Arizona ranks high among states hit hardest by government shutdown
PHOENIX – Arizonans are feeling the impact of the government shutdown more than the residents in most other states, according to a personal finance website analysis.
Arizona landed at No. 10 in WalletHub’s ranking of how hard the 50 states and District of Columbia have been hit by the partial shutdown, which started nearly two weeks ago.
The website used publicly available data from official sources in five key metrics to compile the rankings: share of federal jobs; federal contract dollars per capita; percentage of families receiving food stamps; real estate as percentage of gross state product; and access to national parks.
Not surprisingly, the nation’s capital is feeling the absence of government services more severely than anyplace else, as the District of Columbia ranked first in three of the five key metrics.
No. 2 New Mexico, No. 3 Maryland rounded out the top three.
Arizona was sandwiched between No. 9 Alabama and No. 11 Rhode Island.
WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday that impact on national parks played a large role in Arizona’s high ranking.
“And even real estate is affected,” she said. “So any retirees looking for a new place for this new year are actually going to have a lot of trouble getting new mortgages approved because the IRS, FHA and VA have huge staffing shortages right now.”
The least affected state was No. 51 Minnesota, followed by No. 50 New Hampshire and No. 49 Nebraska.
The shutdown began Dec. 22 and caused a lapse in funding for nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice.
Congressional Democrats and President Donald Trump remained at an impasse over funding the government over his demand for billions of dollars to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
Roughly 420,000 workers were deemed essential and were working unpaid, while another 380,000 were furloughed, meaning they’ll stay home without pay.
Those being furloughed include 52,000 workers at the Internal Revenue Service and nearly everyone at NASA. About 8 in 10 employees of the National Park Service are staying home, and many parks have closed.
The Grand Canyon National Park has remained open because of a state plan that involves the National Park Service, Arizona Office of Tourism and Arizona State Parks to keep visitor services operational.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ashley Flood and The Associated Press contributed to this report.