OGDEN, Utah (AP) - Government-mandated furloughs of nearly 11,000 civilian employees at Hill Air Force Base in Utah will begin this week, and officials say it will mean a $54 million hit to the local economy.
Hill employees will join some 700,000 civilian Defense Department employees nationwide who will be off work for up to 11 unpaid furlough days from Monday to Sept. 30 as the Pentagon deals with spending cuts for the rest of the fiscal year.
Base spokesman Rich Essary said the average salary of affected employees at Hill is about $67,500.
Assuming those employees work a typical 260 days a year, the 11-day furlough period represents about a 4.3 percent reduction in overall pay for the Hill employees, or about a $32 million decrease in their collective total pay, The Standard-Examiner of Ogden reported.
Jeff Steagall, dean of Weber State University's John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics, said the furloughs will result in another $22 million in indirect losses for a total economic impact of about $54 million.
"That's not a small number, especially once you consider it's mostly concentrated in one area," Steagall said. "Most of the people that work at Hill live in the area."
Dave Hardman, president and CEO of the Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce, said the civilian employees will likely scale back their discretionary spending once furloughs are implemented.
"They could put off that work they were planning at their home," he told The Standard-Examiner. "And that means they won't be spending their money at Home Depot or Lowe's, so you can see how quickly the effects of something like this can accumulate."
Jim Smith, president and CEO of the Davis Chamber of Commerce, agreed.
"Obviously, there are going to be significant financial impacts any time you take that kind of money out of the economy," he said.
In response to government-mandated funding cuts, Hill implemented a civilian hiring freeze of all "non-mission-critical" positions in January.
The first furlough day at Hill will be Friday.
Information from: Standard-Examiner, http://www.standard.net
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 7/7/2013 2:02:18 PM (GMT -6:00)