Federal Workers Will Not Add to Ranks of Unemployed in January Jobs Report

People sled on Capitol Hill during a winter storm January 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. - Washington area residents woke up to a winter wonderland, and may need to shovel aside several inches of snow that fell overnight as a winter storm warning remains in effect until 6 p.m. Sunday …
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JOHN CARNEY

Federal employees furloughed by the government will be counted as employed for the purposes of next week’s monthly employment report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

“Federal government employees who are working, but who will not be paid until funding is available, are included in employment counts,” BLS wrote on its website.

The BLS explained:

On Wednesday January 16, 2019, the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019 was signed into law. The law requires employees of the federal government who are furloughed or required to work during the lapse in appropriations beginning on December 22, 2018, to be compensated for the period of the lapse. Because these employees will receive pay for the reference period, they will be counted as employed.

The practical effect of this will be to keep the unemployment rate from misleadingly rising because of the shutdown. The furloughed employees are not unemployed, even though they may be eligible for temporary unemployment relief.

Federal workers who are not being paid but still required to work will also be counted as employed.

The BLS report on January’s labor market will be released on Friday, February 1.

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