East Hawaii News

Big Island Unemployment Rate Falls Slightly

October 19, 2015, 11:02 AM HST
* Updated October 19, 11:05 AM
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Hawai’i’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped slightly in September to 3.4 percent, down one-tenth of a percent from 3.5 percent in August.

The Hawai’i State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations announced the relatively flat rate Monday, noting that the last time the state’s unemployment rate was at 3.4 percent was in March 2008.

Throughout the state, 651,900 individuals were employed in September, while 23,150 individuals were listed as unemployed. These numbers make up a total seasonally adjusted labor force number of 675,050.

This chart shows the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the State of Hawai'i between September 2013 and September 2015. DLIR image.

This chart shows the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the State of Hawai’i between September 2013 and September 2015. DLIR image.

The nationwide unemployment rate in September was 5.1 percent, the same rate as August.

Initial unemployment claims have decreased by 9.8 percent and weeks claimed have decreased by about 19.3 percent, compared to the same time a year ago. Over the month of September, initial claims rose by 5.9 percent while weeks claimed decreased by one percent in the past month.

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The figures above represent seasonally adjusted unemployment rate figures. The non-seasonal adjusted rate for Hawai’i was 3.6 percent in September, up from 3.3 percent in August.

This chart shows not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates in State of Hawai’i counties. DLIR image.

This chart shows not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates in State of Hawai’i counties. DLIR image.

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On the Big Island, non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates were 4.3 percent. The number shows are one-tenth of a percentage point rise from August numbers, but a drop by over an entire percentage point from 5.3 percent in September of 2014.

Hawai’i County has the highest unemployment rate, according to DLIR statistics, with Kauai closely behind with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 4.2 percent.

Maui County’s unemployment rate is at 3.8 percent, spiked by Molokai’s unemployment rate of 9 percent, the highest unemployment rate per island.

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DLIR reports that a decline of 8,100 non-agricultural jobs was seen in September compared to August.

While compared to one year ago, an expansion of 7,900 non-agricultural jobs was noted.

Statewide, the DLIR says that job expansion was seen in two sectors: professional & business services (+1,200) and financial services (+200).

The expansions were credited to more staffing in the employment services firms.

In addition to the employment gains, employment loss was seen in various other sectors, including manufacturing (-100), leisure & hospitality (-100), other services (-300), construction (-600), educational & health services (-1,300) and trade, transportation & utilities (-1,600).

During the survey week, work in construction was hampered to a degree due to weather, according to DLIR officials, while educational & health services positions saw a decrease due to job contraction being spread out through several health services sub-sectors.

Government jobs reportedly also decreased by 5,600 jobs after a larger-than-usual August hiring within the Department of Education.

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