East Hawaii News

Big Island Unemployment Rate Drops Slightly

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Hawai’i’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped slightly in December to 3.2 percent, down one-tenth of a percent from the revised adjusted employment rate of 3.3 percent in November.

The Hawai’i State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations announced the relatively flat rate change Monday, noting that the last time the state’s unemployment rate was at 3.2 percent was in January 2008.

Throughout the state, 660,600 individuals were employed in December, while 22,150 individuals were listed as unemployed. These numbers make up a total seasonally adjusted labor force number of 682,750.

Nationally, the unemployment rate in December was 5 percent.


Initial unemployment claims have decreased by 20.3 percent and weeks claimed have decreased by 27.1 percent, compared to the same time a year ago. Over the month of December, initial claims dropped by 21.5 percent while weeks claimed decreased by 1.3 percent from November’s numbers.

The figures above represent seasonally adjusted unemployment rate figures. The non-seasonal adjusted rate for Hawai’i was 2.9 percent in December, down from 3.2 percent in November.

On the Big Island, the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in December. The number shows a four-tenths of a percentage point drop from November’s numbers and an entire percentage point drop since December 2014.

Hawai’i County continues to hold the highest unemployment rate of all the counties in the state, according to DLIR statistics. Kauai holds the second highest at 3.5 percent.


Maui County’s overall unemployment rate is at 3.1 percent, spiked by Molokai’s unemployment rate of 6.4 percent, the highest unemployment rate when broken down by island. Molokai’s unemployment rate improved over the past month, dropping from 8.1 percent.

DLIR reports that an increase of 3,600 non-agricultural jobs were seen during the month of December, compared to November.

Statewide, the DLIR says that job expansion was seen within a handful of sectors: Leisure & Hospitality (+900), Professional & Business Services (+800), Educational & Health Services (+500), Construction (+500), Other Services (+200), and Financial Activities (+100).

Manufacturing remained stable.


In addition to employment gains and stability, an employment loss was seen in the Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (-200) sector.

Government jobs reportedly increased by 800. Those jobs were mainly in the State Department of Education.

Total non-farm jobs have increased in the state by 2.5 percent, totaling 15,700 jobs, compared to the same time period in 2014.

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