Strategic Briefing | 4.3.12 | Warm Weather & The Economy

The winter of our content? How much did weather skew U.S. data?
Irwin Kellner (MarketWatch) | Apr 3
All eyes will turn to the March employment data, to be released this Friday, to see if this improvement was real or merely a statistical illusion. The weather is usually more benign at this time of year, so any distortions from seasonal adjustments tend to be minimal. Nonfarm payrolls grew an average of 245,000 between December and February after expanding by an average of only 157,000 in the three prior months. That’s quite a jump. If March’s employment stats are as good or better than the previous three months, it could be sign that the winter’s improvement was real. But if March disappoints, it would mean that the strength over the winter was nothing but a chimera.

Video: How a warm winter impacts the economy
The Globe and Mail | Apr 2
What sort of impact has this wacky weather had on agriculture and energy commodities? What about the general encomy? BNN finds out with Matt Rogers, president at Commodity Weather Group, and John Lonski, chief economist at Moodys.
Americans Went on a February Shopping Spree
U.S. News & World Report via Chicago Tribune | Apr 2
Warmer winter, newfound confidence, and pent-up demand sent consumers to the malls even as real income lagged Americans have a little more money to spend, and they’re spending all of that and then some. In February, consumer spending increased by more than three times as much as personal income, growing by $86.0 billion, according to figures released today by the Commerce Department. That’s an 0.8 percent increase over January, the largest bump in seven months. Personal income also rose, but not as dramatically, at 0.2 percent, or $28.2 billion, and disposable personal income also rose by 0.2 percent.
Obama Adviser Says Jobs Gains Broad-Based Not Weather Driven
Bloomberg | Mar 27
President Barack Obama’s top economist says that U.S. job gains are broad-based and that growth in January and February was not simply the result of inaccurate statistical adjustments or “unseasonably warm weather.” Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, also said small businesses are finding it easier to obtain credit, aiding the recovery. Some have suggested that an unusually warm winter helped propel job gains and the drop in unemployment claims in the first two months of the year, Krueger said in excerpts of remarks prepared for National Association for Business Economists Conference today in Washington. “But the evidence suggests that the recent job gains have been more robust than merely a result of favorable weather,” he said “Although there is a long way to go before the labor market is operating normally, the accumulating evidence should lend confidence to the view that we are on a better path.”
Scientists cite global warming for more heat waves, heavier rainfall
The Seattle Times | Apr 2
On Wednesday, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a 594-page study suggesting that when it comes to weather observations since 1950, there has been a “change in some extremes,” which stem in part from global warming…. “The IPCC report is yet another reminder of the pressing need to tackle climate risk in both the near and long term,” said Mark Way, head of Swiss Re’s sustainable-development activities in the Americas. “Last year in the United States, even with the absence of major hurricane impacts, the insurance industry paid out approximately $35 billion in losses due to weather-related events. Severe weather will continue to impact the economy, and society in general, until we take the necessary measures to increase our resilience.” Although extreme weather in developed countries exacts a higher human toll than in industrialized nations, the high economic cost associated with recent U.S. disasters is shifting more of the financial burden on taxpayers.
One Of The Biggest Myths About The Strong Economy Has Now Been Debunked
Joe Weisenthal (BusinessInsider) | Apr 2
Construction was supposed to be one sector that would OBVIOUSLY benefit from the warm weather, and yet it hasn’t. For the last two months, constructions pending has been negative. Further confirming this number is the fact that construction employment actually fell in the last month.
Warm weather, shrinking labor market lower unemployment
Yale Daily News | Apr 2
For Ivan Sachs, owner of Connecticut-based Cherry Hill Construction Co., this year’s relatively warm winter has helped jump start his 55-year-old, family-run construction and demolition business for the 2012 season. “There was no real, lasting frost this year, so we were able to start post-winter work a bit early,” Sachs said. “Normally we start at the end of March or the first week of April, but this year we began almost a month earlier.”
Warm weather, improved economy bringing out homebuyers and sellers this spring
The Star-Ledger | Apr 1
In the real estate business, there is a budding sense of optimism these days. A warmer winter, a stronger sense of job security and a general feeling that home prices have stopped dropping are fueling a new outlook. “This is extraordinary,” said Jeffrey Otteau, president of the Otteau Valuation Group in East Brunswick. The market is “exploding off the charts, and I’m convinced this is just the early stages of what is yet to come.
The local economy will benefit from a warm spring
Madison Daily Leader | Apr 2
The remarkably warm winter and spring in our area is certainly welcome. There’s nothing wrong with less shoveling, easier driving and an earlier start to spring and summer recreation. But we see some economic benefits that the warm temperatures will bring. We recognize some of these benefits come at the expense of others, but the net gain is positive.