Atlantic Hurricane Season is more active than ever this year. Two major storms crashed U.S. shorelines in August and September after causing widespread damage to the Caribbean islands.
The path of carnage took lives and disrupted regional economies, so much so that analysts are downgrading their outlook for the third quarter.
Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas the hardest, comes with a price tag of $111 billion for the state. That’s the number analysts have arrived at when factoring the value of capital stock and loss of investment flows.
Hurricane Irma is projected to cost Florida $52 billion – a fraction of what the doomsday scenario had predicted. Thankfully, the hurricane drifted west and avoided pummelling the Miami region. Some analysts had forecast damages of up to $300 billion, citing the $2 trillion worth of property in the storm’s path.
The impact of Harvey was immediately felt on the labour market. Earlier this month, the Department of Labor said initial jobless claims surged 62,000 to a seasonally adjusted 298,000 for the week ended 2 September. That was the biggest weekly gain in nearly five years and the highest level since April 2015.
Claims have since fallen back to normal levels.
Insurance stocks also took a beating as Irma approached the state of Florida earlier this month. The S&P 500’s financial index slumped 1.7% on 8 September; insurers were down nearly 2% during the session ahead of the weekend landfall.
Aecom CEO Mike Burke recently told CNBC that most people haven’t comprehended the impact of post-Harvey and Irma rebuilding.
“Here we are 12 years after Hurricane Katrina and we’re still rebuilding the infrastructure of New Orleans,” Burke said in an interview with “Power Lunch” earlier this week. “I think people are misunderstanding the complexity of the challenge.”
Burke went on to say that the likely damage of both hurricanes is between $150 billion and $200 billion. The latter is 25% greater than the damage caused by Katrina, which left thousands of people dead.
Hurricane season for the Atlantic region ends 30 November.
 BBVA Bancomer Team (20 September 2017). “Economic impact of Hurricanes Harvey & Irma.” FXStreet.
 Zoe Wood (10 September 2017). “Economic cost of Hurricane Irma ‘could reach $300bn’.” The Guardian.
 Lucia Mutikani (7 September 2017). “Hurricane Harvey boosts U.S. jobless claims to more than two-year high.” Reuters.
 Sam Bourgi (8 September 2017). “Insurance Sector Weighs on Wall Street as Hurricane Irma Approaches Florida.” Hacked.com.
 Michelle Fox (19 September 2017). “People don’t understand the magnitude of post-Harvey and Irma rebuilding, says Aecom CEO.” CNBC.