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Employment and Self-Employment in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina
Demography (2010)
  • Julie Zissimopoulos, University of Southern California
  • Lynn Karoly, Rand Corporation
We use data from the monthly Current Population Survey to examine the short- and longer-term effects of Hurricane Katrina on the labor market outcomes of prime age individuals in the most affected states—Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi— and for evacuees in any state. We focus on rates of labor force participation, employment, and unemployment and extend prior research by also examining rates of selfemployment. With the exception of Mississippi, employment and unemployment one year after the hurricane were at similar rates as the end of 2003. This aggregate pattern of labor market shock and recovery has been observed for other disasters but masks important differences among subgroups. Those evacuated from their residences, even temporarily, were a harder hit group and even more so for evacuees who had yet to return to their pre-Katrina state up to one year later, findings that hold even after controlling for differences in observable characteristics. We also find evidence of an important role for self-employment as part of post-disaster labor market recovery, especially for evacuees who did not return. This may result from poor job prospects in the wage and salary sector or new opportunities for starting businesses in the wake of Katrina.
Publication Date
May, 2010
Citation Information
Julie Zissimopoulos and Lynn Karoly. "Employment and Self-Employment in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina" Demography Vol. 47 Iss. 2 (2010)
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