Hawaii’s unemployment rate remained at 3.2 percent in May as the number of people entering the labor force shrunk.
The labor force, which includes people who are employed and those who are unemployed but actively seeking work, fell to 688,100 last month from 690,050 in April, according to data released today by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
There were 665,750 people employed in May, down from 668,050 the previous month, while the number unemployed increased to 22,300 from 22,000.
The unemployment rate had been 3.1 percent in both February and March before rising to 3.2 percent in April and then remaining at that level in May.
By comparison, the U.S. unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in May, down from 5.0 percent in April.
In another measure of the Hawaii economy, total nonfarm jobs last month rose by 1,100 to 648,300 from 647,200 in April and jumped by 13,700, or 2.2 percent, over the past year.
The unemployment rate and nonfarm payroll numbers are derived from separate surveys. Hawaii’s unemployment rate is derived largely from a monthly telephone survey of households, while a separate survey of businesses determines the number of nonfarm payroll jobs. The nonfarm payroll jobs figure includes people who might hold multiple jobs but doesn’t include people who are self-employed.
The state’s lowest unemployment rate dating back to January 1976 — the oldest available data on the U.S. Labor Department website — was 2.4 percent achieved from October through December 2006 and May through September 1989.