Department of Labor

Department of Labor (DOL) officials told us the agency took steps to minimize the effect of sequestration on its mission. Officials said while actions such as some reductions in unemployment benefits have already occurred, it is too early to fully assess the effects on operations or services to the public. For example, DOL officials noted some effects of sequestration may not be known until after the end of the fiscal year when reports come in from state grantees. DOL provided guidance to states that administered unemployment insurance reductions and implemented grant reductions in several employment and training programs. It also reprogrammed some funding to preserve priority activities, cut back on training and hiring and other activities, and furloughed a quarter of its employees for 0.5 to 7 days. Officials also expressed concern about long-term effects of sequestration and the inability to conduct long-term planning due to the unstable budget situation.