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Hawaii unemployment rate rises for fourth straight month

Hawaii’s unemployment rate rose in December for the fourth straight month as evidence mounted that economic growth in the state is slowing.

The jobless rate rose to a 21-month high of 2.5 percent — still low by historical standards — but half a point above Hawaii’s all-time low of 2 percent reached in April and May, according to data released today by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. The last time Hawaii’s unemployment rate reached 2.5 percent was in April 2017.

Despite the rising unemployment rate, nonfarm payroll jobs, which includes people who might hold multiple positions, increased by 1,100 in December from the previous month. The leisure and hospitality sector showed the largest gain, up 1,300 workers, mostly due to the end in late November of the 51-day strike by United Here Local 5 hotel workers against Marriott-managed properties on Oahu and Maui. Construction had the second-largest gain with the addition of 600 jobs. Government payrolls decreased by 1,400 jobs, primarily due to the result of the release of general election workers.

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