Another one of those things that I keep meaning to read is the rest of the new issue of the Monthly Labor Review
, a publication of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This month is a special issue on the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Some impressions that arise from a scan of the information there:
- Most of the damage in Louisiana was concentrated around New Orleans and was due to flooding from both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The damage in Mississippi was due to wind and storm surge. The flooding is estimated to have cost New Orleans 110,080 jobs, while the damage in Mississippi lost them about 16,294 jobs.
- 15.4% of evacuees were unemployed; another 43.3% were working in their new locations. Black evacuees were five times more likely to be unemployed than white evacuees.
- A fact I did not know before -- the state of Louisiana waived the usual rules for qualifying for unemployment insurance for about 90 days after Katrina, so as to use the funds for the relief effort. As a result their unemployment rates look much higher. It appears the Mississippi recovery has been better, but 12.5% unemployment remains in the Gulfport-Biloxi area.
The report looks like a treasure trove for those who wish to understand the economic effects of last year's hurricanes. I find the contrasts of experiences between the two states interesting. Those who claim the Bush Administration's response to Katrina was tainted by race should note the sharp differences in experience between Mississippi and Louisiana, both in the types of damage sustained and economic responses to the shocks imposed by the hurricanes.