Quick cash: U.S. shutdown forces federal workers to turn to eBay

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U.S. federal workers who have been furloughed since Tuesday are now turning to sites such as Craigslist and eBay, in hope that any profit they make would ease their financial squeeze, according to American media reports.

In the past week, there has been a surge in sporting tickets, designer clothes and baby items being digitally displayed on the sites.


Mekayla Coleman, who works in IT at the Department of Defense’s Defense Acquisition University, told CNBC this week that she has turned to Craigslist to sell some $300 worth of baby items she no longer needs.

“Prices can be negotiable, but please serious offers only, I really need the money,” says the listing.

Coleman spent all her savings to revamp her house for sale and wasn’t ready for the partial government shutdown.

TaskRabbit, which allows people to perform household errands and other tasks in exchange for money, is getting a boost because of the furloughed workers.

“A few dozen government workers have applied and some are already running tasks,” Johnny Brackett, TaskRabbit’s senior manager of marketing and communications, told CNBC.

Brackett added: “The backgrounds vary from male to female, from government agencies, to other jobs.”

The manager said this week his company saw an “all-time high in TaskRabbit applications,” topping 13,000 for one single day.

“To put that in perspective, we currently have just over 15,000 active TaskRabbits total, across all of our 15 markets,” the manager added.

According to ABC news channel, around 800,000 U.S. government employees have been sent home without pay, and one million more are asked to work without compensation.

A budget standoff between the Republican-dominated House of Representatives and the Democrat-controlled Senate has led to the shutdown of the U.S. government.

Some Republicans - many of them identified with the Tea Party Movement - are staunchly against healthcare reforms by U.S. President Barack Obama.

They have voted for budget measures to delay or defund Obama’s healthcare changes, which were passed by Congress in 2010.

The last shutdown was 17 years ago and lasted for 20 days. However, there are fears that this shutdown could take a number of weeks in order for the Congress to reconvene.

“If this goes too much longer, I may have to leave the industry,” a federal contractor, who only gave his first name, Richard, told CNBC.

“I’ve been working in the industry 25-plus years. ... It’s very stressful. I had open-heart surgery in 2008, and stress is not good for me,” said Richard, who sold his drum set for $500 on Craigslist.

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