Hurricanes Murky U.S. Jobs Picture in Sept.

The job outlook in the United States proved no match for Mother Nature last month.

Figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Labor Department showed the U.S. workforce shrank by 33,000 jobs in September as employment was undercut by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It was the first contraction in seven years.

Economists had predicted a 75,000-job increase in non-farm positions, but estimates were all over the map because of uncertainty about the effects of the storms. The U.S. unemployment rate, which was not impacted by the storms, fell to 4.2% from 4.4%. That's the lowest level since December 2000.

What's more, according to the department, wages increased by 12 cents, or 0.5%, to an average of $26.55 U.S. an hour. Hourly pay increased 2.9% from September 2016 to September 2017, up from 2.7%, but the gain was likely inflated by hurricane effects.

The average workweek was unchanged at 34.4 hours. The government raised its estimate of new jobs created in August to 169,000 from 156,000. July's gain was cut to 138,000 from 189,000.