Big Island Unemployment Number Rises Slightly

March 11, 2016, 4:55 PM HST
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File photo.

File photo.

Hawai’i’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped by a tenth of a percent in January to 3.2 percent from the revised adjusted employment rate of 3.3 percent in December.

The Hawai’i State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations announced the relatively flat rate change on Friday.

According to DLIR, the last time the state’s unemployment rate was at 3.2 percent was in January 2008.

Throughout the state, 662,650 individuals were employed in January, while 22,550 individuals were listed as unemployed. These numbers make up a total seasonally adjusted labor force number of 684,250.

Nationally, the unemployment rate in January was 4.9 percent.


Initial unemployment claims have decreased by 23.9 percent and weeks claimed have decreased by 29.5 percent, compared to the year prior. Over the month of January, initial claims increased by 8 percent while weeks claimed also increased by 5 percent from December’s numbers.


The non-seasonal adjusted rate for Hawai’i was 3.2 percent in January, up from 2.9 percent in December.

This chart shows the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the State of Hawai'i between January 2014 and January 2015. DLIR courtesy image.

This chart shows the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the State of Hawai’i between January 2014 and January 2015. DLIR courtesy image.

On the Big Island, the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in January. The number shows a two-tenths of a percentage point increase from December’s numbers.

Since January 2015, however, the Big Island’s unemployment rate has dropped by 1.2 percent.


Hawai’i County continues to hold the highest unemployment rate of all the counties, according to DLIR statistics. Kauai holds the second highest at 3.6 percent in January.

Maui County’s overall unemployment rate is at 3.3 percent, a two-tenths increase since December. The number was spiked by Molokai’s unemployment rate of 6.3 percent, the highest unemployment rate when broken down by island. Molokai’s unemployment rate dropped slightly from 6.6 percent in December and 8.5 percent in January 2015.

DLIR reports that an increase of 2,300 non-agricultural jobs were seen during the month of January, compared to December.

Statewide, the DLIR says that job expansion was seen within a handful of sectors: Leisure & Hospitality (+1,300), Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (+1,200), Construction (+600), Professional & Business Services (+500), Educational & Health Services (+500), Financial Activities (+500), Manufacturing (+400), and Other Services (+200).

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.

DLIR reports that the rise in the Leisure & Hospitality sector occurred in Food Services and Drinking Place. The expansion in Trade, Transportation, & Utilities took place in Retail Trade and Wholesale Trade.

Government employment saw a decrease by 2,800 jobs. The decrease was largely within the Department of Education and the University of Hawai’i System.

Total non-farm jobs have increased in the state by 1.9 percent, totaling 11,900 jobs, compared to the same time period in 2015.

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