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Federal Contracts Plunge, Squeezing Private Companies

Federal Contracts Plunge, Squeezing Private Companies

The big business of Washington — federal contract work — is losing some steam.

After spiraling higher for much of the last decade, the value of federal contracts awarded to companies is falling rapidly.

In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the total fell by $58 billion, or roughly 11 percent. It was the steepest decline — in percentage and nominal terms — in at least a decade, according to an analysis of federal contract data by The New York Times.

The federal government is still awarding hundreds of billions of dollars in contracts. For the 2013 fiscal year, the total was $460 billion. On Wednesday, the House approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill for the current fiscal year, which would include a sizable amount of contracts.