Hurricanes take their toll on USA jobs market

Javier Howell
October 7, 2017

That drop came even as the unemployment rate fell to a 16-year low of 4.2 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday... That rate measures traditional unemployment, but also includes the proportion of discouraged workers who have dropped out of the labor force, and the proportion of workers laboring part-time because they could not find full-time work, or because their work hours were cut back-the so-called involuntary part-time workers.

Economists expected the economy to add about 90,000 jobs last month.

The unemployment rate, which is calculated differently, declined to 4.2 percent in September, from 4.4 percent the previous month.

Economists had expected that nonfarm payrolls would grow by 80,000 during the month with the unemployment rate expected to remain steady at 4.4%.

The fast food sector isn't known for paying its workers a lot of money - despite some recent minimum wage increases across the nation and moves by individual companies like McDonald's to boost hourly wages. At this point in 2015, the average monthly job growth was 209,000 jobs.

The economy lost 33,000 jobs in September, after hurricanes Harvey and Irma damaged crucial economies in Florida and Texas.

The BLS says Hurricane Harvey made landfall august 25, which is prior to the September reference periods for the jobs report, and Hurricane Irma made landfall Sept. 10, within the reference period for both the establishment and household surveys.

The change in temporary help services employment for July was revised from +10,100 to +12,900, and the change for August was revised from +100 to +7,500. The number of unemployed persons declined by 331,000 to 6.8 million.

"We weren't able to do our normal hiring spree that we usually do going into the fall", Harmon said. The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 63.1% and the employment-population ratio increased by 0.3 percentage point to 60.4%. But wages could look good and go up a bit because lower-wage hourly workers usually don't get paid if they don't work, while higher-income salaried workers do. For the year, we've seen a total of 1,379,000 new jobs created since January for a monthly average of +153,000 jobs per month, which is well below the level where we've seen this average in some time. That's true even if those employees returned to work after the storm passed or will return.

Puerto Rico, the USA territory also devastated by the hurricanes, is not counted in the jobs report.

Other reports by Insurance News

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