Florida, Texas Lose 135,000 Jobs, But Are Set for a Rally

Florida and Texas are likely to see jobs numbers rebound amid reconstruction efforts following recent hurricanes. A crane damaged by Hurricane Irma in Florida is pictured on a building under construction.

Previously, Florida had been adding about 19,000 jobs a month since January, while Texas added about 24,000 jobs a month since the beginning of 2017. Those states, along with the surrounding regions, are likely to see those numbers rebound in the coming months, as construction workers and temporary openings flood the South.

“The rebound will certainly happen by the end of the year and [maybe] in the next few weeks,” said Janelle Jones, an analyst at the Economic Policy Institute. “People are already doing [temporary] and holiday hiring. It’s good for these workers who need jobs immediately, and there are a lot of hours to be had.”

Indeed, the reconstruction boost to jobs and the economy is in its beginning phase in the South. The Federal Reserve of Dallas said car sales have surged in response to the loss of storm-damaged vehicles in Texas, and the Federal Reserve of Richmond said it has already seen retail sales pick up, partially because of construction materials purchased for rebuilding, and employers in the district anticipate an increase in openings.

Still, any hurricane-induced economic malaise or subsequent rebound is likely to be short-lived. Forecasts for GDP, unemployment, inflation and other major economic indicators remain unchanged for 2018 overall, according to the survey of 56 business, financial and academic economists from Sept. 1 to Sept. 5.

Despite September’s jobs decline in Florida and Texas, the nation’s unemployment rate fell to 4.2% in September, though the U.S. economy shed 33,000 jobs the same month. That job-loss likely reflected hurricane-related disruptions more than any change in underlying labor-market conditions that have been tightening in recent years.

As expected, the storms affected broad swaths of the economy, depressing manufacturing in August and dampening home sales that were already slowing. Hurricane Irma had a particularly pronounced impact on Florida’s tourism industry.

RELATED

Hurricane-Battered U.S. Shed 33,000 Jobs in September (Oct. 6)

Consumer Confidence Fell Only Slightly After Hurricanes (Sept. 26)

Texas Towns Crushed by Hurricane Harvey Struggle to Clean Up and Rebuild (Sept. 29)

Hurricane Irma’s Major Economic Toll on Florida Takes Shape (Sept. 14)

How Hurricane Harvey Will Ripple Through the U.S. Economy (Sept. 7)

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