Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

We flood. Businesses are in our area. It is not surprising that a sizable percentage of them are subject to flooding. That is until you see the money lost potential.

More than 42,509 businesses, representing more than half a million workers and $7.2 billion in wages, could be affected by hurricane storm surge in flood zones across Louisiana. As such, Louisiana is the most at risk for the economy to be disrupted by hurricane damages, according to new research by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics through its Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data for third quarter 2020. There are roughly 1,900 businesses, alongside 22,250 workers whose $290.7 million in wages would be at risk if a Category 1 hurricane made landfall in Louisiana. The BLS said those are conservative estimates, based on storm surge flood zones. Another 19,019 establishments are in the path of a Category 2 storm, 217,306 workers with $2.7 billion in wages. A Category 3 storm would put 18,794 establishments at risk, 244,014 workers with $3.6 billion in wages. While it would take a Category 4 strength storm to reach the remaining 2,770 establishments further inland with 36,152 workers with $527 million in wages. The remaining 94,975 establishments across the state are projected to not be impacted by such events, which includes 1.3 million workers and $16.7 billion in wages.

It is not surprising that some parishes are more threatened than others. We also have seen parishes with similar ratings for storm damage hit harder than others. Lake Charles is a perfect case, getting hit 2-3 times in a row while we did not get hurt hard.

Lafourche Parish had the largest percentage of total wages which could be impacted by hurricanes with upwards of 94% in the potential path of a destructive storm, which was $395 million across 29,882 workers and 1,883 establishments. In Orleans Parish, it was 93.5% of total wages in hurricane flood zones, or $2.2 billion, split among 149,392 workers and 12,720 establishments. The remaining 1,562 establishments, representing 9,397 workers and $156.6 million in total quarterly wages are not affected, according to the data. Terrebonne Parish was ranked fourth, with 93.3% of wages being at risk. Jefferson Parish was ranked fifth nationally, with nearly $2.1 billion in wages in hurricanes flood zones, or 92.9%, split among 159,608 workers and 13,344 businesses. St. John the Baptist Parish was sixth nationally and Assumption Parish was seventh. Ascension Parish had $529.8 million in wages at risk, or 89%, across 36,836 workers and 2,696 establishments. The remaining 517 establishments were not considered to be affected representing 5,329 workers and $65.3 million in wages.

Of the seven top parishes or counties nationwide, we had six of them. Currituck, North Carolina, just above the Outer Banks, was the only one not local.

One-Third of LA Businesses are in the Flood Zone
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