|SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 16, 2019 -- Oregon has witnessed a three-time hike in the number of federal employees filing for unemployment benefits during the partial government shutdown, a local TV news outlet reported Monday.
About 1,900 federal workers in the U.S. western state filed for benefits in the first three weeks of the shutdown, almost 322 percent more than in the same period last year, Portland-based TV channel KATU said.
In comparison, Oregon Employment Department (OED) sources were quoted by the channel as saying that a 16-day partial shutdown in 2013 saw about 500 federal workers claiming similar benefits.
An OED official said employees of the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management bear the brunt in the state.
The partial federal shutdown, ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump in December 2018 after he failed to get money from Congress for the U.S.-Mexico border wall, has directly affected about 9,600 employees working for federal agencies in Oregon.
Those federal workers either were put on furlough or worked with no pay during the shutdown, KATU said.
Trump has been fighting with Congress over the past weeks for 5.7 billion U.S. dollars to fund the border wall that he claims would keep out illegal immigrants from Central America.
The shutdown, which affected a quarter of federal agencies, has outlasted all the previous 20 such closures to become the longest in the country's modern history.
According to an estimate by S&P Global Ratings on Friday, if the shutdown lasts another two weeks, it will cost the economy more than 6 billion dollars.
The White House and the Democratic congressional leaders have held several rounds of negotiations over border security and wall funding, the sticking point in the shutdown, but have appeared to get no closer to solving the budget impasse.