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Job growth and loss across sectors and time in the western US: The impact of large wildfires

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  • Nielsen-Pincus, Max
  • Moseley, Cassandra
  • Gebert, Krista

Abstract

The link between economic growth and natural hazards has long been studied to better understand the effects of natural hazards on local, regional, and country level growth patterns. However, relatively little generalizable research has focused on wildfires, one of the most common forest disturbances in the western United States (US). We examined the effect of large wildfires on employment growth across sectors and time in the western US. We matched wildfire occurrences from 2004 to 2008 and their duration with monthly employment data to identify the effect of wildfire on employment growth. Wildfires generally tended to exhibit positive effects on employment during the periods that suppression efforts were active. However, the overall positive effect masks winners and losers across sectors — such as natural resources and mining and leisure and hospitality, respectively. The overall positive effect then transitioned to a negative drag on local employment growth for a period of up to two years following the wildfire. We explore reasons why some sectors win while others lose and explanations for the lingering effects of a large wildfire on the economy as a whole.

Suggested Citation

  • Nielsen-Pincus, Max & Moseley, Cassandra & Gebert, Krista, 2014. "Job growth and loss across sectors and time in the western US: The impact of large wildfires," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 199-206.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:forpol:v:38:y:2014:i:c:p:199-206
    DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2013.08.010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Yu Xiao, 2011. "Local Economic Impacts Of Natural Disasters," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(4), pages 804-820, October.
    2. Ariel R. Belasen & Solomon W. Polachek, 2008. "How Hurricanes Affect Wages and Employment in Local Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 49-53, May.
    3. Mark Skidmore & Hideki Toya, 2002. "Do Natural Disasters Promote Long-Run Growth?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 664-687, October.
    4. Ariel R. Belasen & Solomon W. Polachek, 2009. "How Disasters Affect Local Labor Markets: The Effects of Hurricanes in Florida," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(1).
    5. Bradley Ewing & Jamie Kruse & Mark Thompson, 2009. "Twister! Employment responses to the 3 May 1999 Oklahoma City tornado," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(6), pages 691-702.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pugliese, Andrew & McCann, Laura & Artz, Georgeanne, 2015. "Impacts of national forests in the West on county population and employment," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 62-69.
    2. Jianhong E. Mu & Yong Chen, 2016. "Impacts of large natural disasters on regional income," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 83(3), pages 1485-1503, September.
    3. repec:seb:journl:v:17:y:2019:i:1:p:7-31 is not listed on IDEAS

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