East Hawaii News

Big Island Unemployment Numbers Stable

March 24, 2016, 10:16 AM HST
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Hawai’i’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped by a tenth of a percent in February to 3.1 percent, down from 3.2 percent in January.

The Hawai’i State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations announced the updated statistics on Thursday.

According to DLIR, the last time the state’s unemployment rate was at 3.1 percent was in November 2007.

Throughout the state, 666,400 individuals were employed in February, while 21,150 individuals were listed as unemployed. These numbers make up a total seasonally adjusted labor force number of 687,550.

Nationally, the unemployment rate in February was 4.9 percent, the same as January’s number.


Initial unemployment claims have decreased by 23.4 percent and weeks claimed have decreased by 27.6 percent, compared to last year. Over the month of February, initial claims decreased by 20.4 percent while weeks claimed also decreased by 6.7 percent from January’s numbers.


The non-seasonal adjusted rate for Hawai’i was 3.1 percent in February, down from 3.2 percent in January.

On the Big Island, the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 3.8 percent in February, the same rate as January.

Since February 2015, however, the Big Island’s unemployment rate has dropped by 1.1 percent from 4.9 percent.


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

Maui County’s overall unemployment rate is at 3.4 percent, the same percentage reported in January. Molokai, within Maui County, holds an unemployment rate of 8.4 percent, the highest unemployment rate when broken down by island. Molokai’s unemployment rate rose in February to 5.8 percent from 2.8 percent in January.

DLIR reports that an increase of 4,700 non-agricultural jobs were seen during the month of February, compared to January.

Statewide, the DLIR says that job expansion was seen within a handful of sectors: Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (+800), Construction (+800), Leisure & Hospitality (+300), Educational & Health Services (+200), Manufacturing (+200), and Other Services (+200).

In addition to employment gains and stability, an employment loss was seen in the Business & Professional Service (-100) sector.

Government jobs reportedly increased by 2,100. Those jobs were mainly in the State Department of Education and University of Hawai’i System.

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.


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