East Hawaii News

DLIR: Big Island Unemployment Rises Slightly in March

April 15, 2016, 9:41 AM HST
* Updated May 20, 12:30 PM
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Hawai’i’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held at 3.1 percent in March, the same as reported in February and down from 3.2 percent in January.

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

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

Throughout the state, 668,800 individuals were employed in February, while 21,550 individuals were listed as unemployed. These numbers make up a total seasonally adjusted labor force number of 690,300.

Nationally, the unemployment rate in March was 5.0 percent, up from 4.9 in February.


Initial unemployment claims have decreased by 17 percent and weeks claimed have decreased by 23.6 percent, compared to last year. Over the month of March, initial claims increased by 4.5 percent while weeks claimed also increased by 0.3 percent from February’s numbers.


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

On the Big Island, non-seasonally adjusted unemployment increased by a tenth of a percentage point to 3.9 percent after sitting at 3.8 percent in both February and January.

Since March 2015, however, the Big Island’s unemployment rate has dropped by 0.8 percent from 4.7 percent.


Hawai’i County continues to hold the highest unemployment rate of all counties, according to DLIR statistics. Kauai holds the second highest at 3.5 percent in March, closely followed by Maui County with a rate of 3.4 percent.

Maui County’s overall unemployment rate holds onto its 3.4 percent rate, the same percentage that has been reported since January. Molokai, within Maui County, holds an unemployment rate of 5.6 percent, the highest unemployment rate when broken down by island, followed by Lanai with a 5.3 percent unemployment rate. After rising in February to 8.3 percent from 2.8 percent in January, Molokai’s unemployment rate decreased in March by nearly three percentage points

DLIR reports that an increase of 4,400 non-agricultural jobs were seen during the month of March, compared to February.

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

In addition to employment gains and stability, an employment loss was seen in Manufacturing (-300) and Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (-300).

Government jobs reportedly increased by 300, compared to last year.

Total non-farm jobs have increased in the state by 2.9 percent, totaling 18,600 jobs, compared to the same time period in 2015.

Earlier this week, DLIR released it’s 2017 employment forecast, noting that 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. To review that information, click here.

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