Economic Analysis of Covid-19 Effects

From Vox: A new paper finds stimulus checks, small business aid, and “reopening” can’t rescue the economy. Real-time data on how the economy responded to Covid-19 suggests the problem is the disease itself.

The picture that emerges in a new working paper based on the economists’ findings is of an economy frozen in place. Simply declaring the economy “reopened” does not seem to do anything to spur high-income people to spend more, and it’s not clear that anything can until the real threat passes.

The tool, the Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker, was launched by the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights group. The research was led by Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, John N. Friedman, and Michael Stepner, and the tool was assembled by a team of 39 collaborators. It aims to provide a service that has never existed before, but is badly needed during the pandemic: a real-time, day-by-day, ZIP-code-by-ZIP-code snapshot of how the American economy is performing.

Billion Dollar Disasters

Billion-dollar disasters on the increase in United States

As the atmosphere continues to warm, we are seeing more and more billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in the United States. Thru September, there had already been 11 such events in the Lower 48 according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. This number will likely rise once the final calculations are completed for Hurricane Michael and the California wildfires. If these two disasters wind up being added, we will have a total of 13 billion-dollar disasters for the year, making it one of the worst years in U.S. history, behind only 2017, 2011 and 2016. For perspective, the average year sees about six billion-dollar disasters.

World Bank Report on Annual Cost of Natural Disasters

From the World Bank, Natural Disasters Cost $520B a Year.  Some details:

Global natural disasters cost $520 billion of consumption loss annually, 60 percent larger than asset losses that are commonly reported, the World Bank said in a report.

The estimate is based on the impact of disasters such as floods, windstorms, earthquakes, and tsunamis on people’s well-being, measured by the decline in their consumption, …..

“The design of disaster risk management should, then, not rely only on asset losses,” the World Bank said. “Targeting poorer people with disaster risk reduction interventions — such as dikes and drainage systems — would generate lower gains in avoided asset losses but larger gains in well-being.”

Cost of Disasters in 2016 – from Swiss Re

Disasters claimed 10,000 lives, cost $158 billion in 2016: Swiss Re

More than 10,000 people died as a result of natural and man-made disasters during 2016, with financial losses totalling at least $158 billion, Swiss Re said on Thursday.

At an estimated $49 billion, insured losses rose by nearly a third from $37 billion in 2015, but covered less than a third of the costs incurred from catastrophes over the year.

“The gap between total losses and insured losses in 2016 shows that many events took place in areas where insurance coverage was low,” Swiss Re said in a statement.

Hurricane Matthew was 2016’s deadliest natural catastrophe, Swiss Re said, claiming up to 733 lives, primarily in Haiti.

Are Some Communities Surviving on Disaster Relief Funds?

This is a new and important topic for those of us interested in the recovery phase. Your comments are invited.

From a FL newspaper, see this article: FEMA money keeps many Florida counties afloat.

This article references a Bloomberg News article from a month ago, which was titled:
The Areas America Could Abandon First.  Some excerpts:

You could drive a shrimp boat 1,300 miles along the Gulf Coast from Corpus Christi to Fort Myers and not pass a single county or parish that voted against Donald Trump. The cities and towns along that shoreline had better hope he remembers their support: Without increasing levels of federal spending, climate change could push parts of them out of existence.

So far this year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has spent $1.1 billion on what are called Individual Assistance payments, which help households recover from natural disasters. There are no limits on the number of times a household can apply, so the program isn’t just a safety net; for some people, it’s effectively a subsidy to live in areas that are especially vulnerable to hurricanes, floods and storm surges.