US hiring falls 33,000 after hurricanes slam Texas, Florida

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. lost 33,000 jobs in September after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit Texas, Florida and other Southeastern states.

It was the first decline in six years. The Labor Department says the unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent from 4.4 percent, the lowest level since February 2001.

Looking past the hurricanes’ impact, the job market and economy generally look healthy.

Some economists expect job growth to rebound in the coming months as businesses in the area reopen and construction companies ramp up repair and renovation work.

Last month’s drop was driven by huge losses in a restaurants and bars, which shed 105,000 jobs, a sign of the damage to Florida’s tourism industry.

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