Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Robert Fleck

Committee Member

Dr. Yichen Christy Zhou

Committee Member

Dr. Molly Espey


A substantial amount of research exists on the economic effects of natural disasters and extreme weather, as well as comparatively minor variations in daily weather conditions such as precipitation, temperature, and wind. I construct a sample of over a million storms that range from intense daily weather conditions to extreme weather. I analyze written descriptions of the damages caused by many of these storms to identify 93,743 weather events within the sample that appear to be underemphasized in the existing economic literature. These storms cause more damage and disruptions to commerce than 63.5% of storms in the sample, yet do not inflict enough damage to meet the minimum criteria to be included in databases that track extreme weather. During the twenty-first century, these “moderate” storms occur an average of once a year in 2075 counties in the U.S. Accounting for more intense weather, the average storm is associated with a decrease of .054% in county total payroll and a decline of .047% in county total employment compared to the previous quarter. These storms are expected to decrease total payroll by $186,125.60 and total employment by 16.22 people each quarter in the average county. Total payroll or total employment in most sectors within a county are sensitive to these storms. Most types of moderate storms have a negative effect on total payroll growth, with high temperatures, cyclones, droughts, precipitation, and floods all being associated with the largest decreases in county total payroll. The effects of moderate storms on labor markets appear to primarily be confined to the quarters in which these storms occur.



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