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Sandy Recovery Spurs Hiring

Bloomberg (12/27/12) Michelle Jamrisko

As consumers in the Northeast recover from Hurricane Sandy—the worst Atlantic storm on record—many businesses are seeing a boom in orders, providing unexpected opportunities for companies assisting in the rebuilding and the employees they’ve hired to help. Sandy has probably increased the demand for construction workers by at least an additional 30,000, says Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at Economic Outlook Group LLC. The economic boost of post-storm reconstruction probably will occur over the next year or two, and Baumohl expects “a real big, V-shaped rebound” in construction over the next six to 12 months. “We’re going to see a significant multiplier effect with all these jobs that are going to be generating income for these workers, which are then going to spend that additional income in the economy,” Baumohl says. The rebuilding effort could add 0.4 percentage points to U.S. growth in 2013, he adds.

The auto industry has gotten a boost as residents replace vehicles lost or damaged in the storm, contributing to added hiring. Cars and light trucks sold in November at a 15.5 million annual rate, the highest since February 2008 and up from 14.2 million a month earlier when Sandy kept East Coast shoppers away during auto dealers’ busiest time of the month, according to Ward’s Automotive Group. Auto and auto parts manufacturers added 9,700 jobs in November and dealers of vehicles and their parts hired 3,300 more workers last month. Meanwhile, small businesses in the affected region are hastening to hire as cleanup orders build.