The flooding and storms this spring in Iowa have already set all kinds of records, but the gauge of the economic impact on the natural disasters may not be know for several years. Liesl Eathington, is an economist with Iowa State University’s Regional Capacity Analysis Program (ReCAP).
Eathington says the numbers they use to describe how a economy is performing are going to take a long time to get ,”And they probably not going to tell the story of the floods the way we’re seeing it in the pictures, and from people’s personal accounts.” Eathington says judging the impact on the overall economy is different than judging the immediate impact on an individual.
Eathington says what they are really interested in is what happened to the region’s ability to generate income, not the value of the asset lost, but how the loss of the asset impacts the contribution to the region’s product. Eathington says the federal relief money will make an impact on the state, but she says the impact in some cases will slowly flow in.
She says the money will probably come in a little quicker for households, maybe a little slower for businesses, as that will involve low interest loans. Eathington says the relief money will offset some of the impact on the economy, but it will be a slow impact. Although the damage in the state is widespread, not everyone suffered damage, so Eathington says the overall economic impact each year takes the good and the bad into account.
Eathington says every year you have people who suffered business losses and personal losses, and then you have people who do really well. She says the economy nets all the good and bad out and they look at the total. Eathington says there will be a lot more people who suffered losses this year, but there are going to be people that windfall profits on their crops, or get a lot of opportunity through rebuilding efforts. Eathington says it could take years to determine how all the good and bad balance out.