Last week at this time, the biggest story in the news was the government shutdown, and many area residents began to wonder just have it would affect them.
There was more than enough rhetoric and blame to go around, to be sure, but, in general, the impact the shutdown had depends a lot on where you live, a point that was driven home through numbers compiled by WalletHub.
According to a study the Washington, D.C.-based personal finance website released on Monday, residents of the Tri-State Area likely would have been affected in very different ways if the shutdown had lasted for more than the few days that it did. The results show that Ohio was the fifth least affected state, while Pennsylvania stood at 27th and West Virginia 14th.
Included among the six metrics used to arrive at the results were the share of federal jobs in each state, the small business lending per capita and even access to national parks.
Ohio stood at 38th in the share of federal jobs, at 1.46 percent. Pennsylvania, meanwhile, was 30th at 1.69 percent and West Virginia seventh at 3.44 percent.
The District of Columbia, Maryland and Hawaii were tied at the top, while Wisconsin was 51st, meaning it has the lowest share of federal jobs.
When it comes to federal contract dollars per capita, again, Ohio comes in low, checking in with a number of $534.89 and a ranking of 44th. West Virginia ranks 31st at $883.25, and Pennsylvania is 21st with a number of $1,231.78. Maryland and Virginia are tied for the highest per-capita number, with Arkansas the lowest.
There was plenty of discussion during the budget talks about maintaining funding for and services provided through the Children’s Health Insurance Program. And, while its important that representatives in Washington were able to agree on a six-year reauthorization of the program as part of the deal that re-opened the government, residents in our area who depend on the program vary by state.
Those numbers range from Ohio, which is 33rd with 8.5 percent of its children under C.H.I.P. to West Virginia and Pennsylvania, which were ranked 14th and 15th with 12.7 percent of their children involved in the program. California has the highest percentage of children that fall under the program, while Minnesota has the lowest.
As for small business lending per capita, Ohio stands at 16th, Pennsylvania at 38th and West Virginia last at 51st. Wisconsin has the highest small business lending per capita.
Looking at real estate as a percentage of gross state product, Ohio is 44th at 14.3 percent. West Virginia checks in at 36th at 14.9 percent and Pennsylvania 28th at 16.6 percent. Hawaii ranks the highest, while Washington, D.C., rolls in at 51st.
As far as access to national parks, Ohio is 45th, Pennsylvania 30th and West Virginia 13th.
Alaska residents have the greatest access to national parks, while Delaware residents have the least.
And, because all things political have to broken down to one side or the other, the study shows states that voted Democrat in the 2016 presidential election would have been more greatly affected by the shutdown than states that voted Republican.
At least the shutdown came and went quickly — and we don’t have to worry about any of these numbers for another couple of weeks.
(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)