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Jobs report misses big after hurricanes

Business Insider logo Business Insider 10/6/2017 Akin Oyedele

Video by CNBC

The US economy in September lost more jobs than it created for the first time in seven years due to the damage caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Nonfarm payrolls fell by 33,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in its monthly report on Friday.

Most of the losses occurred in the leisure and hospitality sector. It shed 111,000 jobs, the most dating back to at least 1945.

Economists had expected the hurricanes that slammed into the US mainland to slow hiring. Puerto Rico is not included in the BLS's report.

The consensus forecast according to Bloomberg was for 80,000 nonfarm payrolls. One forecaster saw a net loss of 45,000 jobs, illustrating how wide the range of estimates was. According to UBS, the standard deviation of September payroll forecasts was twice as high as it's been in the past.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.2%, the lowest level since February 2001. The BLS said the hurricanes had "no discernible effect" on this rate.

Wage growth was unexpectedly strong. Average hourly earnings jumped by 2.9% year-on-year, but could have been affected by many low-wage employees staying away from work because of the hurricanes.

The labor-force participation rate rose to 63.1% from 62.9%.


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