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Hawaii unemployment rate improves to 13.9% despite tourism lockdown

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Hawaii’s unemployment rate improved dramatically to 13.9% in June even as the state grapples with a tourism lockdown that has kept tens of thousands of people out of work due to the pandemic.

The seasonally adjusted rate was significantly better than the revised 23.5% rate in May and the all-time high in April of 23.8%, which appears likely to stand as the peak as the local economy gradually reopens.

Hawaii’s labor force, which includes those who are self-employed, declined in June to 612,800 from 627,000 in May, according to data released today from the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. But with some businesses reopening, the number of people employed rose 10% to 527,600 from 479,600 and those unemployed shrank to 85,200 from 147,350.

Nonfarm payroll jobs, which are calculated from a mail survey of employers and are typically looked at to gauge job growth, rose by 18,300 in June from May but declined 94,700 year over year. The leisure and hospitality sector showed the largest job gain from the previous month at 12,300 while the professional and business services category was next with 1,500 additional jobs.

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