Hawai’i Employment Forecasted to Expand by 2.6 Percent

April 13, 2016, 12:26 PM HST
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Alachua County photo.

Alachua County photo.

Hawai’i’s workforce is anticipated to grow by 2.9 percent, equal to 20,020 new jobs from the first quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2017.

The forecasted expansion was noted in the Hawai’i State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations’ Employment Forecasts for the Short-Term Future – 2017 publication, released Wednesday morning.

“This is certainly good news and confirms that our economy remains strong,” said Governor David Ige. “We remain focused on diversifying our economy beyond tourism and the military, which is why I am taking a comprehensive, long-term approach to develop an innovation economy that offers the best promise of high-quality, living wage jobs in Hawai’i.”

DLIR graph.

DLIR graph.

Growth will be led by the construction industry, according to the forecast, with a growth rate of 12.1 percent and the creation of 3,880 new jobs. Across all other industries, except natural resources and mining, growth is also anticipated.

Within the construction industry, half the jobs will take place in specialty trades. Building construction accounts for 40 percent of the industry’s increase.


Professional and business services is anticipated to generate over 3,000 new positions, growing by 3.6 percent, with just under a percentage point of the growth in the administrative and support field.


Retail trade is expected to see 1,930 new jobs, an increase of 2.8 percent; while the leisure and hospitality industry is forecast to increase by 2.7 percent to 3,090 new jobs, with emphasis on the restaurant industry.

DLIR noted in the report that employment overall will reach 720,960 in the first quarter of 2017, up from 720,940 in the two-year period from the first quarter of 2015.

On an annual basis, this 1.4 percent increase equals 10,180 new jobs resulting from growth. In addition, about 17,040 job openings are expected to arise due to replacement needs, bringing the total annual projected job openings to 27,220.


“DLIR is enhancing job skills in the workforce as part of the effort to support diversifying the economy by bringing community stakeholders together in advisory boards in select sectors,” said DLIR Director Linda Chu Takayama. “To remain competitive and productive in the global marketplace, it is crucial to employ a highly skilled workforce and why we have convened workforce advisory boards in agriculture, healthcare, and robotics as a start.”

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