Katrina and the Economy: Apocalypse Not

By now, most people know the mainstream media exaggerated the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. The death toll, the harrowing stories about rape and murder, and the accounts of leadership failure in the federal government turned out to be much less than originally reported. But what about the economic impact of the storm?

Because government statistics take a few weeks to compile, and also because the effects of Katrina and certainly of Rita were not likely to show up entirely in September, we are only now getting a clear picture of the storms’ economic consequences. To put it mildly, they are not what regular consumers of network news would have expected.

For the third quarter of the year (during which Katrina occurred) Gross Domestic Product grew an impressive 3.8%. That’s higher than the average for the past 20 years (3.2%), and higher than the average during the Clinton years (3.6%).