SACRAMENTO - Throughout Sacramento's current abnormally warm and dry spell, locals have been able to do things outside generally reserved for spring and summer. In addition to allowing for strolls along the river or spending afternoons at the park, the moderate climate is actually contributing to the local economy.

On in the East Coast, where the deep freeze there is expected to cost the U.S. economy up to $5 billion, according to business weather forecaster Planalytics.

That number is generated because millions of Americans have not been able to drive to work, travel by air or train to go on vacations or attend business meetings, or even go to the mall to do some shopping and take their family out for dinner and a movie, Planalytics explains.

According to Planalytics, the East Coast deep freeze is also hurting the economy in the sense that people are paying more for heat. This week, natural gas prices in New York City rose by nearly $60 per million BTU's. The weather has driven demand for heating fuel in that region to a 5-year high.

The cold weather could even impact this week's jobs report due out Friday. Construction employment and auto sales are among the industries expected to take a hit.

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