Economy Posts First Job Losses in Seven Years

07 October, 2017, 00:17 | Author: Regina Lloyd
  • Economy Posts First Job Losses in Seven Years

A separate survey of employers showed that payrolls were battered by hurricanes Harvey and Irma in August and September.

For technical reasons about how the different surveys are conducted, the unemployment rate was probably not affected by the storms, and it fell to 4.2 percent last month, its lowest rate in more than 16 years. Bars and restaurants lost 105,000 jobs, for example.

The unemployment rate is at 4.2 percent, and the number of unemployed persons is at 6.8 million, which is 0.2 percentage points down from the previous month's 4.4 percent unemployment rate and 7 million unemployed persons. Average hourly earnings ratcheted up 0.5% to a year-over-year +2.9%, which is not insignificant.

Goods-producing employment rose by 9,000 jobs during the month, as gains in construction led by adding 8,000 jobs in September. Businesses destroyed or that could not be contacted by the Labor Department because of storm damage would affect the jobs numbers as well.

ThinkMarkets analyst Naeem Aslam said the earnings figure showed "that job market slack is fading".

The civilian labor force participation rate was 63.1%, an improvement from August's 62.9% rate.

Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said: "Unemployment is what matters, and this report therefore makes a December rate hike even more likely".




Hourly workers who couldn't work and missed a paycheck would have been counted as not working, thereby lowering September's job total. That suggests that pay could be picking up, even excluding the storms, and encouraging more people to look for work.

The Department of Labor released its hiring and unemployment report for the month of September Friday, and it's bad news for President Trump.

The storms' effects are easy to detect in the underlying figures. In fact, the bureau reports that more than 11 million workers were employed in FEMA-designated disaster areas, amounting to nearly 8 percent of the nation's employment.

It is the first decline in the number since September 2010. At the current average for the year-to-date, it would take more than 13 years.

The national estimates do not incorporate employment data from Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida on September 10-during the reference period for both the establishment and household surveys-causing severe damage in Florida and other parts of the Southeast.

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