Douglas Thomas is a research economist for the Engineering Laboratory’s Applied Economics Office at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Currently, his activities are focused in two interrelated subjects: manufacturing and construction industry activity and the impact of natural and man-made disasters. His current research on manufacturing and construction activity includes examining spatial and temporal variations in the quality and quantity of industry activity in relation to the domestic and international economy. It utilizes industry data combined with various methods of analysis, including input-output analysis. Work in this area also examines microeconomic issues such as examining the life-cycle cost of buildings and building components in order to identify the most efficient products and practices. This work also includes examining labor productivity within the industries. Douglas’ second key area of research examines the impact of natural and man-made disasters, which includes gathering and analyzing data on the occurrence and economic impact of disasters. Events such as the 2011 Tohoku earthquake or the terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center have significant impacts and implications for industry activity. The 2011 earthquake not only resulted in losses of life and property, it also interrupted manufacturing industry supply chains. Additionally, both the earthquake and the terrorist attack have implications about the construction of buildings and infrastructure and whether current designs are economically efficient given the risk to life and property. Douglas’ work in this area of research aims to prevent and mitigate the loss of life and property due to these types of events.
Applied Economics Office
Western Michigan University