A quarter of Texas businesses say the heat wave has hurt them

Record temperatures in Texas this year are making businesses sweat.

In a new survey of 352 Texas business managers conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, nearly 25% said revenue and production had either fallen slightly or significantly due to warmer temperatures in recent months. Of those, 38% say the difficulty of operating in extreme temperatures is the main factor in lower revenue.

The impact of higher temperatures is undeniable, said Ray Berryman, an economist in Waco.

“There is no doubt that the heatwave has had measurable economic effects,” Berryman said. “The results of the Fed’s survey are very much in sync with our quantitative analysis. There are winners, like utilities and air-conditioning repair, and losers, like insurance companies, but in balance, there is a net loss for the economy.

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Lauren Neate, the Dallas-based director of digital marketing and e-commerce strategies for Kate Weiser Chocolate, said the company had to subject its product to temperatures of up to 120 degrees during testing to determine packaging and ice packs that could keep it cold.

“We even considered stopping charging completely during this weather, but luckily we didn’t have to,” Nate said. “I think it was because we were prepared for how hot it was supposed to get. We had planned for a good six weeks how we would know what to do.

Retailers said they were the most affected, with 30.5% saying that the heat wave negatively affected business. Construction companies have also had to turn to wearable sensors to protect employees from the heat.

Even companies like Six Flags have had to adapt. According to Roxanne Butler, director of marketing and public relations for Six Flags Over Texas, this year the company added more shade structures and seating areas, a new water sprinkler system in the Bugs Bunny Boomtown shade area and misting fans as a result of the heat.

Restaurants weren’t safe from the effects of the heat wave, either. The industry has seen fewer customers dine in, with traffic down 3 to 5 percent compared to last summer, according to OpenTable.

According to an analysis by the Berryman Group, Texas could lose nearly $400 billion in real GDP in 2050 if temperatures remain one degree above the historical average.

“The long-term effects of this heat wave are likely to dissipate and be relatively minimal,” Berryman said. “However, if the weather continues to be similar over time, the compounding effects will be very significant.”

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