The United States' unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level in almost 17 years, the Labor Department has reported. Employers added positions as businesses reopened after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The US unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent in October while job creation resumed climbing after the two late-summer hurricanes.
The rate was down a tenth of a point from September, the lowest the US economy had seen since December 2000.
Employers added 261,000 new net positions as businesses reopened after Harvey and Irma. The October figure showed the US labor market in good health, easily bouncing back from the storms that idled the US energy hub in southeast Texas and forced millions of Floridians to flee their homes.
Skilled workers at a premium
The falling jobless rate is likely to sharpen the debate among Federal Reserve policymakers, who appear set to raise the benchmark interest rate next month despite stubbornly low inflation.
Since January of this year, unemployment in the US has decreased by seven tenths of a percentage point.
More employers say positions are increasingly hard to fill amid a scarcity of skilled workers. Employment rebounded particularly strongly in bars and restaurants, adding 89,000 jobs in October following September's decline of 98,000 positions in the same sector.
hg/jd (AFP, dpa)