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Brutal winter has cost the country $50 billion so far

Brutal Winter Costs Economy $50 Billion

The winter you won't soon forget is taking its toll on the US economy -- in a big way.

Bad weather means bad news for retailers, as sales tumbled in January. The storms have cost the country $15 billion in lost productivity, and industrial production was down 0.3 in January. The FED was citing the weather.

It's being called "frozenomics," and the impact of the harshest winter in recent memory is affecting the economy across the board.

First, we had the "polar vortex" in early January. Record cold temperatures literally froze cities across the country.

A few weeks later, a strong winter storm slammed the South. In Atlanta, ice brought economic activity to a standstill. People were stranded on highways for as long as 20 hours.

And now, back-to-back storms in the Northeast have dumped several feet of snow in some places, knocking out power and collapsing roofs.

A new poll conducted by CNBC estimates the total cost to the economy at $50 billion. Retailers were hit hard as auto, furniture and department sales plunged. Job growth also stalled, and an estimated 80,000 jobs were lost because of the bad weather.

... And then there's the airlines. After a strong 2013, they've hit some, well, turbulence.

"Thanks to the brutal winter weather we've been seeing, the highest number of flight cancellations in more than 25 years," NBC reported.

Of course restaurants are also taking big hits.

MSNBC explains that "The food industry is also hurting where restaurant owners can only keep their fingers crossed. When the weather comes in like this, a good probably 75 percent of the business for the day is shot.

There are, of course, some businesses that love the cold weather. Snow plowing operations have been raking it in.

Utility companies have been doing well as people keep turning up the heat, and natural gas prices have soared over the past couple months.

Economists are predicting the next quarter to be much better as the weather improves and consumers are actually able to get out into the world so they can spend some money.

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cgberan7 February 17 2014 at 4:40 AM

As I am reading this I have to laugh at some of the comments. I am a Canadian who spend nearly 6ty months in the USA over the winter. We like the warm weather. I can't believe the bull I hear from what must be mostly Republicans , blaming Obama for all sorts of stupid happenings. The US debt was actually well established by WH Bush thanks to his initiation of the Iraq war, which was totally unnecessary. I had to correct some ill informed Republicans that there were no weapons of mass distruction found in Iraq by the US investigators. Nor did 9/11 originate in Iraq either. the Terrorists were in Afghanistan. the debt did climb while Obama has been in the job but remember the mortgage scandaL and bank collapses were in effect already before Obama took the job. In order to get out of the recession the government had to put out money to get the economy rolling. Thankfully Obama did not get into any further wars. I find there is a lot of bias and some people are brainwashed or swallow down what others feed them. Maybe ther is still racism alive and well in the good old USA.

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bdgrizcp February 17 2014 at 4:35 AM

Last week on CNN they said it was around 5 bn. Nowhere near 50 bn. Sounds like a made up number. Hard to really guage the cost, and remember, a lot of the country is not affected.

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kephillipp February 17 2014 at 2:11 AM

Oh I am spending money. My electric bill just arrived from ComEd. It has doubled since last
January. UGH! Won't be shopping for anything over President's weekend.

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threefromil February 17 2014 at 1:37 AM

Guess everyone saying it's Obama's fault doesn't believe in accounting, or any bad weather they don't see with their own eyes. We've had 62" snow, usually every couple of days, and -54 windchill. I'm 63 years old and got my first case of frostbite.

Some of the disbelievers don't even DRIVE in more than 2 inches of snow.

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bmissl February 17 2014 at 1:29 AM

Obama costs us 8 Trillion, and you twerk us with this tidbit?

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threefromil February 17 2014 at 1:28 AM

Started snowing mid december in Illinois, so we've hardly shopped at all since. I've become a big fan of Amazon after slipping on the ice. People who don't have to work frequently only get out of the house 2 days a week.

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tjertz1 February 17 2014 at 12:38 AM

Only during democrat controlled administrations do we contiually point to the "weather" as the prime factor for a poor economy. Perhaps the weather caused ObamaCare? They're talking about Cold, snowy, weather - right? Not Global Warming................ that's right, they changed this to Global Weather change. Of course, Weather is always changing. How 'bout Global Liberal Stupidity - GLS.

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aripalda February 17 2014 at 1:31 AM

The extreme cold, snowy, weather is a result of global warming. Earth is a living thing. It has it's own mechanism of maintaining homeostasis. Very hot summers will mean very extreme winters in an effort of the Earth to reverse itself to bring temperatures back to normal. The factors that affect it are the amount of oxygen vs carbon dioxide, freshwater vs. saltwater, and the amount of ice formed in the mountains. Believe me it's not just about fossil fuels and it definitely is not natural.

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Dan February 17 2014 at 1:56 AM

The problem with this nonsense is that this is not what Al Gor and the IPCC predicted a decade ago. They said that snow would be a "rare and exciting event..." and that the polar ice cap would be melted by now... Oooooops. ********..

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kousinkrazy February 17 2014 at 12:36 AM

$50 billion? we could have started another war with that much

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NJPACKFAN February 17 2014 at 12:28 AM

Malls overflowing today, but does not mean everyone was buying......just relieving cabin fever.

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svhtwo February 17 2014 at 12:28 AM

What a joke the liberal news is at it again. Trying to blame Obama's failed domestic economic policies on the seasonal weather. I am getting dizzy from all these spin doctor's.

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