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Flash Estimate: Impact of West Coast Port Shutdown

On October 7, 2002 we released an analysis indicating the likely impact on earnings of US persons of a 4-week shutdown of the ports on the West Coast of the United States organized by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). The full text of the report, which included 8 pages of narrative and a 2-page table detailing the effects on workers, producers, and consumers, was made available on our web site and summarized in a 1-page press release to various news organizations.

We concluded at that time that, assuming a 4-week shutdown, the income of US persons would be reduced by $4.79 billion. We noted that this was a preliminary estimate, but one based on an actual analysis of base data on trade and earnings directly affected. We also noted at that time that our efforts to review the source of the widely-quoted “$1 billion a day” and “$2 billion a day” had failed to produce a single publicly-released analysis.

As summarized by the chronology at the end of this paper, the shutdown ended with Federal intervention that began the same day as our report was released.

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