Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are being blamed for the first monthly job loss in six years. The U.S. Labor Department says 33,000 jobs were lost in September because of the two storms.
Economists had expected the addition of 80,000 jobs last month, but that was before the effects of Harvey and Irma were known.
Harvey hit Texas in late August causing extensive flooding to parts of that state. A couple of weeks later, Irma tore through Florida making landfall twice in the Keys and then again in the southwest part of the state near Naples.
Irma left a path of destruction that covered must of the peninsula and resulted in thousands of unemployment claims being filed in Florida. So many have been filed that the Louisiana Workforce Commission is helping Florida process the claims and will continue to do so for at least the next 30 days.
Restaurants and bars took the biggest hit from the storms losing 105,000 jobs nationally.
Economic forecasters say the negative impacts from Harvey and Irma on the economy are expected to be short-lived with job growth expected to rebound in the coming months as businesses that were forced to shut down due to the storms begin to reopen.
The construction industry is also expected to see additional job growth in the coming months as companies see increased demand for repairs and renovations as a result of the storms.
Despite the job losses last month, the nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent, that’s down from 4.4 percent in August and is the lowest level since February 2001.