Hawaii News Hawaii’s unemployment rate is lowest in the nation at 2.1% By Dave Segal firstname.lastname@example.org Sept. 21, 2018 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER “This indicates that the economy has been stable during this period.” Eugene Tian Chief economist for the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Hawaii’s labor market continues to be a source of strength for the state’s economy. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. Hawaii’s labor market continues to be a source of strength for the state’s economy. The unemployment rate, which is the lowest in the nation, remained at 2.1 percent in August for the third straight month, according to data released Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Nonfarm payroll jobs, which include work by people who might hold multiple jobs, increased by 2,400, to 666,900, from the previous month and were up by 17,700 over the year-earlier period. The leisure and hospitality sector had 129,100 jobs in August, up by 700 from July and ahead by 6,100 from August 2017. “I believe the labor market will be stable for a few months into the future,” Eugene Tian, chief economist for the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, said in an email. “Our economic condition is still good with strong tourism demand.” Hawaii’s jobless number, which hit an all-time low of 2 percent in April and May, has barely budged during the past 11 months. The rate dropped by one-tenth of a point to 2.1 percent in October to begin a string of six straight months at that level before dipping to 2 percent and then ticking back up to 2.1 percent where it has remained. “This indicates that the economy has been stable during this period,” Tian said. “On average during the past 11 months, the number of additional people entering the labor force equals the number of additional people who found jobs, leaving the number of unemployed constant at 14,318 each month. The unemployment rate tends to be more stable during economic expansions. This indicates that our economy is still on the expansion path.” The number of people in the labor force, which includes those who are employed, those who are unemployed but actively seeking work and those who are self-employed, slipped in August to 687,300 from 687,750 the previous month. Those employed dropped to 672,700 from 673,350 while those unemployed rose to 14,600 from 14,350. “When the payroll job count goes up but labor force and employment decrease, it might mean that there might be fewer self-employed or people holding more jobs,” Tian said. The unemployment rate was mixed in the state’s four major counties. 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. Honolulu County’s rate rose to 2.1 percent from 2.0 percent, Kauai County’s rate remained at 2.3 percent, Hawaii County’s rate dropped to 2.7 percent from 3.0 percent and Maui County’s rate dipped to 2.1 percent from 2.2 percent. Within Maui County, Maui island’s rate fell to 1.9 percent from 2.1 percent, Molokai’s rate dropped to 5.8 percent from 6.1 percent and Lanai’s rate rose to 2.1 percent from 1.0 percent. Previous Story Police seek suspect in attempted kidnapping Next Story American and Delta increased checked-bag fees, so will Hawaiian Airlines follow suit?