Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Will the Government Shutdown Be Good or Bad for the Economy?

It happened! Today, the United States government shutdown began. Did investors care? Not really; the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 62 points and the NASDAQ was up 46.5 points.

So let's look at how the government shutdown might affect the economy. There are about 2.8 million non-uniformed employees of the Federal government, according to the Office of Personnel Management. Obviously, not all of these employees will stop working, as many of them are in jobs that are considered critical. Economists estimate that 600,000 to 800,000 workers will be furloughed.

These Fed workers are all across the US. They will cut back on spending, which can hurt local economies, and if the shutdown lasts long enough, they may not be able to pay their mortgages, which will cause more foreclosures and hurt the real estate market. Even state and local governments receive government funding, so they will be adversely affected.

Companies that do a lot of business with the Federal government will suffer. Although I'm sure the government will eventually be good for the money, if the shutdown drags on, it could affect the short term revenue results could be affected. Some of the largest government contractors include Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT), The Boeing Company (BA), Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC), General Dynamics Corporation (GD), and Raytheon Company (RTN).

The travel industry may be slightly affected, especially in the areas of national parks, but instead of tourists traveling to Yosemite, they will go to Disneyland instead. So this could help stocks such as Disney (DIS), Cedar Fair LP (FUN), Six Flags (SIX), and SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS).

So what do you think? Will the shutdown be positive, negative, or no effect?

Disclosure: Author owns DIS.

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