US employment numbers, hit by Harvey and Irma, fall for first time in 7 years

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WASHINGTON: US employment fell last month for the first time in seven years as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma delayed hiring and left displaced workers temporarily unemployed.

The Labor Department said yesterday that nonfarm payrolls decreased by 33,000 jobs last month amid a record drop in employment in the leisure and hospitality sector.

The drop in payrolls is the first since September 2010.

The department said Harvey and Irma, which wreaked havoc in Texas and Florida in late August and early last month, had reduced "the estimate of total nonfarm payroll employment for September".

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls increasing by 90,000 jobs last month.

Many of the displaced people will probably return to work.

That, together with rebuilding and clean-up, is expected to boost job growth in the coming months. - REUTERS

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