Quake gets the hype, but Irene will have last laugh

Since the 1850s, there have been 12 hurricane strikes in New York state (according to a WSJ graphic in today’s paper).

That makes Irene soon-to-be-lucky number 13.

The word is that New Yorkas are more concerned about potential earthquake aftershocks than about the impending arrival of a storm packing a projected 115-mph punch. Lets not be silly, folks.

The local economy is fragile: as we saw earlier this week, employment prospects are improving in Westchester, but the retail market is still waiting for a sign from consumers, and as they say, consumer spending drives revenue and business growth.

Hurricanes, on the other hand, drive up gas prices and insurance costs. Is Irene going to cripple the local economy? Nah, but it’s not going to do it any favors either.

Don’t be surprised if gas prices stay elevated for longer than usual (despite the breakthrough in Libya) and if retailers feel the strain as a result.