Housing Complex

The Impact of the Shutdown, in Numbers


The federal government shutdown that appears to be nearing its end has taken a toll on the District. Just ask any furloughed worker, retail clerk near government buildings, social worker whose organization has seen its funding evaporate, or tourist aimlessly wandering the National Mall.

But the effects of the shutdown on D.C. have been difficult to quantify, outside of the odd data point here and there. Except that now, the office of Mayor Vince Gray has shared some stats it's gathered over the course of the shutdown:

Economic activity in D.C.: down $44 million per week

Economy of the D.C. metro region: down $217 million per day (17.6 percent of the region’s economy) from lost/deferred federal and contractor wages

D.C. tax revenue: down $6 million per week

D.C. restaurant traffic: down 7 percent in the first week of October, compared to 2012

D.C. hotel bookings: down 8.3 percent, for a loss of $2 million in room revenue, in the first week of October, compared to 2012

But there's a silver lining: According to Gray, alcohol consumption (and tax revenue) has been up since the shutdown began. I'm awaiting the numbers from the mayor's office on this booze-fueled stimulus.

Update 3:30 p.m.: Gray's office follows up in an email: "There was a 3% increase in restaurant beverage (primarily liquor) sales during the first week of October 2013 compared to the first week of September of this year."

Update 4:53 p.m.: Since a September-to-October comparison is imperfect, I asked the mayor's office for a year-over-year comparison and was referred to the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. RAMW's Kyle Rees confirms the increase from September to October (and adds a decimal point of precision—it was a 3.1 percent rise) but does not have a figure for last October. Still, he does have some more anecdotal evidence of the shutdown's impact: The downtown restaurant Cuba Libre informed him that its lunchtime business had been cut in half, and that it had lost $28,000 due to cancellations of large parties and banquets.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery