U.S. loses 33,000 jobs after hurricanes hit Southeast

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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – SEPTEMBER 10: Trees bend in the tropical storm wind along North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard as Hurricane Irma hits the southern part of the state September 10, 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The powerful hurricane made landfall in the United States in the Florida Keys at 9:10 a.m. after raking across […]

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WASHINGTON — 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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