A pickup in seasonal hiring for spring retail jobs helped push the unemployment rate for Honolulu down to 5.1 percent in March, tying it for ninth lowest among the nation’s metropolitan areas.
Honolulu’s jobless rate was down from 5.3 percent in February and 5.6 percent in March 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported yesterday.
The 5.1 percent rate was the lowest since 4.3 percent in December 2008, according to bureau data.
Honolulu tied with Manchester, N.H., and Omaha, Neb., which also registered jobless rates of 5.1 percent.
The bureau surveys 372 metro areas for the report.
Both Home Depot Inc. and Lowe’s Co. said they each hired more than 100 new employees in Hawaii in preparation for the biggest selling season of the year for home improvement retailers that begins in March.
Lowe’s said its new store in Iwilei, which formally opens today, will employ about 125 people.
The store will be the fourth in Hawaii and second on Oahu for Lowe’s, which operates stores in Kahului, Kona and Waikele.
Honolulu’s 5.1 percent unemployment rate, which is not adjusted for seasonal variations, compares with a statewide, non-seasonally adjusted rate of 6.1 percent in March.
The seasonally adjusted statewide rate was 6.3 percent in March.
Honolulu was one of 317 metropolitan areas where the unemployment rate fell in March from the same month a year earlier.
The rate rose in 44 areas and was unchanged in 11 others.
Fourteen areas reported unemployment rates of at least 15 percent, while eight areas had rates of less than 5 percent, according to the bureau.