Job growth accelerates after hurricane-related lag

Employment growth has accelerated in the United States after briefly slowing in the aftermath of hurricanes.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 261,000 in October and the unemployment rate edged down a tenth of a point to 4.1 percent, according to the latest Labor Department estimates.

The payroll gain comes a month after what was initially estimated as a 33,000 drop in September attributed to damages caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida. That estimate was revised upward to a gain of 18,000. Job gains also were revised upward for August — 31,000 to 200,000.

For October, 6.5 million people were counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work. Of those, 1.6 million have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. Another 4.8 million were counted among those working part-time because their hours have been cut or they’ve been unable to find full-time positions. The labor force participation rate fell four-tenths of a point to 62.7 percent.

Employment at food services and drinking places rebounded in October with gain of 89,000. That follows a drop of 98,000 in September attributed to closures after the hurricanes.

Professional and business services added 50,000 jobs in October, while factory payrolls grew 24,000 and health care employment rose 22,000.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls held steady at 34.4 hours. The manufacturing workweek lengthened two-tenths of an hour to 41 hours.

Average hourly earnings for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls edged down a cent to $26.53. Over the past year, though, average hourly earnings have increased 63 cents, or 2.4 percent.