Messages went to about 35,000 state workers, telling them they were being placed on a temporary layoff beginning at 12:01 a.m. Monday and not to go to work unless otherwise notified.
About 18,000 state employees will remain on the job, including 12,000 prison employees, said Liz Boyd, a spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
"We will have limited state police," Boyd added.
A shutdown would mean most government operations would cease, including food safety and gas pump inspections, liquor deliveries, lottery ticket sales, the issuance of driver's licenses, and construction on state roads, Granholm said Friday.
A Wayne County judge, however, on Friday gave the three Detroit casinos permission to stay open even if the state is unable to oversee them during a shutdown. The casinos contribute $1 million a day to state public schools and Detroit public safety, a casino spokesman said.