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U.S. economy sheds 33,000 jobs in September, reflecting hurricane damage

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.

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.

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