Unemployment rate continues dive to 3%
Hawaii’s unemployment rate fell for the fourth straight month and hit 3 percent in November, the lowest level since October 2007, according to data released Thursday by the stateDepartment of Labor and Industrial Relations.
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Hawaii’s unemployment rate fell for the fourth straight month and hit 3 percent in November, the lowest level since October 2007, according to data released Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
The seasonally adjusted jobless rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month as nonagricultural payroll jobs rose by 2,000 from October.
While chief state economist Eugene Tian acknowledges that the economy continues to perform well, he said the downward trend for the unemployment rate is nearing an end.
“It will not reach (the Hawaii record low) 2.4 percent in this business cycle,” said Tian of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. “We don’t expect the (average) unemployment rate will continue to dip, but expect the unemployment rate will go up a little next year. This is based on the number of initial unemployment claims data, which shows that our initial unemployment claims have been above last year’s levels since October this year through Dec. 10.”
For November, initial claims for unemployment benefits were up 102, or
9.9 percent, from the same time a year ago.
The state’s lowest unemployment rate since January 1976 — the oldest available data — was 2.4 percent, achieved from October through December 2006 and May through September 1989.
For the U.S. the unemployment rate for November was 4.6 percent, down from
4.9 percent in October. The U.S. rate was reported earlier this month.
Hawaii’s labor force, which includes people who are employed and those who are unemployed but actively seeking work, increased to a record 696,850 from the previous high of 692,850 in October.
There were a record 676,200 people employed in November, up from the previous high of 670,950 the previous month. The number of unemployed fell to 20,650 from 21,850.
Nonagricultural jobs rose to 656,200 from 654,200 in October and were up 15,700 from November 2015. The nonagricultural payroll jobs figure includes people who might hold multiple jobs but doesn’t include people who are self-employed. The professional and business services sector had the largest job gain, up 700 from the previous month, while the yearlong strong construction sector added 100 jobs to 39,100 workers. The number of construction workers represented the second-highest November total ever, behind only the 39,600 in November 2008. The highest total ever, regardless of month, was 40,700 in May of this year.
The leisure and hospitality sector had the largest job loss with a decline of 1,200 positions in the areas of accommodation; food services and drinking places; and arts, entertainment and recreation.
Government employment jumped by 3,000 jobs due to temporary workers hired for the general election, while private industries decreased by 1,000 jobs during that time.
Hawaii’s unemployment rate is derived largely from a monthly telephone survey of households, while a separate survey of businesses determines the number of nonagricultural payroll jobs.
The unemployment rate fell in all four major counties. Honolulu County’s rate declined to 2.7 percent from 2.9 percent the previous month, Hawaii County’s rate dropped to 3.4 percent from 3.8 percent, Kauai County’s rate fell to 3.1 percent from 3.3 percent and Maui County’s rate declined to 3.0 percent from 3.3 percent.
Within Maui County, Maui island’s jobless rate fell to 2.9 percent from 3.1 percent, Molokai’s rate plunged to 7.1 percent from 10.1 percent and Lanai’s rate sank to 1.6 percent from 4.1 percent.