U.S. employment drops 33,000 in September; jobless rate 4.2%
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The U.S. workforce shrank by 33,000 jobs in September as employment was undercut by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It was the first contraction in seven years. Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted a 75,000 increase in nonfarm jobs, but estimates were all over the map because of uncertainty about the effects of the storms. The unemployment rate, which was not impacted by the storms, fell to 4.2% from 4.4%. That's the lowest level since December 2000. Wages increased by 12 cents, or 0.5%, to an average of $26.55 an hour, the government said Friday. Hourly pay increased 2.9% from September 2016 to September 2017, up from 2.7%, but the gain was likely inflated by hurricane effects. The average workweek was unchanged at 34.4 hours. The government raised its estimate of new jobs created in August to 169,000 from 156,000. July's gain was cut to 138,000 from 189,000.