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16 November 2005

Experian study analyses Katrina impact

Experian USA will be conducting a study to track the outstanding payable balances of 635,000 businesses, the large majority of which are small businesses employing fewer than 50 people. The data will be broken down by major sector, SIC codes, and size and age of the businesses, as well as geographically. So far, it is known that businesses in the affected areas had outstanding payables of $40 billion. Repayment on invoices and debt is a way of tracking business recovery.
This is a good thing, but only a fly's-eye view of the whole economic picture, in my opinion. (Trust me! I have a bachelor's degree - in Economics!) In order to pay off debt and try to claw a way back into the marketplace, many small businesses will slash staff. This will of course have a ripple effect. Already my relatives in the area tell about the impossibility of booking any motel accommodation for at least a year. They were all snatched up in the first weeks by insurance, consulting and construction firms flocking into the Gulf region to work on, and no doubt profit from, the recovery. I have nothing against profit, of course, but this does rather leave the remaining residents "high and dry" (sick wordplay, I confess) when it comes to jobs and housing. The study is not measuring any of this, but somebody should be.

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