Business

JOBS REPORT: Economy Swings Back After Dip From String Of Hurricanes

The economy rebounded in October after a major dip in growth last month following hurricanes Harvey and Irma, according to the jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday.

The economy added 261,000 jobs in October, slightly less than estimates, putting job creation over 300,000. Labor forecasters say the gains reflect a course correction in the economy in the wake of the hurricanes. The economy had shed 33,000 jobs in September, the first time in seven years the economy lost more jobs than it created. The unemployment rate fell slightly from 4.2 to 4.1 percent in October, continuing to hold at the lowest levels in more than a decade.

The labor force participation rate decreased slightly over September numbers to 62.7 percent during President Donald Trump’s ninth full month in office. The rate continues to rest at the lowest levels since the 1970s.

Many of the jobs lost amid hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the hospitality sector came roaring back. The food service industry added 89,000 jobs after losing 98,000 in September.

“Quite a bit of the loss we saw last month was not actually people who permanently lost their jobs, but rather people who did not happen to be paid during that period,” Cathy Barrera, chief economist at the jobs website ZipRecruiter, told The Washington Post. “We’ll see those people come back, plus some real job gains.”

Job gains also occurred in health care, which added 22,000 new jobs and manufacturing, which increased by 24,000 jobs after a slight dip in the previous month.

Wage growth was flat in October, as lower wage workers displaced by the hurricanes got back to their jobs.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen signaled in August that the central bank may raise interest rates before the end of the year, and the strong showing from the economy this month may strengthen the Federal Reserve’s position to adjust rates. U.S. short-term interest rate futures are still showing a 85 percent chance the Federal Reserve will hike rates in December.

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