While experts estimate the economy will lose about $15 billion thanks to the wicked winter weather blanketing much of the country, not everyone will suffer.
lists several industries that will benefit.
- Snow removal. The snowplowing sector generate $17 billion in annual revenue and provides 260,000 jobs, according to IBISWorld.
- Hardware stores. Heather Thurman, assistant manager at Ace Hardware in Bowling Green, Ky., told the Bowling Green Daily News that her store "had people standing outside waiting to get in" Wednesday morning.
- Plumbing. Many homeowners don't properly maintain their heating systems, says Nelson Furtado, owner of King's Plumbing in Fall River, Mass. "People really need to be proactive if they don't want to get cold," he told The Fall River Herald News. "Pipes are freezing and then they are busting. People try to save a buck by turning their thermostat down. In the end, they will pay more."
Meanwhile, if the weather indeed chops $15 billion off the economy, that would amount to less than 0.1 percent of our $16 trillion GDP. And the effect won't be lasting in any case, economists say.
"If the first quarter takes a little hit, there’s going to be some bounce back to make up for it in the second quarter,” Chris Christopher, an economist who tracks consumer spending for IHS Global Insight, told NBC News.
"For the year as a whole this should not have much of an impact."
But some experts caution against quick judgments. "Extreme temperatures and severe ice and snow are making it increasingly difficult to assess if the retail sales slowdown is temporary or a telling sign of a longer lasting weakness in the consumer-fueled economy," Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the National Retail Federation, told NBC.
Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of GDP. "No one can jump to any solid conclusion until we shovel out of the snow," he said.
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