September Jobs Report: 33,000 Jobs Lost As Hurricane Stifles Growth

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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The hurricanes that battered Texas, Florida and a number of other states caused job creation to significantly dip in September, according to the jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday.

The economy lost 33,000 jobs in September, marking the first time in seven years the economy lost more jobs than it created, which labor forecasters attribute to the damage done by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Despite the dismal jobs figures, the unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent, the lowest level since February 2001.

The labor force participation rate increased slightly over August numbers to 63.1 percent during President Donald Trump’s eighth full month in office. The rate continues to rest at the lowest levels since the 1970s.

Much of the declines in employment were reflected in economic sectors highly impacted by the hurricanes. The hospitality sector lost 111,000 jobs, a decline not seen since 1945 according to Business Insider. The food service industry lost 105,000 jobs.

Job gains occurred in health care, which added 23,000 new jobs and transportation, which increased by 22,000 jobs. The manufacturing sector shed 1,000 jobs after averaging gains of 14,000 new jobs each month since Nov. 2016.

Wage growth spiked by 2.9 percent over last September’s jobs report, which forecasters say is likely impacted by the many low wage workers who’s jobs were affected by the hurricanes.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen signaled in August that the central bank may raise interest rates before the end of the year, and the drop in unemployment may strengthen the Federal Reserve’s position to adjust rates. U.S. short-term interest rate futures are still showing a 75 percent chance the Federal Reserve will hike rates in December.

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