The federal government could shut down tomorrow. Those who rely on certain government services and programs would be immediately affected, as would the federal employees who wouldn’t get paid. If it goes on for a long time, the shutdown could hurt the economy and therefore housing demand, particularly in the metros where people depend more on federal paychecks for their livelihood.

We looked at the share of total local wages going to federal employees. No surprise that Washington D.C. and its suburbs depend most on federal paychecks: 18.5% of Washington D.C.-area wages go to federal employees, and 12.6% in neighboring Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, MD.

But other metros – even some that are thousands of miles outside the Beltway – are also very dependent on the federal government: more than 10% of total wages go to federal employees in Virginia Beach-Norfolk, Honolulu, and Dayton, OH.

Metros Where A Government Shutdown Could Hurt Most

# Metro % of Local Wages Going to Federal Workers
1 Washington, DC-VA-MD-WV

18.5%

2 Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, MD

12.6%

3 Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA-NC

11.8%

4 Honolulu, HI

11.2%

5 Dayton, OH

10.1%

6 El Paso, TX

8.7%

7 Colorado Springs, CO

8.0%

8 Oklahoma City, OK

7.7%

9 Albuquerque, NM

7.3%

10 Bakersfield, CA

6.8%

Data from Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). See note below.

At the other extreme, less than 1% of total local wages go to federal employees in Fairfield County (across the Connecticut border from New York), San Jose, and Allentown, PA-NJ.

Metros Where A Government Shutdown Could Hurt Least

# Metro % of Local Wages Going to Federal Workers
1 Fairfield County, CT

0.5%

2 San Jose, CA

0.9%

3 Allentown, PA-NJ

0.9%

4 Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL

1.0%

5 Charlotte, NC-SC

1.0%

6 Orange County, CA

1.0%

7 Akron, OH

1.1%

8 New York, NY-NJ

1.1%

9 Hartford, CT

1.1%

10 Baton Rouge, LA

1.1%

Data from Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). See note below.

But San Jose and New York aren’t completely immune from the shutdown, of course: people and businesses there, like everywhere, depend on federal government services. Furthermore, the harm from a government shutdown would be minimal compared with the damage that the government could cause later this month if it hits the debt ceiling, stops paying some or all of its bills, and triggers a financial crisis. Everyone – not just federal employees and people who want to sell their homes to them – needs to be watching Washington D.C. this month.

These data are from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), which reports total local wages for all employees and for federal workers, for the first quarter of 2013. The metro rankings and magnitudes are similar using the share of employment (instead of wages) from the QCEW or from the American Community Survey (ACS).