updated 9/30/2005 6:36:57 PM ET 2005-09-30T22:36:57

The Labor Department will dispatch counselors to help survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita find work.

Roughly 150 counselors will be sent to relocation centers in several states to work one-on-one with evacuees, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao announced Friday. The department also will dispatch specially trained counselors to help the disabled find employment in hurricane-hit states.

The department also is speeding up enrollment for 4,000 young people who survived the hurricanes to take part in its Job Corps program, which provides education and vocational training to economically disadvantaged people 16 through 24.

Speaking to a small group of reporters, Chao declined to estimate that impact of the hurricanes on national payrolls. “We’re going to have some uncertainty in the numbers,” for a while, she said.

Many economists are predicting the economy will show a loss of around 170,000 jobs for September, lifting the unemployment rate — now at a four-year low of 4.9 percent — to above 5 percent. The employment report for September is released next week.

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