the average worker has missed $12,543 in wages so far. All totaled, 4,436 workers are owed $56 million.

Federal Communications Commission

The Times reports 1,229 employees are owed $11 million, averaging $8,936 per person.

Federal Trade Commission

The 1,124 furloughed workers at the FTC are owed an average of $8,813 each, totaling $9.9 million.


The National Aeronautics and Space Museum has 17,564 employees out of work, including many engineers. They’re missing an average of $8,082 in wages.

Environmental Protection Agency

The 13,972 workers are missing an average of $7,737 each in paychecks so far.

Department of Transportation

Clerical workers in this division are plentiful, making just $60,000 per year. The average shortfall works out to $7,527.

Department of Justice

One of the divisions hit hardest by the furloughs, there are currently 107,135 employees off the job now. They’ve missed an average of $6,551 in earnings.

Department of Homeland Security

Some 245,405 employees are currently furloughed, with a total owe of over $1 billion. That works out to $5,895 each—except airport screeners, who only make $41,000 per year and have missed about $2,700 in wages.

Social Security Administration

The report indicates 61,663 workers have lost out on an average of $5,312 in wages.

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