Unless Congress reaches a last-minute agreement on the sequester by Friday, the huge budget cuts slated to kick in have the potential to affect more than 6,200 federal employees working in Milwaukee County, 185 in Waukesha County and only three in Ozaukee County.
Barring any kind of deal, the Obama administration will have to impose $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts to military and domestic programs on Friday, according to The New York Times. Those cuts would be the start of $1 trillion in cuts over the next decade.
The numbers in the graph above show the number of federal employees in Wisconsin by county in 2012, according to the latest figures from Eye on Washington, a DC-based lobbying firm that tracks federal employment.
While much has been written on how the current sequestration battle in Washington could affect the national economy, these numbers are meant to give readers a sense of the sequestration at the local level.
On Sunday, the Obama administration released a report that showed Wisconsin could see more than $27 million in federal cuts if the sequester takes effect. And a report released this week by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators said the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee could lose about $40,000 in federal work study grants.
No one knows for certain what the sequestration cuts will mean exactly. Even if the federal cuts are enacted, the full effects would not be felt immediately. The government is required to alert impacted agencies of what cuts are to be made and what workers are to be furloughed.
It should be noted, however, that even the suggestion of cuts and the notification process itself could be felt in some community economies.
Uncertainty for federal workers means they are likely to tighten their belts until they see what the cuts look like — and how long they last. It means those workers will likely spend less money at local shops and restaurants. In some communities there may be only a handful of federal workers and the impacts may be small.
But, as these figures show, in other counties federal employees number in the thousands and in those places the sequestration could become a more significant pain, particularly if it drags on for weeks or months.