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While Gov. Bob McDonnell on Monday called a shutdown “a very significant hardship on the people of Virginia,” officials thought the shutdown could affect a smaller percentage of the 172,000 civilian federal employees in the state than in other jurisdictions.

“I think that percent in Virginia is probably smaller because of higher concentration of defense — and some of those are going to be essential employees,” Virginia Secretary of Finance Ric Brown said.

Employees whose jobs are to protect public health, safety or property fall into the category of essential personnel.

Some federal agencies were working to the last minute to determine which personnel would be deemed essential and allowed to work through a shutdown, but Mr. Fuller estimated about 60 percent of the region’s federal civilian workforce would be asked to stay home.