State’s Unemployment Rate Lowest in 3 Years
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by Big Island Now Staff
Hawaii’s unemployment rate fell in February to 6.4%, its lowest rate in three years, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations reported today.
The rate was down from January’s 6.5% rate and from 6.6% in February, 2011. February’s numbers equaled the 6.4% rate in February 2009.
On the Big Island, the jobless rate was 9.4% in January, the most recent month for which data was available. It stood at 9.7% at the same time last year.
In January on the Big Island there were 82,300 people in the civilian labor force with 7,750 people on the unemployment rolls, compared to 87,650 and 8,500, respectively, from the same time last year.
The total number of non-farm jobs on the Big Island in January was 59,700, 100 less than at the same time in 2011.
Jobless rates do not count those persons who have exhausted their unemployment benefits.
The state also saw a 7% decline last week in first-time filings for unemployment benefits compared with the same time last year.
Hawaii County had the largest change with 274 first-time claims last week, a 37% decline compared to the same time in 2011. Of those claims, 164 were filed in Hilo and 110 in Kona.
No other county saw a double-digit percentage dip in claims.
The state also reported that the number of non-farm payroll jobs in Hawaii grew to 595,000 in February, an increase of 2,900 over February 2011.