Economy Sheds Jobs for First Time in Seven Years

By Toni Vranjes

October 6, 2017

The U.S. economy lost 33,000 jobs last month, a decline that was probably attributable to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the Labor Department reported today. It was the first net monthly job loss since 2010.

One hard-hit sector was food services and drinking places, which lost 105,000 jobs “as many workers were off payrolls due to the recent hurricanes,” the department reported. The hurricanes also likely led to “below-trend growth” in certain other industries, according to the report.

These figures were derived from the establishment survey of businesses.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate – which is calculated from a separate household survey – declined from 4.4 percent to 4.2 percent. In that survey, “there was a very large increase in civilian employment that outpaced the increase in the labor force,” said Ben Herzon, senior economist at Macroeconomic Advisers by IHS Markit.

Last month, wages increased by 12 cents, according to the report. Over the year, wages have risen by 2.9 percent.

“Hourly earnings rose sharply, probably because the people who temporarily dropped off payrolls are lower paid than average,” said Ian Shepherdson, an economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, in a Financial Times report.

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