economic effects of hurricane katrina

Topics: New Orleans, Tropical cyclone, Hurricane Katrina Pages: 1 (396 words) Published: October 1, 2013
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the gulf coast of the United States, east of New Orleans,1 with the storm’s eye passing within 10 to 15 miles of the city. The effect on New Orleans, as well as on the entire coastal region, was devastating. In the aftermath of the storm, about 80 percent of the city (much of which is below sea level) was flooded. A recent article estimated damages in excess of $200 billion, making Katrina one of the most economically costly hurricanes ever to strike the United States.2 Reacting to the widespread destruction, the 109th Congress enacted two supplementary appropriation bills totaling $62.3 billion for emergency response and recovery needs.3 The death toll has been estimated at more than 1,200.4 In addition, tens of thousands of citizens were evacuated to other parts of the Nation. Besides taking its toll on the human, social, and psychological fabric of the city, the storm had a notable effect on the city’s economy, its labor market dynamics, and its individual businesses. Just what these effects were has been the subject of some discussion. This article joins the discussion in its analysis of employment and wage data. In what follows, trends in employment and wage patterns based on data provided by the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, the Bureau) are compared before and after the storm to measure the extent of the losses during the first 10 months (September 2005 to June 2006) following Katrina. The findings indicate the extensive effect of Katrina on the New Orleans labor market. The over-the-year loss to the city economy averaged 95,000 jobs during the first 10 months after the hurricane. The job-loss trough occurred in November 2005, when the employment total was 105,300 below what it had been a year earlier. Ten months after the hurricane, in June 2006, the over-the-year job loss had diminished to 92,900. The loss in wages during the 10 months...
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