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Economists Track Harvey’s Hit on Retail Economy

A new report says retail spending in Houston dropped more than 58 percent in the week of Harvey’s landfall. According to the report from First Data, even e-commerce took a hit, dropping 41 percent. But based on previous storms, economists are confidant that the local economy will bounce back.


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Retail businesses were shuttered when the storm hit, along with restaurants, gas stations — almost everything. But now, things need to be repaired or replaced. Patrick Jankoswki with the Greater Houston Partnership says car dealerships should do well, for example.

“The local dealer should see some pickup in their activity, and we’ll also see some pickup activity (in) dealerships outside the area. There’s just difficulty in fiding the number of vehicles and type of vehicles.”

One of the concerns is for people who work hourly.

“They lost their chance to earn money those two weeks. People who are salaried continued to get paid even though the offices weren’t open or people were working from home.”

Timing of the economic rebound largely depends on when people receive and cash their insurance and FEMA and grant checks.

“They’re gonna take that money and they’re gonna spend it in the economy, but those checks won’t come all at once so Houston will see the impact on retail sales for several months, and it’ll probably start to settle out sometime after the first of the year.”

The Houston economy had been on the mend, but Jankowski says the storm only set things back probably just by a month or two.

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