Nearly three years ago, Hurricane Sandy blasted our eastern shore. In some regards it seems like yesterday that our world was washed away by the great Atlantic, and other days we look around and see how great our community has pieced together the destruction. Many people walked the boardwalk and sought the sites of the iconic Jersey Shore before the storm, and after the disaster many people wondered if the Shore would ever be the same. Of all four counties along the coast, Monmouth and Ocean Counties got hit the hardest.

Just after the storm, Gov. Chris Christie said it was his mission to rebuild the Shore to its former glory. And rebuild it we did! Though it is not the same as before. Many people took the disaster and sought opportunity, transforming the Shore as artists transform blank canvases.

The U.S. Department of Commerce (USDC) conducted a study in 2013 on the impact Hurricane Sandy had on our economy – not the dollar damage of the storm but, rather, the damage to economic activity. To start, it is noted that the New Jersey Shore was the state’s economic engine, bringing in most of the state’s $35.5 billion in tourism. And it is this area that took the largest hit. The USDC noted that the immediate recovery of business fronts and homes would be completed in a short time frame, saying the immediate help from FEMA and community support would expedite this recovery process. However, full economic recovery from this storm is not expected until the end of 2016.

The largest economic industries that were harmed by the storm included food services, retail, accommodations, performing arts, and transportation services – totaling an estimated loss of $950 million in the tourism industry. Through disaster and destruction, Preferred Limousine was one company that sought to transform this new, blank canvas and use it to rebuild the transportation industry in Ocean and Monmouth Counties. We won’t let this disaster overcome us.

Businesses were largely impacted by power outages and road destruction, making it impossible to get to the job or to get the job done.

Nearly everything was shut down in the week or two immediately following the storm, but 80% of businesses that had closed were opened again after week two. Yet in those two weeks alone, nearly $1 billion in revenue was lost. As we have noticed in the report above, while the dollars took a large hit, the employment rate increased. The USDC states that in “the counties of Ocean, Monmouth, Middlesex and Sommerset, there was an actual employment increase of 2.4 percent in Accommodations and Food Services (which account for roughly 2.4 percent in the Travel and Tourism Industries).”

The economic hit that these tourism businesses took was a one-time slam. Everything is looking up! With such destruction comes the permanent loss of jobs, estimated at about 11,000 total. Yet where there is darkness, there is light. The loss of 11,000 jobs was replenished with the need to rebuild. The construction industry boomed and hired approximately 70,000 workers. The immediate damage to the tourism industry was destructive, but the loss of profit in those fields was made up through the construction industry.

Altogether, the destruction of Hurricane Sandy will never be forgotten. It is with the great community we have here in Monmouth and Ocean Counties that we have rebuilt our Shore life so quickly. While we suffered a hard hit, we recovered with new jobs and new life for the Jersey Shore. If you’d like a tour of the Jersey Shore to see how life has changed, call Preferred Limousine to rent a car or limo.

“Economic Impact of Hurricane Sandy,” U.S. Department of Commerce. Sept. 2013.