WASHINGTON - The partial U.S. government shutdown has closed the gates to Alex Thevenin’s place of business: the Grand Canyon.
Her family-owned Arizona Raft Adventures in Flagstaff, Ariz., lost $80,000 last week in income from a group excursion down the Colorado River that didn’t happen. Thevenin’s and five other small, whitewater businesses will lose almost $1 million because of canceled trips in the final few weeks of the 2013 rafting season, said John Dillon, executive director of the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association in Flagstaff.
“We had a great year until Sept. 30,” Dillon said.
The shuttering of large parts of the federal government on Oct. 1 amid a fight over funding President Barack Obama’s health-care law is hurting businesses big and small. Some, such as Thevenin’s, have already taken a hit to their bottom line. Others will suffer from slowed economic activity -- stocks declined yesterday, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index at almost a one-month low, and a Gallup poll released Oct. 4 showed consumer confidence had dropped to its lowest point since December 2011.
The shutdown cost $1.6 billion last week in lost economic output, according to IHS Inc., a Lexington, Mass.-based global market-research firm. As the showdown enters its eighth day, the office closures are now draining an average of $160 million each workday from the $15.7 trillion economy.
Two more days of the Washington-made calamity would put the shutdown’s financial harm on par with a natural disaster last month. September’s heavy rains, flash floods and mudslides across 17 Colorado counties caused at least $2 billion in economic damages, according to Equecat Inc., an Oakland, Calif.-based catastrophe-risk modeler. Based on the IHS estimate, the shutdown costs will surpass $2 billion on Oct. 9.