The U.S. economy had added an average of 176,000 new jobs a month so far this year but as the labor department had predicted the storms, which caused fatal and catastrophic damage across Texas and Florida, slowed hiring.
But a loss in jobs was far worse than the 80,000 new jobs most U.S. economists had expected would be created. It ends the longest stretch of uninterrupted jobs growth in U.S. history. This was the first loss in jobs since September 2010.
Ahead of Friday’s jobs report the Bureau of Labor Statistics said some 11.2 million workers lived in the affected areas, about 7.7 percent of the U.S. workforce.
Employment in food services and drinking places declined by 105,000 in September. That sector has added an average of 24,000 jobs a month over the past 12 months.
The unemployment rate, which was 4.4 percent in August, fell to 4.2 percent, a 16-year low.
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