Irene: An economic blow or boost?

Cumberland Advisors chairman David Kotok saw the storm as likely jolting employment in construction, an industry paralyzed by the bursting of the real estate bubble in 2008.

“We are now upping our estimate of fourth-quarter GDP in the U.S. economy,” he said in an email Sunday. “Billions will be spent on rebuilding and recovery. That will put some people back to work, at least temporarily.”…

Nonetheless, Merritt noted that the increase could be short-lived, as insurance and utility rates should eventually rise to cover the losses associated with the hurricane.