U.S. Economy Loses 33,000 Jobs in September 2017 Due to Impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey

BLS Jobs Report

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The United States economy lost 33,000 jobs in September 2017 due to the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey while the unemployment rate declined to 4.2 percent during the month, according to the Employment Situation released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida on September 10 and caused severe damage in Florida and parts of the Southeast. Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on August 25 and resulted in severe damage in Texas and areas of the Gulf Coast. Both hurricanes reduced job estimates for September.

The jobs report for September revealed a steep employment decline in food services and drinking places and below-trend growth in some other industries likely reflecting the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. Employment rose mostly in health care and also transportation and warehousing.

  • Food services and drinking places employment lost 105,000 jobs in September as many workers were off payrolls due to the recent hurricanes. Over the prior 12 months, food services and drinking places had added an average of 24,000 jobs per month.
  • Health care employment added 23,000 jobs in September, in line with its average monthly gain of 27,000 jobs over the prior 12 months.
  • Transportation and warehousing employment increased by 22,000 jobs in September.
  • Professional and business services employment gained 13,000 jobs in September. Over the prior 12 months, job growth in the industry had averaged 50,000 per month.
  • Financial activities employment added 10,000 jobs in September. Over the year, financial activities have added 149,000 jobs.
  • Manufacturing employment lost 1,000 jobs in September. From a recent employment trough in November 2016 through August 2017, the industry had added an average of 14,000 jobs per month.
  • Employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, information, and government, showed little change over the month.

The change in employment for July 2017 was revised from 189,000 to 138,000 jobs added while August 2017 was revised from 156,000 to 169,000 jobs added. With the revisions, employment gains in these two months were 38,000 jobs less than previously reported.

The Employment Situation report is usually released on the first Friday of every month. The Employment Situation for October 2017 is scheduled to be released on November 3, 2017. Until then, the latest jobs report will be available here (PDF).

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