Hurricanes Harvey and Irma slammed hiring in the U.S. last month, hitting restaurants and bars the hardest. But as Fred Katayama reports, unemployment dropped.
Hurricanes slammed hiring in the U.S. in September. Employment fell by 33,000 jobs. That's the first time that's happened in seven years. The drop surprised economists who on average had been expecting an increase. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma delayed hiring, but the storms didn't impact the unemployment rate, which fell to 4.2 percent. Wages shot higher to 2.9 percent on an annual basis, making the largest gain since last December. That's close to the level needed to raise inflation to the Federal Reserve's target. Wells Fargo Investment Institute's head of global asset strategy Tracie McMillion said, "You really can't put too much stock in this number. It doesn't really change our expectations because it is heavily impacted by the hurricanes Irma and Harvey. We don't think it changes any of our expectations for the Fed, probably a rate increase for December is on its way." The hardest hit sector by the hurricanes: leisure and hospitality. Restaurants and bars lost 105,000 jobs. On the other hand, transportation and warehousing and healthcare added the most to their payrolls. Stocks fell at the market open Friday. The dollar shot higher against the yen and euro, as did the yield on the benchmark 10 year Treasury.