Superstorm Sandy caused more than $40 billion dollars in damage to homes, businesses, and public transportation. But the news isn’t all grim. Business is booming for companies that provide essential disaster-recovery services, like plumbing, construction, carpet cleaning, tree trimming, and trash hauling. In fact, there’s so much business, economists predict the recovery could put billions of dollars back into the economy.
For example: Local tree surgeons are fielding hundreds of phone calls a day. They’re struggling to keep up with requests to remove trees from people’s property – and creating wait lists!
Pump and generator manufacturers as far away as Minnesota are overwhelmed with orders, especially from hard-hit New York and New Jersey. And one company - Briggs & Stratton – has gotten so many generator orders, they increased production, authorized more overtime, and hired more workers.
Carpet cleaners in Ocean City, New Jersey have been working nonstop since the storm ended. And they’re bringing in tractor-trailers filled with extra drying equipment from other states to dry out countless carpets before they get moldy.
Since Superstorm Sandy blew through, plumbing sales have increased 35 percent, mostly from homeowners with broken sump pumps, and flooded generators and hot water heaters.
And scrap yards are expecting a 15 percent increase in the volume of scrap metal coming in, starting with aluminum siding, copper pipes, and home wiring. Followed by steel from light posts, boilers, and hot water heaters and flood-damaged automobiles once they’re “totaled out” by insurance companies.
So while the damage is significant, there is a silver lining. Bernard Baumohl is the executive director of the Economic Outlook Group. And he predicts that when all is said and done, the recovery efforts will bring in $10 billion more dollars than what was lost – and lead to an improved and more modern infrastructure.