Hurricanes and Unemployment
I'm always one to point out that bad hurricane seasons in the Gulf of Mexico are usually accompanied by good crops in West Africa. The "Golden Years" of coastal real estate in Florida, the 1980s, are universally remembered as "Hungry Time" in West Africa.
And then we all heard the brutal (but correct) argument that disasters are good for certain sectors--for example, there was a boom in hiring last year in Florida and Louisiana in the construction and cleaning sectors...
So here's something more: Tel Quel recently reported that Morocco's unemployment rate has hit an historic low. At 9.8 percent, the first time below the 10 percent threshold in nearly a decade, the rate compares favorably with Spain, France, and Germany, all of which have double-digit unemployment rates.
Why is Morocco's unemployment rate so low? Well, here's another statistic: The urban rate remains at the norm of 13.5 percent, but the rural rate is down to 3.5 percent. In other words, it's harvesting season in Morocco and there a bumper crops. Most economists would have put "seasonally adjusted" before "13.5 percent" and kept the old number.
No doubt the numbers point as much to low mechanization in the agriculture sector as they do to high yields, but I prefer to look on the sunny side. My people in Northern Ghana also tell me the rains have come early and strong there, so look out Florida!