Government shutdown damaged attitudes on the economy

The October government shutdown damaged people’s attitudes in the United States on the economy, as well as household finances and job prospects, according to a new Harris Poll published today.

The question now is – will these more negative attitudes became a permanent reality or settle down within a couple of months?

The government shutdown damaged President Obama’s standing much less than expected, if at all, according to the poll.

Seventy percent of American adults give Barack Obama negative marks for the economy this month, compared to 71% before the government shutdown in September. Thirty percent gave him positive marks in October, compared to 29% in September.

The poll, carried out by Harris Interactive, included 2,368 adults who were surveyed online from October 16th to 21st. The poll authors stressed “Please note that most of the data was collected after the government re-opened after the shutdown.”

Government shutdown damaged medium-term attitudes

People’s attitudes toward the economy over the coming months has definitely become more negative.

Not only did it cause anguish to hundreds of thousands of workers, the government shutdown damaged economic sentiment.


Below are some highlighted data from the poll:

In September

  • 46% expected the economy to remain the same in the coming year.
  • 22% expected the economy to improve in the coming year.
  • 32% thought the economy would get worse.

In October

  • 37% think the economy will stay the same.
  • 22% think the economy will get better.
  • 41% think the economy will get worse.

Government shutdown damaged household finance sentiments

People have also become more pessimistic regarding household finances since the government shutdown. When asked how they believe their household finances would be in the next six months:

  • 48% thought they would remain unchanged.
  • 18% thought they would improve, compared to 19% in September.
  • 34% believed they would get worse, versus 29% in September.

Sentiments regarding job market damaged less

When asked in October, “How is the current job market in your region?”:

  • 20% said “good”, compared to 23% in August.
  • 32% said “neither good nor bad”.
  • 48% said “bad”, compared to 46% in August.

When asked in October, ”How do you see the job market in your region in six months time?”:

  • 20% said it will improve, compared to 25% in August.
  • 53% thought it would remain unchanged.
  • 27% said it would get worse, versus 25% in August.

Did the government shutdown damage the economy?according to the Chemical Activity Barometer, it did not have a significantly negative impact, Market Business News reported on October 22nd, 2013.

However, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said the shutdown was affecting businesses. Lockheed Martin had to furlough 3,000 workers without pay, United Technologies had to lay off 2,000 employees, and Boeing said there would be delays in its aircraft production because aviation officials who certify the planes had been furloughed.