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Top White House economist sees GDP growth near "zero" if shutdown continues

Americans worried about shutdown's impact

The top economic adviser to the White House sees the economy grinding to a halt if the partial government shutdown continues much longer.

"If we get a typically weak first quarter and then have an extended shutdown, that we could end up with a number that's very, very low," Kevin Hassett, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told CNN. Asked if the U.S. could see zero GDP growth, he answered, "We could, yes."

Hassett noted that the economy should make up any lost ground once the government reopens.

Most economists have said that government shutdowns only have temporary effects. "While this shutdown will probably have a more noticeable impact on the data than past shutdowns, any hit to growth should largely be offset by catch-up later," Jim O'Sullivan of High Frequency Economics wrote on Wednesday.

However, the unprecedented length of the current shutdown, which has already cost taxpayers nearly $5.7 billion, has led some to revise their opinion.

This is a developing story.