Sandy’s Economic Toll is Massive

Posted October 30th, 2012 at 10:10 am (UTC-5)
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The economic toll from the vast storm Sandy on the U.S. East Coast is expected to be massive, with billions of dollars in damages.

One catastrophe assessment company, Eceqat, predicted the toll could hit $20 billion, with perhaps half of that amount covered by insurance. Sandy spawned widespread flooding and wind damage — especially in the northeastern state of New Jersey and New York City — before moving inland and weakening on Tuesday.

Large industrial manufacturers and oil refiners shut their operations all along the country's eastern seaboard. Hundreds of small businesses are inundated with floodwaters.

The New York Stock Exchange called off trading again on Tuesday, the first time the exchange has been closed for two days in a row because of the weather since 1888. More than 14,000 airline flights have been canceled.

Some analysts said the storm's economic impact could diminish the country's already sluggish economic growth, perhaps subtracting a tenth or two-tenths of a percentage point from the U.S. economy in the last three months of the year. But other economists said the losses would be offset as communities affected by the storm spend large sums to fix their roads and other infrastructure and manufacturers repair their facilities.

While the damage from Sandy is substantial, it pales in comparison to Hurricane Katrina, the monster 2005 storm that hit the southern U.S. shoreline near New Orleans. It caused $108 billion in damage and killed 1,200 people.