Furloughed employees working during the partial government shutdown

The number of furloughed employees working during the partial government shutdown 

Bottom Line: You’ve likely heard by now that north of 800,000 federal employees are furloughed during this partial government shutdown. How many are essential employees working during the shutdown like Michael, whom I featured in today’s Q&A? I pulled these numbers from the federal government by department. 

  • 95,302 – National Security (84% of employees) 
  • 51,739 – TSA (100% of employees) 
  • 54,935 – Border & Customs (91% of employees) 

There are a myriad of agencies within those departments. That brings a grand total of 201,976 people. In other words, about a quarter of employees impacted by the partial federal government shutdown are essential service professionals still working during the shutdown. Most of these employees haven’t yet missed a scheduled paycheck but all will in the not-so-distant future if there isn’t a resolution to the existing standoff.  

For that reason, perhaps its most accurate to say that while a quarter of the federal government is furloughed, it’s really about 19% that’s not operating (because about 6% of the government is operating as usual with these impacted essential service employees).  

Up to this point I’ve illustrated, through what I believe is a teachable moment, how generally unimpacted almost all Americans lives are while a quarter of the federal government isn’t operational. I think it presents the opportunity that we likely could thrive as a country with far less federal government than we currently have and pay for... for anyone who questions that – how many of the 430 federal government agencies can you name? Come up with anywhere close to the 430 and I’ll listen to your argument. But that being said, in the interest of maximum accuracy I’ll amend that statement to reflect 19% of the federal government going forward in deference to those working in essential services during the shutdown. 

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