NORFOLK, Va.(WVEC) -- It's a pretty ugly picture.
Old Dominion University released a report that estimates the Commonwealth could lose 420 million dollars in salaries each year because of the freeze. In Hampton Roads alone, the loss is estimated at 140 million a year.
When you add in loss of economic activity, the numbers jump significantly: $900 million for the entire state annually, and, $300 million in Hampton Roads.
"A federal hiring freeze could definitely limit economic growth," said Economics Professor Bob McNab, one of the authors.
McNab and Professor Vinod Agawal note that even though an exemption has been granted to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the freeze will still impact virtually every other facet of federal government in the area.
McNab says across the board hiring freezes are not the way that Trump should go, if the goal is to reduce government smartly.
"What he needs to do, in my opinion, is to correctly size the government to his wishes, not through a blanket order that creates inefficiencies, but by asking the hard questions of what programs should no longer be funded by the federal government," he said.
Virginia's two Democratic senators agree. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine's letter to he editor in today's Virginian Pilot says: "History tells us that indiscriminate freezes increase the costs to government in the long run. The only solution is reversing this irresponsible freeze altogether."
Republican First District Representative Rob Wittman's office, in a statement to 13News Now, said:
"Throughout his time in Congress, Congressman Witman has expressed concerns about furloughs, hiring and pay freezes that negatively impact federal workforce morale."
"It would not only chill economic growth in Virginia, it will definitely result in serious economic challenge for the Commonwealth."
There is a sliver lining: President Trump's pledge to build a 350 ship Navy, which would be good news for the shipyards and bases around here. But Professor McNab worries that all the good that that would do, could be offset by the harm done by a hiring freeze.