Hurricane Ian caused significant devastation, with its impacts felt throughout numerous parts of the United States for weeks and months. Florida will certainly be affected because the state suffered most of the destruction of the hurricane.
According to analysts, employees, particularly those who seek unemployment benefits, may be driven to abandon their positions. If this occurs, it will negatively influence the local economy and lead it to recover slowly.
The magnitude of Ian’s devastation has not yet been determined, although estimates far outnumber those of previous Florida records. However, if current forecasts are true and continue to rise, it will be the most expensive hurricane in Florida’s history.
According to RMS, a catastrophe modeling organization, the damage might be in the $53 billion to $74 billion range.
According to Mike Englund, chief economist at Action Economics, joblessness is foreseeable in Florida, citing what happened in Texas after Hurricane Harvey, when around 50,000 Texans lost their livelihoods.
“Certainly, there’s going to be some short-term displacement, but it’s hard to predict exactly what that will look like in the Florida context or in the Southeast more generally. Particularly in coastal communities and within tourism, how long those effects persist depends on the sector’s ability to rebuild,” said Lynn Karoly from the RAND Corporation.
Suffering for individuals with low income
In terms of recovering from a disaster, larger organizations will be in a stronger position due to access to insurance, disaster funds, cash flows, and incurring debt to repair and restart their activities.
However, workers, particularly low-income ones, will face more difficulties.
“The resilience factor could be lower among the lower-wage workforce, and even their employers may also be rethinking about how they staff the positions that they need to fill,” Karoly added.
Even before Ian arrived, Florida had a tight market. Workers will, however, have more difficulties dealing with market dynamics under the new conditions.
According to Dave Gilbertson, vice president of technological company UKG, hard-hit areas in Florida have already seen a 50% fall in labor operations, implying a loss of economic activity and pay for workers.
“It’s pretty uncommon to see a nearly 50% decline. This is a deeper disaster than we’ve seen over the past couple of years. They’re losing so much personally, but they’re also losing the ability to work and support their family. A lot of hourly workers are living paycheck-to-paycheck [and] dealing with rising inflation by pulling down their savings and utilizing more credit cards. The ability to withstand any kind of disruption is minimal,” Gilbertson said.
A semblance to Hurricane Katrina
Economists are drawing parallels between what happened after Hurricane Katrina and now. And they have determined that there may be similarities between the difficulties caused by Hurricane Katrina and those presented by Ian.
“There will be a significant slowdown in the job openings in the state, [but] it’s a very strong economy, and hurricanes are not new to them,” said an economist at ZipRecruiter.
“Hurricanes have differing economic effects, depending on whether the area is one that people are moving into or out of. Hurricane recoveries tend to accelerate whatever economic transitions might have been underway when the storm hit, leaving a building surge in growing areas but economic blight in contracting areas,” added Englund.
Photo Credit: Giorgio Viera
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