Chamber Chat - The Economic Impact of Hurricanes

Sep 16

By Meg Moss


In a 2017 video produced by CNBC, they discussed the economic impact of hurricanes. The immediate impact of hurricanes can be devastating, destroying homes, knocking out power grids and depleting resources. But how do you measure the longer term economic impacts of a hurricane?

Research from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) uses a complex formula to measure the economic impact. The IMF report shows how hurricanes effect GDP per capita – or the amount of goods produced and services provided in a country divided by its population. The IMF measures the longer term effects of hurricanes on GDP per capita for a period of seven years after a storm strikes. It found that small states and islands, which are generally more exposed to these storms, had a bigger negative impact, losing two percent or more GDP per capita. You could be talking millions or even billions of dollars.

Calculating the economic impact of these storms can be tough because there are so many variables. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that since 1980, the United States has sustained 212 weather disasters where the overall cost reached or exceeded one billion dollars. The total of these events combined reached $1.2 Trillion. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 had the most significant economic impact with an estimated price tag of $160 Billion.

In addition to job losses, a storms impact can be measured by a range of other economic indicators. Consumer confidence can go down, large farming industry losses can occur as crops are destroyed and of course property damage, transportation disruptions and business closures all bring economic costs. These are all reasons economists predict that GDP will drop after a major storm.

If there is an upside to a natural disaster, it’s the sense of humanity, sense of community that comes out when neighbors are helping neighbors. Chamber Board member Lynda Ward told me this week that she’s already witnessed that. “I was at the grocery store and saw a woman give an elderly gentleman a case of bottled water. She said that the woman was specifically buying it to give to people who will be in need.”

There are many services that people will need after a storm, and this week we sent out a list of Chamber members that can provide these services, such as tree removal, water restoration services, automobile body work, plumbing, electrical, power equipment rental, flooring, landscaping, furniture storage, septic service and more.

The following is a list of Chamber members that can provide these services: ABC Restoration, Absolute Computers, All-Store Warehouse, Black's Tire & Auto Service, Blossman Propane Gas & Appliance, Broadway Hardware, Brooks II Appraisers, Cameron's Body Shop Inc., Camping Store, Cary Reconstruction Company CRC - Response Team 1, Cashwell Appliance Parts, CED Sanford dba Captain Rod Sullivan, Central Carolina Power Equipment, Central Electric Membership Corporation, Central Moving and Storage, Inc., Christians United Outreach Center, Clay Moretz Electrical Corporation, Comfort First Heating and Cooling, Inc., Cruco Mill & Industrial Supply, LLC., Davis Sales Company, Donathan Pumping Service, Inc., Duke Energy, Elite Storage, Fit It Plumbing Services, Inc., G.B. Mowing, LLC, Hall Fence Company, Harpo's Farm, LLC, Heritage Concrete, Hometown Flooring, Hunter Oil & Propane, Inc, J.A. Hart Construction, J.S. Howard Electrical Co., Inc., Jani-King, Joyner & Dickens Heating and Air Conditioning, Lee Iron & Metal Co., Inc, Lett's Tree Removal Service, M R Stoner Electric, Inc., Mosquito Joe of the Sandhills, Neal and Howard Inc., Noble Oil Services, Pipeworx Plumbing, PR Faulk Electric Co., Premier Express Cleaning Services, Inc., Prestige Landscaping Lawn Care and Maintenance, PSNC Energy, R & N Motor Company, Inc., Sanford Kitchen and Bath, Sanford Rent-All, Sanford Turf and Irrigation, Service Building Supply, Sherwin-Williams Paint Company, Southern Carpet & Interiors, Inc., Stanley's Home Center, State Pest Control, LLC, Suretemp Mechanical, The Salvation Army of Lee County, The Shed Depot of NC, LLC, United Way of Lee County, W.I.T.'s Remodeling, Wilkinson Automotive, Inc, and Wilson Rd. Self Storage.

And please remember to patronize our insurance agents who are Chamber members: Charlotte Holt Allstate, First Bank Insurance Services, Harris and Company Insurance, Holder Insurance Group, HBP Insurance Group, Insurance of the Carolinas – Nationwide, Lee County Farm Bureau, Lee-Moore Insurance Agency, Nobles Insurance Agency, Sanford Insurance Center, and State Farm – Jared Spencer.

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