Fed chief: NYC area lost billions daily in Sandy aftermath

Vanessa Estevez, of Rockville Centre, stands in her

Vanessa Estevez, of Rockville Centre, stands in her family's business, Long Beach Food Center, in Island Park. High winds ripped the door from the establishment and flooded the store when superstorm Sandy hit Long Island. (Oct. 30, 2012) (Credit: Newsday / Amanda Voisard)

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The economy of the metropolitan region was set back, at least temporarily, by superstorm Sandy, New York's top banker said Thursday.

William C. Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, estimated that commercial activity in the New York City-area shrank $3.8 billion each day that business was disrupted. Dudley didn't estimate how many complete days of business activity had been lost due to Sandy. However, several economists interviewed by Newsday said the New York region had lost at least two days.

Dudley pegged the size of the New York region's economy at $1.4 trillion.

He said some of the economic loss in specific areas would not be regained, though over the long term the region should bounce back.

"While the storm had many severe effects ... I do not expect the storm will derail the region's ongoing economic expansion," Dudley told about 200 students and alumni at Pace University in Manhattan.

Still, he said unemployment on Long Island and in New York City remains too high. He also expressed concern about consumer indebtedness.

In terms of Sandy, Dudley said "the damage and disruptions from the storm appear more extensive and longer-lasting than first anticipated."

He noted that every factory surveyed by the Fed for a regional index reported being impacted by Sandy, with 40 percent of them shutdown or crippled for five days.

"In a services-based economy, much activity cannot be shifted in time: restaurants, for instance, can't serve six meals a day to make up for lost business," he said.

Separately, Dudley singled out D'Addairo & Co., the East Farmingdale-based guitar string maker, as an example of a U.S. company successfully selling products around the globe.

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