The 16-day government shutdown cost the economy jobs, delayed mortgages and lost retail sales — at least $12 billion worth, and maybe as much as $24 billion. As federal workers returned to work Thursday, statisticians and business people began toting up the damage:
• Estimates of the toll range from $12 billion to $24 billion for the U.S. economy, or as much as $1.5 billion per day, and as many as 250,000 jobs. The shutdown trimmed fourth-quarter growth by 20%, economist Joel Naroff said — an outcome any business would "consider a disaster.''
• At least 400,000 government employees will be paid for all 16 days they didn't work and roughly the same number will get paid for not working during part of the shutdown. The government has not disclosed that cost.
• Consumer confidence plunged. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell to its lowest level since March in data released Thursday. The share of people predicting economic conditions will get worse fell faster than at any time since the 2008 collapse of investment bank Lehman Bros. One result: Hyundai's CEO John Krafcik said this week that October car sales could drop about 10%.
• The U.S. Travel Association said the shutdown cost $152 million a day in lost travel and related activity. Federal parks were closed, accounting for much of the losses. Washington-area hotel occupancy dropped 9% from late September levels in the first week of October, according to Destination D.C.