As 60 million American prepare to absorb Hurricane Sandy’s worst, the economic costs of the storm could skyrocket in the days to come.
While economists disagree on the exact amount of damages, they’re saying the storm could cause between $2 and $100 million in destruction, according to a report by The Daily Ticker.
From Washington D.C. to New York, other experts believe the lost economic output could equal $10 billion per day, though they don’t see the storm blemishing the nation’s fourth quarter GDP.
"It's much more a regional story…[Sandy] will not have significant U.S. macro economic implications," Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics, tells The Daily Ticker.
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Even if Sandy doesn’t cause a major macroeconomic meltdown, it will still batter East Coast retail operations like restaurants, supermarkets, and shopping malls.
Lance Roberts, CEO of Streettalk Advisors, tells The Daily Ticker that widespread retail shutdowns could impact sales by half a percent. He also notes that while that while hurricanes often cause lost wages and unemployment claims, they can raise GDP as well.
Likewise, Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial, says Sandy could spur increased spending as consumers stock up on food, water, and other home essentials.
“This will show up in increased spending at hardware and home stores," she writes in a recent note. "There should also be an increase in spending, once damages from the storm are assessed and repairs get underway. That spending could borrow a bit from traditional holiday sales, depending on how much insurance is paid on those claims."
While troubled about consumers not spending, LPL Financial economist John Canally isn’t overly concerned about the larger economic picture, especially since last year’s Hurricane Irene failed dent American spending statistics.
"People are sitting in their homes and not spending," Canally says. But "it's not like a week before Christmas,” he adds.