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State unemployment trust fund back in the black

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The state fund used to pay unemployment benefits has returned to a positive balance in a development that will save businesses an estimated $1.2 million dollars, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations announced today.

Hawaii Chamber of Commerce President Jim Tollefson applauded the move, saying the savings are significant for the state’s business community.

The state last year was forced to borrow from the federal government to pay benefits because the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund had been exhausted due to higher-than-normal payouts caused by the recession.

Fewer unemployment insurance claims filed by workers have helped the Trust Fund return to the black. As a result the U.S. Treasury waived a $371,000 interest payment the state was scheduled to pay on Sept. 30, according to a DLIR news release. Hawaii employers will save an additional $1.2 million because the state will suspend an assessment it had been charging employers to pay the interest on the federal loan.

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