JPMorgan Chase Institute

Weathering Natural Disasters

Research and insights about how Hurricanes Harvey and Irma affected local economies


Impacts of natural disasters Impacts of natural disasters

In the wake of two especially damaging natural disasters, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the JPMorgan Chase Institute (JPMCI) analyzed the impact of these events on consumer financial outcomes, small business resilience, and local consumer commerce in Miami and Houston to understand how they affected local economies in the weeks and months after landfall. Together, these reports shed light on the financial experiences and decisions of consumers and small businesses before, during, and after the storms. The findings provide insight into the financial resilience of these communities, and reveal important takeaways for individuals, businesses, and policymakers. By learning from past natural disasters, leaders can better prepare for and respond to future natural disasters.

Key Findings:


  • Hurricanes Harvey and Irma represented a major financial disruption for families and businesses.
  • While consumers and small businesses in both Houston and Miami may have seen inflows and outflows return to normal and hence healthy balances, they continue to see significant welfare impacts. Consumers spent significantly less on both healthcare and debt payments. Both consumers and small businesses may be preparing for or continuing to pay for construction repairs.
  • Harvey’s impact on Houston was negative across all three of our data lenses, leading to a near-total halt in commerce across Houston’s geography, business size, income, and demographics. Irma’s impact differed from that of Harvey, with less pronounced declines in local commerce during the month of landfall.

The JPMorgan Chase Institute leverages the firm’s proprietary transaction data to develop economic insights for the public good. For this research, we assembled data assets that included nearly 1 million households, 40,000 small businesses, and 24 billion anonymized card transactions within the Houston and Miami metropolitan areas during the weeks and months before a major natural disaster, with the goal of providing a high-frequency lens into the financial impact of these hurricanes.

Research Reports

Woman walking through flood

Weathering the Storm:

The Financial Impacts of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on One Million Households

The JPMorgan Chase Institute draws on transaction-level data to provide a first-ever daily look at the impacts of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on household financial outcomes.


Read the Report  “Weathering the Storm: The Financial Impacts of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on One Million Households”

 

Small business in a storm

Bend, Don’t Break:

Small Business Financial Resilience After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

This report aims to assess the impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma on small businesses inflows, outflows, and balances through November 2017.


Read the Report  “Bend but Don’t Break: Small Business Financial Resilience after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma”

 

Local consumer commerce graph

Local Consumer Commerce in the Wake of a Hurricane

To better understand the impact and scope of the local commerce slowdowns due to hurricane landfall, the JPMorgan Chase Institute leverages the monthly Local Consumer Commerce Index.


Read the Report Local Consumer Commerce in the Wake of a Hurricane

 



Data Visualization: Concentration of severely impacted firms in Houston and Miami after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

We explore the financial impact of Harvey and Irma at the zip code level by identifying the share of “small businesses that experienced severe year-over-year weekly inflow losses.

View the Data Visualization  “Concentration of severely impacted firms in Houston and Miami”