Deep freeze may have cost economy about $5 billion

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Hunkering down at home rather than going to work, canceling thousands of flights and repairing burst pipes from the Midwest to the Southeast has its price.

One estimate from business weather intelligence company Planalytics puts the cost of the polar vortex that gripped much of the country during the past week at $5 billion.

But experts say those impacts aren’t as bad as they sound when compared against the overall economy. Planalytics’ Evan Gold notes $5 billion pales in comparison with an annual gross domestic product of about $15 trillion. It works out to maybe one-seventh to one-eighth of one day’s production for the entire country.

And, Gold says, there were bottom lines that benefited, including those of on-demand cable TV and restaurant delivery services.

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