Storm hurts some workers and businesses, but economy will bounce back

The storm that closed government offices and schools throughout metro Atlanta on Wednesday also temporarily shuttered many businesses.

So, what’s the expected impact on the region’s roughly $365 billion economy? Zilch, say economists. That’s even if the icy conditions stick around for several days.

People who postponed a purchase will just make it later. And most companies that closed because they expected to do little business or wanted to keep employees off the roads will just do more later to make up for snow days.

Extra efforts can usually make up for the brief dips in productivity.

“We sometimes do find the impact of natural events in the data, but it is always temporary,” said Rajeev Dhawan, director of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University. “Only if it goes on a week or more would it show up in the longer-term numbers.”

No more snow is on the horizon for Atlanta, according to meteorologists at Channel 2 Action News. Temperatures are expected to climb steadily the rest of the week, with highs in the 40s Thursday and the 50s Friday and Saturday.

Some companies, like builders, generally plan for some bad weather days. It doesn’t matter to their schedule whether the delay is for a normal rain or an unexpected snow.

While hotels lose out on customers who are prevented from coming to town, they make up for it with the money from current guests who cannot leave.

That’s not to say that all businesses do fine: Some take a nasty hit.

The most vulnerable to short-term closings are services that won’t be able to make up for lost revenue by selling extra in the next few days. Restaurants and their employees, especially, are economic losers when harsh weather keeps customers and workers away, Dhawan said.

“If you miss a meal today, you won’t make that up by buying two meals tomorrow,” he said.

He estimated that about 4.5 percent of the workforce – 130,000 of the region’s 2.9 million workers — are in sectors that are susceptible to short-term losses.

But many workers feel pressure to head out to work, even if they are not taking an immediate financial hit.

Phil Costabile, 31, didn’t have a long morning commute from one part of Buckhead to another Wednesday, and said there didn’t seem to be any ice on the roads just yet. But he said he still saw a few cars “spinning out for a while” during his journey.

“I’m originally from Pennsylvania,” Costabile said. “I think my family would’ve been disappointed in me if I didn’t go to the office over an inch-and-a-half of snow.”

He said he planned to put in a full day of work.

“Hopefully, it doesn’t freeze over,” he said.

Staff writer Tyler Estep contributed to this story.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Business

Cyber security fears spark training, hopes for lots of Georgia jobs
Cyber security fears spark training, hopes for lots of Georgia jobs

Even Georgia’s first lady worries about cyber attacks. “I keep telling her that’s not going to happen; we don’t have enough money for them to fool with,” Gov. Nathan Deal quipped before cutting the ribbon on the new $100 million Georgia Cyber Center in Augusta the other day. He fished out his pocketknife when giant ceremonial...
Three Atlanta sports teams suspend Papa John’s affiliation
Three Atlanta sports teams suspend Papa John’s affiliation

Three Atlanta sports teams are reevaluating their partnerships with Papa John’s after the company’s founder admitted to using racist language.   The Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United suspended their relationship with Papa John’s Pizza following reports John Schnatter used a racial slur during a conference call in May, a...
Toy stores, makers face life after Toys ‘R’ Us
Toy stores, makers face life after Toys ‘R’ Us

Buckhead-based toy store Kazoo Toys knows what its customers want. In fact, customers sometimes even call ahead, ownder Joe Novak said, telling Kazoo information about a child they are buying a present for. When the person arrives, the employees can have a product already picked out and wrapped. “There is a passion in local toy store owners you...
Atlanta real estate: Home prices rise strongly
Atlanta real estate: Home prices rise strongly

Home prices continued their long rise as summer began, according to a report the Atlanta Realtors Association. The median price of a home sold in metro Atlanta during June was $285,000 – a jump of 7.5 percent from the same month a year ago, the group said. Higher prices are a sign of strong demand, said Bill Murray, president of the Atlanta Realtors...
Delta to trim growth plans for flights this fall
Delta to trim growth plans for flights this fall

High fuel costs are translating into higher air fares for Delta Air Lines and other U.S. carriers. Atlanta-based Delta announced Thursday it will trim its flight schedule for this fall as it grapples with the rising price of oil. The airline plans to focus on under-performing routes when making its cuts. That means some flights booked for fall travel...
More Stories