Wall Street's Weathermen

As the hurricane season gets underway (it lasts from June 1 to November 30), NBC-TV weatherman Al Roker and his media counterparts will be keeping an eye on weather systems that spawn major storms. The meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be doing the same.

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”—George Santayana

As the hurricane season gets underway (it lasts from June 1 to November 30), NBC-TV weatherman Al Roker and his media counterparts will be keeping an eye on weather systems that spawn major storms. The meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be doing the same. And so will a growing cadre of weather experts at major banks and Wall Street investment firms. In fact, even as NOAA is paring its work force as a result of computer-based modeling, the private sector is going on a meteorological hiring binge.

According to the US Department of Labor, most of the future job growth for weather forecasters will be in the corporate sector. On Wall Street, the future is already here. Merrill Lynch, UBS, and Lehman Brothers are just a few of the Wall Street investment firms that have full-time meteorologists on board. Newly minted weathermen and women are also finding jobs at companies like candy maker Mars, a major buyer of agricultural products like sugar and cocoa beans.

Hiring a person to predict weather patterns makes sense to Wall Street investment houses. Commodities like wheat, corn, and other grains are especially sensitive to weather whims like drought and floods, and oil and natural gas prices can spike when a tropical storm heads towards the Gulf of Mexico. Stocks can be affected, too, as the fortunes of some weather-sensitive companies rise and fall.

This Spring, for example, clothing retailers suffered from the chilly, damp weather that covered most of the country. If this summer is unusually warm, it could give an added boost to the price of natural gas, which most electric utilities use to generate the juice that powers the country’s air conditioners.

69%Probability that a major hurricane will make landfall along the US coastline in 2008.(ScienceDaily.com, 2008)Read More:

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