We looked at our data to try to answer the question: How is the government shutdown affecting people who work in D.C., and specifically those who check-in regularly at government buildings?
During the first week of the shutdown, people were living it up as if on an unexpected vacation. They decided to make the most of it. We saw the same number of total check-ins as usual, but instead of offices, trains, and cafeterias, people were going to fancy bars and Italian restaurants.
But as the shutdown continued into its second week, activity dramatically shifted. Perhaps people stopped viewing the shutdown as a holiday, and instead thought about the implications of not receiving a paycheck.
Here are a few more trends we noticed from the first two weeks of the shutdown:
- Dining out - There was an immediate negative effect on many small businesses. In the first week, people stopped going to coffee shops, food trucks and inexpensive restaurants, and those numbers declined even further into the second week. More expensive restaurants, which were popular in the first week of the shutdown, fell below normal levels as the financial implications of the shutdown set in.
- Bars - During the first week of the shutdown, check-ins at bars increased by over 50 percent. Over time, though, bars returned back to or below pre-shutdown levels, and more people were going to dive bars than usual.
- Government buildings - Unsurprisingly, activity at government buildings decreased by a 30 percent, roughly in line with the previous furlough ratio.
- Train and subway stations - Train and subway station check-ins have decreased by a quarter. Fewer people commuting means less congestion on the Metro.
- Gyms - Check-ins within DC have dropped off during the shutdown, but you gotta stay fit! Gym check-ins stayed remarkably consistent.
- Tourism - Most monuments within the district are officially closed and check-ins fell over a quarter during the first week and were down to only a third of normal activity by October 11. With shuttered tourist attractions, the number people coming into the district and checking in at hotels has decreased by over a third.