Hundreds of thousands of government employees went on furlough today, as the federal government began a partial shutdown. Thousands of those employees live and work in the St. Louis region. Meanwhile the debt ceiling deadline looms.
What kind of economic impact will the shutdown and debt ceiling have on the St. Louis region?
St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh spoke with economist Howard Wall, Colonel Kyle Kremer, Commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing at Scott Air Force Base, and St. Louis Beacon reporter Jason Rosenbaum to find out.
Political reporter Jason Rosenbaum has been calling agencies and organizations in the region to find out how the shutdown is impacting them. He wrote an article in the St. Louis Beacon on the topic: "Government shutdown may hit Scott Air Force Base and Gateway Arch hard."
According to Commander Kremer, two-thirds of the civilian employees at Scott Air Force Base are on furlough due to the government shutdown. That equals approximately 3,300 people. The rest are considered essential personnel and are currently working without pay.
Thanks to a last minute bill pushed through Congress military personnel will continue to receive pay.
"Rest assured that we continue to provide for our security and national defense, and that's why we have those different classifications," said Kremer.
Wall is the chair of the Department of Economics at Lindenwood University and the former vice president and regional economics advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. He said that the shutdown will have minimal economic impact unless it lasts several weeks because traditionally furloughed employees receive back pay once the shutdown ends.
Wall is more concerned with the possible consequences of reaching the debt limit without passing a measure allowing the United States to pay their creditors.
"In terms of whether this will put us into a recession...I don't really see it as having that kind of impact," said Wall. "I suspect that even if we don't extend the debt limit, the actions that will be taken are not the dire ones being put forth. They will be ones that prevent us going into default."