Economy Watch: US Lost 33K Jobs Due to Harvey, Irma

The number of jobs lost in September compares to the average gain of 172,000 jobs per month over the last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The U.S. economy lost 33,000 jobs in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday. That compares with an average gain of 172,000 jobs per month over the last 12 months. The bureau’s analysis suggests that the net effect of the recent devastating hurricanes was to reduce the estimate of total payroll employment for September.

For the month, a steep employment decline in food services and drinking places and below-average growth in some other industries reflected the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. Employment rose in health care and in transportation and warehousing.

The headline unemployment rate edged down to 4.2 percent. The hurricanes, according to the bureau, didn’t impact the unemployment rate in any significant way. The more expansive U-6 unemployment rate—total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force and those employed part-time who want full-time work—came in at 8.3 percent, down from 8.6 percent.

In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private payrolls rose by 12 cents to $26.55, which points to labor shortages in some industries. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 74 cents, or 2.9 percent. For the month, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and non-supervisory employees increased by 9 cents to $22.23.