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State unemployment rate remains at 2.8%

Hawaii’s unemployment rate held steady in February at 2.8 percent.

The seasonally adjusted number matched January’s rate, which was the state’s lowest since July 2007, according to data released today by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Hawaii’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.

The U.S. unemployment rate, which was announced earlier this month, was 4.7 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from 4.8 percent in January.

The number of nonfarm payroll jobs, which include people who might hold multiple jobs, rose by 500 in February to 650,500 from 650,000 the previous month. The educational and health services category had the largest increase at 400 jobs while the financial activities sector had the largest job loss at 400 jobs. Construction jobs fell by 200. Over the past year, total nonfarm jobs increased by 5,000, or 0.8 percent.

In another measure of employment, the state’s labor force, which includes people who are employed and those who are unemployed but actively seeking work, increased to a record 694,850 from the previous high of 693,600 in January.

There were a record 675,500 people employed in February, up from the previous high of 673,900 the previous month. Those numbers include people who are self-employed. The number of unemployed fell to 19,350 from 19,750.

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.

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