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Honolulu jobless rate up in May, but still among lowest in U.S.


Honolulu’s unemployment rate edged up to 4 percent in May from 3.9 percent in April, but the city’s jobless rate remained one of the lowest nationally, according to a report released today.

Honolulu was tied with Mankato, Minn., with the 14th lowest unemployment rate out of 372 metropolitan areas surveyed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Honolulu’s job market has outperformed the rest of the state in recent years thanks to a relatively stronger economy. Elsewhere in the state, the May unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in Maui County, 5.3 percent in Kauai County and 6.5 percent in Hawaii County.

County job market data are not adjusted for seasonal variations, such as students looking for work during summer break.

The statewide non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in May. Nationally, the non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 7.3 percent.

The nation’s lowest unemployment rates were mostly in the Plains states and the Midwest. Bismark and Fargo, N.D., which are enjoying the benefits of the state’s oil industry boom, were at the bottom of the list with jobless rates of 2.4 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

At the other end of the spectrum were Yuma, Ariz., and El Centro, Calif., adjoining towns on the Mexico border with jobless rates of 30.8 percent and 22.8 percent, respectively.

The unemployment rate is derived largely from a telephone poll of households. A separate survey of businesses showed that the number of nonfarm payroll jobs in Honolulu rose to 453,000 in May from 451,800 in April.

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