US loses 24 billion dollars during shut down

The government shutdown cost the US economy $24 billion – or $1.5 billion a day, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said onWednesday.

The argument over the government shutdown, which ended after 16 days, and over raising the US’s debt ceiling, appeared to have come to a short-term resolution on Wednesday as Congress rolled out a plan to fund federal agencies and extend America’s borrowing authority into early next year.

Back to the grind: Tourists walk away after visiting the Lincoln Memorial after the bill was signed ending the shutdown. All government agencies reopened and all of the tourist sites were thrown open to the public. Pics/AFP

The news of the deal boosted stock markets. S&P warned, however, that the political impasse had shaved at least 0.6 per cent off the US GDP on an annualised basis for the fourth quarterof 2013. The cut is equivalent to taking $24 billion out of the economy.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal workers returned to work across the country yesterday morning after 16 days off the job.

The Office of Personnel Management announced that workers should return to work on their next regularly scheduled work day, noting that is Thursday for most workers, who have been furloughed since the partial government shutdown began October 1st.

The office is encouraging agencies to be flexible for a smooth transition by allowing telework and excused absences in some cases.

The workers’ presence will be felt on the roads and rails in the Washington region where commutes have been less crowded over the past two weeks.

US President Obama signed a bill to raise the debt ceiling and end the shutdown temporarily. It will raise the country’s borrowing limit until February 7th and keep the government open until January 15th. Lawmakers hope to create a long-term budget deal by December 15th.

The Senate vote was 81-18. The measure went to the House where it passed by a margin of 285 to 144.

Breakdown of the costs

$3.1 billion Amount lost in government services, according to the research firm IHS

$152 million per day lost in travel spending, according to the US Travel Association

$76 million per day lost because of National Parks being shut down, according to the National Park Service

$217 million per day lost in federal and contractor wages in the Washington DC metropolitan area alone

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