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Restaurants and hotels were the biggest job losers last month, thanks to hurricanes Harvey and Irma

  • Hurricanes pinched the latest monthly jobs report, and a closer look at where jobs were lost in September helps explain why.
  • After a solid year of strong job reports growth, the government Friday said the U.S. payrolls shrank by 33,000 last month, marking the first net loss in seven years.
  • Bad weather often depresses hiring and keeps temporary workers home.
The Bayfront Seafood restaurant is surrounded by floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Palacios, Texas.
David J. Phillip | AP
The Bayfront Seafood restaurant is surrounded by floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Palacios, Texas.

Hurricanes swept through the latest monthly jobs report, and a closer look at where jobs were lost in September helps explain exactly which industries felt the impact.

The biggest loser, by far, was the leisure and hospitality industry, which saw a net loss of 111,000 jobs. The bulk of that came from restaurants and bars that closed during the storm.

Bad weather often depresses hiring and keeps temporary workers home, whether they're involved in shooting a movie on location or building a new home. Both of those categories showed job losses last month.

So did "credit intermediation" — a category that includes home mortgages, which fell nearly 10 percent in the week after Hurricane Irma made landfall.

After a solid year of strong job reports growth, the government Friday said that the U.S. payrolls shrank by 33,000 last month. That was the first net loss in the monthly job tally in seven years.

It came as no surprise to economists that the September jobs numbers were weak, after back-to-back hurricanes pounded the Southeast.

Of course, some sectors lost jobs for reasons unrelated to last month's hurricanes. Retailers continued to see job losses in multiple categories, from department stores to appliance dealers, as more consumers shop online.

Another 9,000 jobs were lost in the "amusements, gambling and recreation" category reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The impact of bad weather, though widespread, is expected to reverse next month and job numbers are expected to bounce back as the cleanup and rebuilding efforts help give the economy a short-term boost.

"The economy is not backpedaling," said economist Joel Naroff in a note to clients. "Really, did the restaurant sector collapse? Yes, they closed because of the hurricanes and some of them may never reopen, but most will be back up and running."

Car dealers also lost showroom traffic, which put a crimp in job growth for that sector. But many of them can expect to see an increase in sales as car owners replace damaged vehicles.

There were other signs of strength in the job market, despite the net loss of payrolls. Average hourly earnings were up by 12 cents on the month to $26.55, a 2.9 percent gain for the year. Those gains will help maintain strength in consumer spending, which makes up about two-thirds of overall gross domestic product.

The wage gains may also indicate that employers are boosting wages as low levels of unemployment make it harder to fill open jobs.