Jan. 22 (UPI) -- The number of Transportation Security Administration workers calling in sick amid the federal shutdown has reached nearly 8 percent, the agency said Tuesday.
The TSA, which provides the first line of security at U.S. airports, saw only 3.1 percent in unscheduled absences at the same time last year. The updated figure means one in almost eight TSA workers are not reporting for work.
"In coordination with airport and airlines partners, TSA continues to carry out its mission by optimizing resources, managing consolidation efforts, and ensuring screening lanes are properly staffed," the TSA said in an update Tuesday, adding that security wait times at more than 90 percent of U.S. airports is less than the normal 30 minutes.
"Airports may exercise contingency plans due to call-outs and traveler volume in order to maintain effective security standards."
TSA statistics showed wait times at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport topped the average, at 41 minutes. Some of the largest airports are seeing times under the average -- like Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (29 minutes), Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (29 minutes) and San Francisco International Airport (27 minutes).
TSA workers are among the 800,000 affected by the partial federal government shutdown, which is now in its unprecedented fifth week. About 50,000 security employees have been ordered to work temporarily without pay.
While President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats traded proposals over the weekend, neither appeared to push the other side any closer to an agreement to end the stalemate.
Trump continues to demand $5.7 million be part of any spending measure, for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border -- something that Democratic leadership has dismissed as a non-starter in negotiations.
In the meantime, federal workers have taken to selling personal items on social media, taking out personal loans and organizing food banks to survive while the shutdown continues.