The US economy in September lost more jobs than it created for the first time in seven years, the Labor Department said Friday in its monthly report.
Amid the extensive damage caused by the hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the labor market lost 33,000 jobs last month, though the unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent.
“Although the headline number for September is a loss of jobs, the first in seven years, the labor market remains in good shape,” PNC chief economist Gus Faucher said in a statement.
“The job losses were due to disruptions from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, not underlying weakness in the economy,” Faucher added.
“Job growth should resume in October as the impact of the storms fades, and in fact will get a boost through the rest of this year and into 2018 because of rebuilding efforts, supported by federal aid and insurance payments,” Faucher said.
Most of the job losses occurred in the leisure-and-hospitality sector, which shed 111,000 jobs, the most dating back to at least 1945
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said “it’s clear from this jobs report that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma not only devastated communities in Texas and Florida, they devastated their local economies as well.”
“By passing a budget that paves the way for tax reform, the House took a major step yesterday toward creating more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks,” Brady said.
“In the weeks ahead, the Ways and Means Committee will move forward with pro-growth, pro-middle-class tax reform legislation that Congress will ultimately send to the President’s desk this year, for the first time in 31 years.”
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said “the devastation of the hurricanes has laid bare the corrosive effect of the Republican Congress’ total refusal to act on jobs and wages for working families.”
“Republicans should abandon their job-killing giveaways for the richest and focus on raising wages and creating jobs for hard-working Americans,” she said.
“Instead, the GOP is pushing a budget that would devastate America’s investments in good-paying jobs, growing wages and dignified retirements — all to fast-track deficit-exploding, multi-trillion dollar tax breaks for the wealthiest 1 percent.”
Job growth in August and July was revised down, to 38,000 less than previously reported.