Federal budget cuts totaling $85 billion could result in nearly 800,000 people losing their jobs and a reduction in economic growth of about half a point.
The job losses would result from declines in government spending in a wide range of government programs. The across-the-board spending cuts are known as the sequester and are slated to take effect Friday.
The reductions could force furloughs of federal employees in everything from forest firefighters to airport security screeners, and outright terminations of federal contractors.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the cuts will cost 750,000 jobs and hit growth by 0.6 percentage points, assuming the cuts remain in effect for the remainder of the fiscal year. Some economists expect a slightly bigger impact.
The cuts add a "significant" burden to the economic recovery, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday.