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Furloughed federal workers costing taxpayers $1,001 a second not to work

Furloughed workers living paycheck to paycheck

The record partial government shutdown is costing U.S. taxpayers more than $86 million a day -- or $1,001 a second -- in back pay promised to furloughed workers, according to a new analysis from Government Executive, a publication aimed at federal managers.  

Government Executive based its calculation on employment and salary data from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for more than two dozen agencies, as well estimates from agency contingency plans outlined both before and after the shutdown began 34 days ago. 

The hit to taxpayers is likely a conservative estimate, Government Executive said. The publication used the the number of employees furloughed at an agency and multiplied it by average daily salary using OPM's Fedscope database as of June 2018. That figure was then divided by 365 calendar days in the year.

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President Donald Trump this month signed into law a bill that guarantees the 800,000 employees on furlough or working without pay will get paid retroactively once the government reopens.

Of the government workers affected by the shutdown, about 380,000 are furloughed without pay, while those deemed "essential" rest are working but not drawing a paycheck. Some on furlough have been recalled to work so that Americans can have their tax refunds processed and food and drugs inspected, among other tasks.

Some workers have been struggling without a paycheck and have been forced to rely on food banks and other assistance. Other employees also appear to be exploring finding other work, according to search traffic on job site Indeed.com.

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