Hawaii jobless rate holds at record-low 2.1 percent
Hawaii’s number of unemployed fell to its lowest level in more than 28 years as the jobless rate in February held at 2.1 percent for the fifth month in a row.
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Hawaii’s number of
unemployed fell to its lowest level in more than 28 years as the jobless rate in February held at 2.1 percent for the fifth month in a row.
The seasonally adjusted rate, which is the lowest in the nation, matched the all-time low for Hawaii. The number of nonfarm payroll jobs increased 2,300 over January, according to data released Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Professional and business services showed the largest gain at 1,300. The growth
in payroll jobs includes
both vacancies and newly created positions.
Those unemployed in
the labor force fell to 14,050 from 14,350 in January. It matched the lowest level since there were 14,050 unemployed in December 1989. The all-time low was 12,550 in June 1989.
“It is a difficult situation for employers, the same as the previous few months,” said Eugene Tian, chief economist for the state
Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. “It’s hard to find workers because people in the pool looking for jobs is getting smaller. It’s now just a little over 14,000.”
This was the second time this month that the state
Labor Department released unemployment data — January’s numbers were released two weeks ago — because labor force numbers are
delayed at the start of each year to revise them for
annual benchmarking. In
December, for example, the state Labor Department
announced that Hawaii’s
unemployment rate in
November had hit an all-time low of 2 percent, but that was later revised upward to 2.1 percent.
“The (February) number still indicates the economy is growing strong and the labor market has been stable,” Tian said. “Those (2.1 percent jobless rate numbers) are at historical levels already. Our forecast is that those numbers will be going up a little bit during the second half of the year.”
Tian said job growth in the state should continue.
“We projected job growth to be somewhere around
1 percent this year,” he said.
Nationally, the U.S. Department of Labor’s previously announced jobless rate for February was 4.1 percent, which matched the nationwide number in January.
Hawaii’s labor force, which includes people
who are employed, those who are unemployed but
actively seeking work,
and those who are self-employed, rose last month to 683,500 from 683,000
in January. The number
of people employed
increased to 669,400 from 668,650 the previous month.
rate fell in all four of the main counties.
Honolulu County’s rate declined to 1.8 percent from 2.0 percent, Hawaii County’s rate decreased to 2.1 percent from 2.3 percent, Kauai County’s rate fell to 1.7 percent from 2.0 percent and Maui County’s rate dropped to 2.0 percent from 2.1 percent. Within Maui County, Maui island’s rate fell to
1.9 percent from 2.0 percent, and Lanai’s rate decreased to 2.1 percent from 3.2 percent. Molokai’s rate rose to 3.8 percent from 3.5 percent.
State and national labor-force data are adjusted for seasonal factors, but the county jobs data are not
seasonally adjusted and thus do not take into account variations such as the
winter holiday and summer vacation seasons.