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Hurricanes spur first U.S. monthly jobs decline in 7 years

By Ed Adamczyk
A home is destroyed in Port Arkansas, Texas, on August 28 in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The storm contributed to the United States' first monthly loss of jobs in September, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Friday. File Photo by Malcolm McClendon/Texas Military Department/UPI
A home is destroyed in Port Arkansas, Texas, on August 28 in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The storm contributed to the United States' first monthly loss of jobs in September, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Friday. File Photo by Malcolm McClendon/Texas Military Department/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 6 (UPI) -- In September, the U.S. economy saw its first monthly loss of jobs in seven years -- partly due to Hurricanes Harvey Irma -- government statistics showed Friday.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its September employment report Friday, which showed a loss of 33,000 jobs.

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The decline, pronounced in the restaurant and food services industry, was relatively small. The BLS report, though, said the net effects of Hurricane Harvey in Texas in August and Hurricane Irma in Florida last month reduced the employment figures for September.

The report said the storms had "no discernible effect" on the unemployment rate, however, which sank by 331,000 claimants to 4.2 percent.

The food services industry lost 105,000 jobs, largely through layoffs associated with the hurricanes. In the last 12 months, the industry expanded by an average of 24,000 jobs per month.

Meanwhile, the health care industry grew by 23,000 jobs last month, in line with its monthly gains in the last year.

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