With the Obama administration continuing to blame the poor economic growth in the first quarter on the weather, it seemed useful to include a few facts. Sure, it is certainly plausible that bad weather can impact GDP, but neither cold weather or bad snow storms seem to have a really noticeable impact. More importantly at the end of the piece I offer a way to test if Obama is right about the claim. My newest piece at Fox News start this way:
The economy took a bad hit during the first quarter this year. It shrunk at an annual rate of 2.96 percent. Since the beginning of 1947, there are only 16 of the 268 quarters experienced worse growth.
The Obama administration blames the slow growth on the “historically severe winter weather, which temporarily lowered growth.” Jason Furman, the chair of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, made this assertion again on July 3 and President Obama has made this claim several times.
But that doesn’t square with the historic data. The five worst winter storms or winters with the coldest temperatures do not match economic downturns.
In a list of the worst United States winter storms since 1888, Epic Disasters, using National Weather Service data, lists five of the ten worst occurring since 1947. Four of the five saw economic growth. Only during the fifth worst stormdid the economy shrink. The average annualized GDP growth during the quarters when those storms struck was 1.8 percent. . . . .