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The U.S. economy lost 33,000 jobs in September while the unemployment rate fell to 4.2%, compared with economist expectations of 75,000 new jobs and a 4.4% jobless rate.

Last month was the first in seven years when the U.S. economy lost jobs. It bled 52,000 jobs in September of 2010.

Expand chart
Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Chris Canipe / Axios
  • Economists widely blame the disruptive effects of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey for the disappointing number, because the survey methodology dictates that folks who didn't get paid on the pay period that included September 12th are not counted as employed.
  • But the report also revised down the two previous monthly estimates of job growth, suggested the slowdown is not all weather related.

Why the unemployment rate fell: The jobs report is actually a collection of two different surveys, one of businesses that gives us the number of job gains or losses, and a survey of households, from which the unemployment rate is devised. The household survey showed a huge increase in jobs, further bolstering the case that September's number are largely a hurricane-related fluke.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Army to award Purple Hearts to troops injured in Iran missile attack

Damage at Ain al-Asad military airbase housing U.S. and other foreign troops in the western Iraqi province of Anbar in January 2020. Photo: Ayman Henna/AFP via Getty Images

The Army has approved 39 more Purple Hearts for U.S. soldiers wounded in an Iranian military ballistic missile attack on an Iraq base in January 2020, the Army Times first reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: Most of these soldiers sustained brain injuries, per the Army Times. Then-President Trump dismissed their injuries at the time as "headaches" and "not very serious," sparking backlash from some veterans groups.

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems invoke Robert Byrd to sell Manchin on Senate rules changes

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Diana Walker, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A small group of Senate Democrats is privately invoking the legacy of late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd in an effort to sway Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support their plans to change the chamber's rules, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Manchin — who holds Byrd's Senate seat — has often referenced his predecessor's strong moral conviction and insistence on preserving the Senate as an institution, as justification for some of his tough positions.