Tags: Hurricane Harvey | Hurricane Irma | Polls | bls | establishment survey | september

1.5m Workers Temporarily Displaced by Hurricanes

Image: 1.5m Workers Temporarily Displaced by Hurricanes
This photo shows Duval Street on Sept. 12, 2017, in Key West, Florida, in the wake of Hurricane Irma. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

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Tuesday, 10 October 2017 10:53 AM Current | Bio | Archive

In September, hurricanes Harvey and Irma prevented 1.5 million Americans with jobs from working during the week when government officials measured employment and unemployment.[1] That’s the highest level of weather-related disruption in more than two decades.

The official jobs data is collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from two separate surveys. Both are conducted during the full week each month that includes the 12th of the month. If someone has a job but does not work that particular week, one survey counts them as having a job while the other does not.

The Establishment Survey does not count such workers as having a job. It found a net workforce decline of 33,000 jobs during the month of September. That’s the first time in years that a net job loss has been reported. Much of this can be traced to a "sharp employment decline" at restaurants and pubs. Hourly workers holding such jobs cannot do them from another location.

The Household Survey, on the other hand, does count temporarily displaced workers as still employed. While the Establishment Survey showed a decline in the number of people with jobs, the Household Survey showed a drop of 331,000 people without a job. The overall unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent.

Reviewing both sets of data, BLS officials “do not believe the hurricanes had a discernible effect on the national unemployment rate." [1]

When data is collected amid unusual circumstances, extreme caution should be used in interpreting the results. The only way to get an accurate sense of national economic trends from the data will be to wait for the October and November results to come in.

Footnotes:

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Commissioner's Statement on The Employment Situation," October 6, 2017

Each weekday, Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Dayexplores interesting and newsworthy topics at the intersection of culture, politics, and technology. Columns published on Ballotpedia reflect the views of the author.

Scott Rasmussen is a Senior Fellow for the Study of Self-Governance at the King’s College in New York and an Editor-At-Large for Ballotpedia, the Encyclopedia of American Politics. His most recent book, "Politics Has Failed: America Will Not," was published by the Sutherland Institute in May.To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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When data is collected amid unusual circumstances, extreme caution should be used in interpreting the results. The only way to get an accurate sense of national economic trends from the data will be to wait for October and November results
bls, establishment survey, september
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2017-53-10
Tuesday, 10 October 2017 10:53 AM
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