Alaskans are bracing for what could be a major financial hit to the state if the federal government shuts down on Friday.
There are more than 17,000 people in Alaska employed by the federal government, and that number does not include private sector businesses that work for the federal government, according to the Department of Labor.
"One thing we know is the capitol work force, per capita basis in Alaska, is in the top one, two or three in the country," said Neal Fried, an economist with the state Department of Labor. "As far as being a state, I don't think that's a big surprise -- the state employs a lot of federal workers.
On Friday, all nonessential government employees will be sent home until Congress passes and President Obama signs a budget.
"There's a 50-50 shot it could happen," said Sen. Mark Begich. "I think there's a pretty hard-nose group on the House side, in the Tea Party over there, that believe -- I think -- they're betting on a shutdown, which I think is a shame."
Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Alaskans should expect negative consequences if a deal can't be reached.
"There are consequences that would be felt across the state, were we to shut down the federal government for any period of time," Murkowski said.
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