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Hawaii jobless rate down to 4.5% in March

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Hawaii’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipped to 4.5 percent in March, its lowest level in more than five years, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations reported Thursday.

The March jobless rate declined from 4.6 percent in February. Hawaii’s jobless rate peaked at 7.1 percent in the summer of 2009 during the last recession, and had been slowly declining since then. The rate has been under 5 percent for more than a year.

The last time Hawaii’s unemployment rate was lower than 4.5 percent was in August 2008 when it was 4.4 percent.

The state’s labor force, which includes those who are unemployed and others who are unemployed but actively seeking work, rose to a record 658,450 in March, according to the report.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in March, unchanged from February.

The state and national numbers are adjusted for seasonal factors, such as retailers hiring temporary sales staff for the holiday shopping season. County jobs data are not seasonally adjusted.

The report showed that the unemployment rate fell across all counties in March from February. It fell to 4.0 percent from 4.1 percent in Honolulu County, to 5.9 percent from 6.1 percent in Hawaii County, to 5.3 percent from 5.6 percent in Kauai County, and to 4.9 percent from 5.1 percent in Maui County.

The unemployment rate is derived largely from a monthly telephone survey of households. A separate survey of businesses showed that the number of payroll jobs in Hawaii rose by 600 in March from February, and by 5,200 when compared with March 2013.

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