DC's local economy struggling to overcome shutdown impact

The federal government may be back up and running, but a local expert said Greater Washington's regional economy is not.

"This is going to hang over us as a shadow for some time," said economist Stephen Fuller, director of the Stephen S. Fuller Institute at George Mason University.

Fuller said a variety of factors continue to hinder the local economy, including formerly furloughed federal employees who are now less likely to spend what they earn, especially with another potential government shutdown looming.

"They're going to put money away for a rainy day because they can't trust their employment the way they used to," Fuller explained.

Some local businesses are already seeing that scenario play out.

Joe Neuman owns Sloppy Mama's Barbeque. While he'd won a lottery allowing him to park his food truck near L'Enfant Plaza on certain days in January, he stopped showing up because there weren't any federal workers around to buy his food.

"It's frustrating," Neuman said in mid-January. "You know it's like we shouldn't be going through this."

Now the people are back, but Neuman's business is not.

"It's gotten worse because people aren't spending money," he said Thursday night. "It's this really weird thing. It's like the shutdown is over, but we don't know. You know, nobody knows what's gonna happen."

Fuller added that stories like Neuman's are just one piece of a much larger puzzle.

"It's not just a few people," he said. "It's thousands."