Food and drink workers storm back to work |

Food and drink workers storm back to work

Ryan Brinks 6 November 2017 NEWS

Food and drink worders lead October unemployment gains

The biggest gains in new employment last month came from food services and drinking places, which were hit hardest by the recent hurricanes in the US.

Workers at food and drink establishments are raising a glass to new jobs. Employment in the sector served up gains of 89,000 in October after losing 98,000 in September in the aftermath of Hurricane’s Harvey and Irma.

These workers represented the bulk of the 261,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs added in the United States, according to the latest stats released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In addition to the job losses, reported in September that the toll of Hurricane Irma alone amounted to $2 billion in insured losses to Florida homes and businesses.

Behind those gains, 50,000 new faces have also joined corporate America in the realm of professional and business services. The growing national economy has consistently created about as many new business jobs every month over the past year.

Smaller employment gains (24,000) were made in manufacturing, led by 5,000 positions in computer and electronic products, 4,000 in chemicals and another 4,000 in fabricated metals.

Health care gains totalled 22,000 new jobs, which mirrors the year-to-date average, though the industry saw better days in 2016 when 32,000 people joined its ranks, on average, each month.

As more people have gone back to work, the US unemployment rate has continued to fall. The 281,000 fewer jobless men and women brought the October unemployment rate to 4.1%. The new jobs went predominantly to adult women and whites.

With two months left to go in 2017, new job opportunities have opened for 1.1 million people, dropping the nation’s overall unemployment to a total of 6.5 million. Of those, 1.6 million are among the long-term unemployed.

The average worker in the country is now putting in 34.4 hours per week and earning $26.53 an hour. Manufacturing workers, however, continue to put in more hours, up slightly in October to a 41-hour workweek. The average overtime pay also edged up to 3.5 hours.

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