WASHINGTON — The full economic effect of the 16-day partial government shutdown will take months to tally. But it's already clear it left footprints in key areas of the economy.
Spending at chain retail stores fell 0.7 percent last week. Mortgage applications dropped 5 percent. Auto sales slumped about 2 percent.
Overall, the shutdown cost the U.S. economy $24 billion, said to Beth Ann Bovino, an economist at Standard & Poor's. That's why she's cut her forecast for growth in the October-December quarter to a 2.4 percent annual rate from an earlier estimate of 3 percent. Other economists have downgraded outlooks.
Still, the pain won't be as severe as it could have been. For one thing, furloughed government workers will receive back pay. They and other Americans who delayed making large purchases in the past couple of weeks could step up spending in coming months.
Here's how the shutdown affected the economy and several key drivers of growth:
Consumer spending: It's hard to know exactly how much consumers will cut back. According to Gallup, consumer confidence fell in the first week of the shutdown by the most since September 2008, when the collapse of Lehman Brothers intensified the financial crisis. Historically, spending doesn't always closely track confidence. Still, weekly chain store sales fell 0.7 percent last week, the second drop in a row, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Doug Handler, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, has cut his forecast for the fourth quarter by the same amount as Bovino. About half the reduction reflects less spending by the federal government. The other half reflects lower spending by consumers and businesses.
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