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National
Brutal winter costs economy $50 billion
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Brutal winter costs economy $50 billion

Brutal winter costs economy $50 billion
Photo Credit: Afton Almaraz
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 09: Ice floes fill the Hudson River as the Lower Manhattan skyline is seen during sunset on January 9, 2014 in New York City. A recent cold spell, caused by a polar vortex descending from the Arctic, caused the floes to form in the Hudson. (Photo by Afton Almaraz/Getty Images)

Brutal winter costs economy $50 billion

The winter you won't soon forget is taking its toll on the U.S. economy — in a big way. 

"Bad weather means bad numbers for retailers." (Via KALB)

"Retail sales tumbled in January." (Via KXXV)

"Industrial production down 0.3 percent in January ... The FED was citing the weather." (Via CNBC)

"It's caused the country $15 billion in lost productivity." (Via KOMO)

It's being called "frozenomics," and the impact of the harshest winter in recent memory is affecting the economy across the board. 

First, we had the "polar vortex" in early January. Record cold temperatures literally froze cities across the country.  

A few weeks later, a strong winter storm slammed the South. In Atlanta, ice brought economic activity to a standstill. People were stranded on highways for as long as 20 hours. (Via CBSWXIA)

And now, back-to-back storms in the Northeast have dumped several feet of snow in some places, knocking out power and collapsing roofs. (Via WABC)

A new poll conducted by CNBC estimates the total cost to the economy at $50 billion. Retailers were hit hard as auto, furniture and department sales plunged. Job growth also stalled, and an estimated 80,000 jobs were lost because of the bad weather.

And then there's the airlines. After a strong 2013, they've hit some, well, turbulence. (Via USA Today)

"Thanks to the brutal winter weather we've been seeing, the highest number of flight cancellations in more than 25 years!" (NBC)

And even restaurants are taking a hit. 

"The food industry is also hurting where restaurant owners can only keep their fingers crossed. When the weather comes in like this, a good probably 75 percent of the business for the day is shot." (Via MSNBC)

There are, of course, some businesses that love the cold weather. Snow plowing operations have been raking it in. (Via WCVB)

"I cant wait to get the money and go to Mexico." (NBC)

Utility companies have been doing well as people keep turning up the heat. And natural gas prices have soared over the past couple months. 

Economists are predicting the next quarter to be much better as the weather improves and consumers are actually able to get out of their houses and cars and spend some money. 

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