Hurricanes Take a Toll, but an Unemployment Milestone

Job seekers listen to a recruiter at the Colorado Hospital Association job fair in Denver Colorado U.S

Job seekers listen to a recruiter at the Colorado Hospital Association job fair in Denver Colorado U.S

US job growth probably slowed further in September as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma left displaced workers temporarily unemployed and delayed hiring, the latest indication that the storms undercut economic activity in the third quarter. For both surveys, national estimates do not include Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Teasing out the exact impact of the storms is tricky. September's job loss is not expected to turn into a trend.

The unemployment rate dropped to 4.2%, its lowest since February 2001. At this point in 2015, the average monthly job growth was 209,000 jobs.

In spite of the weak-looking payrolls number, the unemployment rate fell to 4.2% in September, from 4.4% in August.

Growth estimates for the July-September period are as low as a 1.8 percent annualized rate.

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

The storm-damaged September jobs report featured a top-line decline of 33,000 jobs, the first decline since September 2010.

The huge lines of people that showed up at Amazon's nationwide led some commentators to suggest that there are droves of people who need jobs, so the economy must not be anywhere near full employment. The food service industry lost 105,000 jobs.

Average hourly wages rose 2.9 percent from a year earlier, a solid gain.

Teenager unemployment declined 0.7 percentage points to 12.9 percent.

Employment in transportation and warehousing increased by 22,000 in September.

Still, those gains managed to top economist expectations for an addition of 125,000 jobs.

Employment in financial activities changed little in September (+10,000).

Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist with Glassdoor, wrote in a report that the September wage growth number "was likely artificially boosted" by anomalies in the data due to Harvey and Irma.

Economists have forecast that employers added just 80,000 jobs last month, barely half the 156,000 they added in August, according to data provider FactSet. Those stores added 5,300 jobs, even as retailing overall lost 2,900 in the month. President Trump was quick, however, to take credit for the numbers once he took office.

Since that low, new manufacturing jobs have been created requiring increased skills because of increased automation and technology in factories. Over a four-year term that would require 6,250,000 per year, for an average of 521,000 new jobs per month.

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