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Hurricanes Disrupt Labor and Energy Markets

Treasury yields meandered this week before ending higher as the September monthly employment report was generally deemed positive. The headline 33,000 job loss in September certainly didn’t look bullish, however, that decline was attributed to major labor market disruptions from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma – federally designated disaster areas in Florida and Texas account for 7.7% of all US employment, according to the Labor Department. The details of the report were positive, however, as the uneamployment rate fell to 4.2%, the labor participation rate rose to 63.1% from 62.9%, and hourly earnings growth remained robust.

The Gulf Coast energy industry got some good news this week as the country’s largest refinery announced it would come back on line this weekend. However, the appearance of Tropical Storm Nate is causing oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico to close down and New Orleans refineries to cut production, leading to expectations of continued elevated fuel prices.

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