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HomePoliticsRoughly half of Alaska's federal workers are in shutdown status

Roughly half of Alaska’s federal workers are in shutdown status


Of the 11,466 federal employees in Alaska, about 5,624 are in unappropriated status, according to Governing Magazine.

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That means they are either working through the federal government’s shutdown or are on furlough, waiting for Congress and the president to come to an agreement over an appropriation for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Another 5,842 federal workers in Alaska are in agencies with appropriations during the partial government shutdown and are unaffected.

The figures do not include the U.S. Postal Service, which is not dependent on federal funding.


There are approximately 2,500 active duty, reserve, civilian, and auxiliary U.S. Coast Guard personnel in Alaska. The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military that is working in an unappropriated status during the partial shutdown.

However, the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard ensured the workforce received a normal paycheck on Dec. 31, 2018. Retirees also received their pay, as expected.

The next paycheck for these employees, on Jan. 15, will require either an appropriation or a continuing resolution. Sen. Dan Sullivan is working on a fix for the Coast Guard.

Veterans Administration payments are not affected by the lapse in appropriations.

Most civilian employees, as well as military personnel stationed in Alaska, are still working because appropriations bills have been signed that cover several departments, including Education, Energy, Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Veterans Affairs, and others.

The Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, and Transportation are not yet funded. Workers at these agencies will receive back pay when the standoff between the president and congress ends and the appropriation bills are signed.

Alaska’s federal employees include 2,600 in the Department of Interior, 1,100 in Transportation, and 900 in Agriculture, mostly at the U.S. Forest Service.

The Washington Post reports that Alaska has the highest percentage of federal workers in unappropriated agencies. This is likely due to the fact that government employment represents such a large part of the Alaska economy, and the workforce is weighted toward Coast Guard, Interior, and Agriculture.

The news organization names Alaska as the top place in the country where shutdown impacts are concentrated, followed by Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, South Dakota, West Virginia, Idaho, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. But that account may be misleading and doesn’t take into account that Coast Guard members have been paid — so far.

In Washington, D.C., more than 102,000 federal employees are in agencies without appropriations, including about 32,000 at Homeland Security and Justice. Many of those workers continue to serve without pay, although pay has always been retroactive during past shutdowns.

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. There are many Leftists who hate Trump more than they love the US. This is an advantage for Trump (plus he gets a lot of attention, which he enjoys). As long as Trump has the Senate (don’t want to name any names but the initials begin with LISA MURKOWSKI), he should win a wall. Hopefully he doesn’t have to give the Democrats too many new voters, which is what this is about to the strategically thinking Democrats.

  2. Federal shutdown is good for yoga studios. Over half the new enrollees in the studio I attend are from the National Park Service and EPA. A big nameste’ to Trump.

  3. It is my understanding that the Left/Democrats want the President to abandon his request for a relatively small amount of funding for additional border security, which will include a physical barrier. Call it what you want. Thus, it seems, unless this happens, the Left/Democrats want the government to remain partially closed.

    Ms. Pelosi has declared that a wall or physical barrier is “inconsistent with our principles,” or something like that. I request that she state what she considers “our principles” to be. She has apparently declined to do so. What I conclude is that she favors OPEN BORDERS. Note to the Speaker, if that is true, there is going to be a problem for a lot of people.

    The President is not a normal person. It is a mistake to believe he will simply give up on this. Hell, Nancy, the Feds are just going to print the money anyway. Let’s move on.

  4. There’s a certain irony in having 900 Federal Ag workers (“mostly Forest Service”) in Alaska when there is barely any logging allowed in the Tongass Forest, and none at all in the Chugach….

    • They’re all enrolled in yoga classes out in the forest, where they can commune with squirrels, bark beetles and spotted owls, and sing anti-Trump chants. These are some of the most non-essential government workers ever. 3/4 could be furloughed and and the forests would be just fine.
      And Alaska would be for the better.

        • Lisa Murkowski wants “emergency funds” for running the NPS. Doesn’t the Murkowski family own land on some island across from Ketchikan, where logging is now outlawed?
          Special interest Lisa is all about funding the fed employees, knowing that they vote for her. As does the Bush. Lisa should be enrolling new Dems in special education spelling courses. L I S A. It’s easy to spell, even if you are a Democrat and live in the Bush.

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