For the first time since 2010, the U.S. economy saw negative job growth last month, shedding 33,000 jobs due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Some analysts say the effects may be felt for some time.
“There’s going to be a huge residual impact for months, maybe years afterward,” said Christine Short, vice president of media and public relations at Estimize, a financial estimates group, in an interview with The Washington Post. “The hurricanes put tens of thousands of people out of work.”
Others feel that the effects may be short-lived, as businesses reopen in Texas and Florida.
“There could even be an increase in jobs in coming months due to the storms as homes and other buildings are repaired or rebuilt, and Americans buy cars and other items to replace those that were lost,” wrote Chris Isidore at CNNMoney.
Prior to the report’s release, economists polled by Reuters were forecasting the addition of 90,000 to public and private, non-farm payrolls. Unemployment declined slightly to 4.2 percent.
These Industries Were Hit the Hardest
The leisure and hospitality industry shed 111,000 jobs, the most since at least 1945. Food services and drinking places alone lost 105,000 jobs.
Manufacturing was essentially flat for the month (-1,000 jobs), as were mining, construction, retail trade, wholesale trade, information and government.
Other industries added jobs, including healthcare (+23,000 jobs), transportation and warehousing (+22,000 jobs), business and professional services (+13,000 jobs) and financial activities (+10,000 jobs).
Average hourly earnings for private-sector employees increased by 12 cents to $26.55. Over the course of the past year, average hourly earnings have increased by 74 cents.
“The pickup in wages was encouraging, though some economists had already penciled in a boost — with reasons including storm effects that prevented low-paid Americans from working, and a calendar quirk that tends to produce stronger wage growth when the 15th of the month falls within the survey week,” wrote Sho Chandra at Bloomberg.
The PayScale Index, which tracks the change in wages for employed U.S. workers, showed 2.4 year-over-year growth for Q2 2017. However, real wages — the buying power of workers’ earnings with inflation taken into account — have declined 7.5 percent since 2006.
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