Big Island Unemployment Continues Downward Trend
by Denise Laitinen
Initial unemployment claims across the state decreased by 22.6% last week when compared with filings during the same week in 2011.
According to data just released by the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, there were 1,599 total filings for the week ending December 29, 2012 compared to 2,067 filings during the same week in 2011.
Around the state, Hawaii County led the way with a 33.2% decrease in initial unemployment claims with 268 initial claims this week, 133 fewer than the 401 claims filed the same week in 2011.
Broken down by location there were 152 initial claims Hilo and 116 in Kona – one of the lowest amounts filed in Kona this year. (Kona and Hilo are the only two towns in Hawaii County where the State collects data.)
Oahu saw a 25.3% decrease with 317 fewer claims filed, while initial claims were down 3.9% on Kauai County and only 1.7% on Maui County.
“Initial claims” initiate a determination of eligibility to begin a claimant’s benefit year (new claims) or subsequent period of unemployment (additional claims) within the benefit year.
Although there have been slight variations from week to week, initial unemployment claims have overall been on a downward trend since they hit a high of 446 for the week of June 2.
In fact, initial claims weekly totals have been under 355 for the past four months and have been under the 300 mark for 9 of the past 16 weeks.
Weekly initial unemployment claims in Hawaii County dipped below the 300 mark only three times in 52 weeks during 2011, compared to 15 times in 2012.