(CN) – Employers added a robust 261,000 jobs in October as the economy rebounded from hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the Labor Department reported Friday.
However, the number was considerably below Wall Street expectations of 310,000, causing the market to tick lower at its opening.
The unemployment rate declined to 4.1 percent last month, the lowest in nearly 17 years. It had been 4.2 percent in September.
The government attributed the sharp rise in hiring to a rebound from the hurricanes which temporarily depressed hiring in the Southeast.
Employers added just 18,000 jobs in September, as thousands of businesses were forced to close. That figure was revised higher Friday from a previous estimate that showed a loss of 33,000.
The biggest gain in employment in October came from the hospitality industry, with jobs at food and drinking establishments up by 89,000. Professional and business services contributed 50,000 to the total while manufacturing added 24,000.
In all, employment in the manufacturing sector has increased by 156,000 since President Donald Trump’s election in November 2016.
Average earnings fell by 1 cent an hour in October, but are up 2.4 percent over the past year, the Labor Department said.