In this week's Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the recent flood event and the expected high cost of repairing the damage to roads, infrastructure and other government and private property, likely in the hundreds of millions of dollars in each case.
The unexpectedly large volume of rainfall, up to 27 inches in some areas, brought floodwaters to some areas that had never flooded before. That means many homeowners will be forced to foot the bill for repairs themselves.
"With this rain event, people likely were not covered because they're not in flood zones. What that means is they're gonna have to cut back on spending in other areas," Harper says adding further that impacted residents will be spending more on carpet and sheetrock and other replacement items.
Those with full coverage auto insurance should be covered for flooding.
Looking at the labor market, the U.S. Labor Department says 288,000 thousands were created in April. Harper says that tops the estimated growth of approximately 200,000 jobs last month. On top of that, the reports for February and March were revised upward. "Really a strong jobs report," says Harper. Adding to the strength of the report is that the national unemployment rate declined slightly from 6.7 percent to 6.3 percent. However, some of that drop is being fueled by people exiting the workforce.
Additionally, the Federal Reserve has acknowledged the continued improvements in the economy, but is planning to maintain the on-going government stimulus program.
Dr. Rick Harper is director of the University of West Florida Office of Economic Development and Engagement. He's currently serving as Senior Economic Policy Advisor to the Florida Senate.