The impact of recent hurricanes will play out in the economic data
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Some economic stats released in recent weeks have — hidden within them — hurricane disruption devastation stats. Industrial production was down 0.9 percent in August — a lot of that due to Hurricane Harvey hitting Houston, with its huge oil and gas refineries and chemical factories. Utility use was down — people didn’t have electricity for a while in the Houston area and across the State of Florida. Retail sales in August were also lower than originally expected — fewer autos were sold, because who’s new car shopping during a hurricane? On the other hand, the value of gasoline sales rose, with the price spiking 0.25 to 0.30 cents per gallon, again, because of Harvey. And Hurricane Irma’s impact hasn’t shown up yet in the monthly data released thus far — but certainly will for September and October.
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