East Hawaii News

Slight Drop in Big Island Unemployment

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File photo.

File photo.

Hawai’i’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped slightly in November to 3.2 percent, down one-tenth of a percent from 3.3 percent in October. Over the past four months, the rate has dropped at a rate of a tenth of a percent each month.

The Hawai’i State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations announced the relatively flat rate change Thursday, noting that the last time the state’s unemployment rate was at 3.3 percent was in January 2008.

Throughout the state, 657,800 individuals were employed in November, while 22,100 individuals were listed as unemployed. These numbers make up a total seasonally adjusted labor force number of 679,900.


Nationally, the unemployment rate in November was 5 percent.

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

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

Initial unemployment claims have decreased by 25.5 percent and weeks claimed have decreased by 26.2 percent, compared to the same time a year ago. Over the month of November, initial claims dropped by 10.7 percent while weeks claimed decreased by 3.5 percent in the past month.

The figures above represent seasonally adjusted unemployment rate figures. The non-seasonal adjusted rate for Hawai’i was 3.2 percent in November, down from 3.4 percent in October.


On the Big Island, the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in November. The number shows a one-tenth of a percentage point drop from October’s numbers, and an entire percentage point drop since November 2014.

Hawai’i County continued to hold the highest unemployment rate in the state, according to DLIR statistics. Kauai holds the second highest at 4 percent.

Maui County’s overall unemployment rate is at 3.4 percent, spiked by Molokai’s unemployment rate of 8.2 percent, the highest unemployment rate when broken down by island. Molokai’s unemployment rate improved over the past month, dropping from 9.7 percent.


DLIR reports that an increase of 1,000 non-agricultural jobs were seen during the month of November, compared to October.

Statewide, the DLIR says that job expansion was seen within a handful of sectors: construction (+600), educational & health services (+400), leisure & hospitality (+200), financial activities (+100), and other services (+100).

In addition to the employment gains, employment losses were seen in three sectors, including manufacturing (-100), professional & business services (-100) and trade, transportation, & utilities (-400).

Government jobs reportedly increased by 100. Those jobs were at the local, state, and federal levels.

Total non-farm jobs have increased in the state by 2.1 percent, totaling 13,200 jobs, compared to the same time period as 2014.

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