JT and I are devoting a portion of my weekly appearance to the Grand Forks Flood of 1997, and the business and economic consequences of the event. The consequences of some events are best understood with the perspective of time, and natural disasters are clearly this type of event. For today’s post I chose to look at unemployment, but in a slightly different way.
Seventeen years ago the Red River flooded caused immense damage in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. It seems natural to take a look at the state of the economy. Certainly there were major changes, and it is important to note which changes had more impact or longer durations than others. The time patch of the Grand Forks experience is also important. Lessons for other communities about what went right, and what went wrong could be gleaned from this nearby history.
The Weather Channel had a report on this week about circumstances on the eastern seaboard after SuperStorm Sandy. My students in Forecasting and Demography classes hear this information from me all the time. Look at any natural disaster, widespread blackout or other major event, and then take a look starting eight months later and you will notice an uptick in births. In fact, you can see this ahead of time if you pay attention to the OB-GYN visits. People are creatures of habit, and it sounds corny, but in times of crisis they look for comfort.