Published: Sat, October 07, 2017
Economy | By Guillermo Lane

U.S. economy loses jobs in September for first time 2010

U.S. economy loses jobs in September for first time 2010

"Our analysis suggests that the net effect of these hurricanes was to reduce the estimate of total nonfarm payroll employment for September", according to the monthly release.

The US has been experiencing one of the longest stretches of job creation in its history, with the economy adding a monthly average of more than 170,000 over the past year.

On a more positive note, America's rate of unemployment rate, which is derived from the separate so-called "Household survey", fell sharply, retreating from 4.4% to 4.2%. In the last 12 months, the industry expanded by an average of 24,000 jobs per month. In all, though, 2017 thus far has seen the slowest jobs growth in at least five years.

The U.S. lost 33,000 jobs in September, despite expectations that tens of thousands of jobs would be added.

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.

Interestingly, while this dynamic temporarily whacks jobs, it artificially boosts wage growth.

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Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said: "Unemployment is what matters, and this report therefore makes a December rate hike even more likely". Employees who weren't paid during the Labor Department's survey week (of September 12) were not counted as employed.

Nationwide, an alternative barometer of the labor force that includes not only the unemployed but also part-time workers who'd prefer full-time jobs, fell to 8.3 percent.

Economists expect the job market to rebound from the hurricane damage in coming months as workers get back to their jobs and rebuilding begins. That's true even if those employees returned to work after the storm passed or will return.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised the previous month's number up to 169,000 from 156,000 originally reported for August. However, real wages - the buying power of workers' earnings with inflation taken into account - have declined 7.5 percent since 2006.

As a result of damages from rainfall and heavy flooding due to Hurricane Harvey, CB&I was forced to close its fabrication services shop in Beaumont.

With that said, BLS says the hurricanes made no notable impact on the employment report other than reducing the estimate of total non-farm payroll employment for the month.

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