The modest lift to the economy is expected to come in the first months of 2013. Construction firms, contractors and local governments will hire to rebuild or renovate homes, buildings, roads and bridges that were damaged or destroyed.
“This is going to be a net positive, particularly in the mid-Atlantic,” said Sophia Koropeckyj, managing director Moody’s Economy.com.
Sandy inflicted up to $50 billion in estimated losses from property damage, lost business and additional living costs. The damage was concentrated near the coastlines of New Jersey and New York City.
Construction jobs are especially vital to the economy. Pay is higher than average: At $25.86, average hourly pay tops the average of $23.58 for all U.S. private-sector jobs — and is far above the averages for areas like retail ($16.43) and leisure and hospitality, which includes restaurants and hotel jobs ($13.35).
In addition, job growth in construction typically spurs hiring for other jobs, like architects, real estate agents and sellers of appliances, building materials and office equipment. The stocks of home-improvement retailers like Home Depot (up more than 3 percent) and Lowe’s (up nearly 6 percent) surged last week even as overall stock prices were flat.