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Jobs fall in September, reflecting impact of hurricanes

by Loretta Clodfelter

The unemployment rate fell 20 basis points to 4.2 percent in September, but jobs fell in the month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The double whammy of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma left an impact on the BLS’ estimation of nonfarm payrolls.

The total nonfarm employment fell 33,000 in September, led by declines in food services and drinking establishments (down 105,000 jobs). During the past year, an average of 172,000 jobs have been added to the U.S. economy each month. Total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised up from 156,000 to 169,000.

The BLS report notes, “A sharp employment decline in food services and drinking places and below-trend growth in some other industries likely reflected the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.” Hurricane Harvey struck Texas after the review period in August, while Hurricane Irma struck Florida during the September review period.

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