Blizzard's economic impact difficult to measure

Feb 4, 2019

Many local businesses were forced to close one or two days when the winter storm blew into town last week. So what will the economic cost be?

Even though many people stayed home during the storm, Fred Floss, the chair of the Economics and Finance Department at SUNY Buffalo State, says there shouldn't be much of an economic impact.  

Credit Avery Schneider/WBFO News

"Money that would have been made at places like supermarkets, people would have bought the day before or two days before. Most of those kinds of purchases were still going to be made ,so there isn't any loss there, " Floss said. 

Small mom-and-pop businesses that rang up fewer sales could be hurting, but Floss says it's hard to quantify.  

"If you have an industry that's producing goods and services, we can count the goods and services that you didn't produce that day and we have an idea of what your loss is. But it's much more difficult to talk about how 20 people might have come to my restaurant tonight and I only got ten. Would they have really have come or not? It makes it much harder to sort of talk about that when you get down to the nitty gritty and look at individual businesses," Floss said.    

Floss says there is no way of truly knowing how the storm impacted all of the workers across the region. The real loss, he says, is to workers who don't have sick days or vacation time and ended up losing out on pay.

"Those are a lot of the lower income folks in Western New York and for them, that can be a lot of money," Floss said.