Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Impact On Economy

As I’m writing this post on 9-11, Hurricane Irma is working her way through Florida bringing much destruction along her path. Like many, I will always remember when 9-11 hit us all 16 years ago, but unfortunately this year many in Florida and Texas will have these natural disasters to deal with as a part of their day.


Both hurricanes Harvey and Irma have had terrible impacts on everyone affected in Texas and Florida, and the tremendous losses experienced by so many are at times hard to comprehend. The rush to help has been necessary to save what can be saved and to assist with the rebuilding. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the $7.9 Billion approved federal economic emergency funding for Harvey will make a difference and so will the many who volunteer. Eventually things will be put together again and normalcy will come back for many, but it will take time and for some life will never go back to the way it was before.


When reviewing what happened during hurricane Katrina, the impact on jobs and overall employment will indeed be negative in a short term perspective.  In a recent CNN Article on September 7th, “The federal government reported Thursday that initial jobless claims surged 62,000 last week to 298,000 — the highest level in more than two years.”  At first glance, 51,000 of the jobless claims appear to come from Harvey stricken areas.  That said, there often is an economic rebound following big storms. The rebuilding efforts lead to more jobs, a boost to infrastructure spending and other stimulus. That was the case after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012. “Natural disasters for the national economy tend to be a blip,” said Dan North, chief economist for Euler Hermes, North America.

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