The “polar vortex” that brought record cold to much of the country is finally starting to thaw, but the economic effects will linger on.
Economists estimate that the polar vortex will cost about $5 billion and knock an annualized 0.2% off gross domestic product (although the economy will make that up soon enough).
Some of those polar vortex costs have no immediate economic benefit at all. Lost productivity never winds up in anyone’s pocket. And lost sales, refunds and other polar vortex expenses are going to show up on corporate income statements and balance sheets soon enough.
But in plenty of other ways, costs from the polar vortex can be someone’s gain. After all, storm prep and recovery generates demand for a wide range of businesses and industries. Hey, anyone running a plumbing or heating company is probably enjoying brisk business these days.
On a larger scale, the polar vortex has made plenty of enemies — but it has made some friends, too. Here are three winners and three losers from the polar vortex: