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Hawaii unemployment rate holds at 2.7% for third straight month

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Hawaii’s unemployment rate is holding at a 10-year low as the economy continues to show moderate growth.

The state’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate in May came in at 2.7 percent for the third month in a row even as nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 1,000 over the previous month, according to data released today by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

“It indicates the economy is stabilizing,” said Eugene Tian, chief economist for the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. “I think we are in stable growth in the labor market. It’s possible we could go lower.”

Hawaii’s nonfarm payroll jobs, which include people who might hold multiple jobs, increased to 654,100 from 653,100 in April. The leisure and hospitality sector had the largest increase at 1,000 jobs with the trade, transportation and utilities sector next at 700.

Construction, which has been a bellwether industry the past couple of years, saw its job count rise by 100 to 37,500 from 37,400.

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 state’s labor force, which includes people who are employed and those who are unemployed but actively seeking work, fell last month to 697,450 from 698,000 in April.

There were 678,300 employed in May, down from 679,050 the previous month. Those numbers include people who are self-employed. The number of unemployed rose to 19,150 from 18,950.

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