- Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria not only ravaged Texas, Florida and other regions of the U.S. — they also may have taken 33,000 jobs with them, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' September jobs report. At the same time, the unemployment rate dropped to 4.2%. State job figures, which could shed more light on the situation, will be out October 20.
- A U.S. News & World Report account of the summary says last month's employment situation was the first time businesses dropped that many jobs since they were emerging from recession in 2011. The leisure and hospitality sectors of the economy lost 111,000 jobs, offsetting any job gains in other categories during the period. Manufacturing lost just 1,000 jobs, information services lost 9,000 and retail lost 2,900.
- There were job increases, however, in transportation and warehousing (22,000), financial services (10,000), and health care and social assistance (13,000). Average hourly earning also rose 2.9% to $26.55.
Leisure and hospitality may have lost big numbers when workers evacuated for hurricanes or when employers were unable to open for business. Many hospitality employees are paid on an hourly basis and generally need not be paid on days they don't work, regardless of the reason. Long-term business closures may have effectively resulted in mass furloughs but as businesses reopen, the economy could regain those jobs.
The wage increase is also worth noting. As unemployment remains near record lows, employers appear to be using better wages to attract talent. The move isn't exactly unexpected, as employers like Target have been touting increased wages as they head into the seasonal hiring months.