Nonfarm payrolls contracted by 33,000 in September, its first formal decline in years. And the economy had added new jobs for 83 straight months.
Point three is that all this great labor market tightness is not translating into wage growth at the rate I'd expect given 4.2 percent unemployment, along with all those other tightening indicators.
That's a sign that the low unemployment rate is pulling more Americans off the sidelines and back into the job market. Over the past year, average hourly earnings have risen by 74 cents, or 2.9%.
The PayScale Index, which tracks the change in wages for employed US workers, showed 2.4 year-over-year growth for Q2 2017. In all, though, 2017 thus far has seen the slowest jobs growth in at least five years.
Just in the catering industry alone, 105,000 positions for workers were lost due to the damage from the hurricanes.
The BLS says Hurricane Harvey made landfall august 25, which is prior to the September reference periods for the jobs report, and Hurricane Irma made landfall Sept. 10, within the reference period for both the establishment and household surveys. That could make the household survey a cleaner reading on underlying labor-market conditions last month.
The underemployment rate, which captures both those that are unemployment and folks who are working part-time but would prefer full-time employment, fell in September to 8.3%. In the establishment survey, employees who are not paid for the pay period that includes the 12th of the month are not counted as employed.
That was despite a two tenths of a percentage point increase in the participation rate to 63.1%, as the number of people employed surged by 906,000. That's true even if those employees return to work after the storm passes. Economists had expected an increase of 80,000 jobs.
Offshore oil-drilling rigs are already shuttering ahead of the coming Tropical Storm Nate, which is estimated to affect a quarter-million barrels of oil per day. If it did, Friday's decline would have been significantly higher. But the government said that figure was artificially inflated by the loss of so many lower-paid workers in hurricane-hit areas. That's equal to about 7.7 percent of the nation's workforce. The agency said Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were responsible.
Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which were hammered by Hurricane Maria, aren't included in the national unemployment report.