How Hurricanes Damage the Economy
Hurricanes are the most damaging of natural disasters. A Category 4 or 5 hurricane can lower U.S. production and increase unemployment. It can also raise gas prices to $5 a gallon. Large hurricanes depress the stock market and other financial markets.
The United States is very vulnerable to hurricane damage. Coastal shoreline counties create 40 percent of America’s jobs. They are responsible for 46 percent of its gross domestic product.
Since 1992, FEMA has paid out $81 billion to state, territorial and local governments in response to disasters. But a New York Times analysis of federal data found that many buildings were rebuilt in place. As a result, the new structures are just as defenseless as the old ones against the next storm.