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Hawaii’s unemployment rate sinks to 18-month low of 6.6%

Hawaii’s unemployment rate plunged in September to an 18-month low of 6.6% — its eighth consecutive monthly decline — as more people in the state left the labor force.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate declined four-tenths of a percentage point from 7% in August, according to data released today by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

Hawaii, which like much of the country has been experiencing difficulty finding workers, saw its labor force shrink by 500 people to 646,850 last month from 647,350 in August.

However, those employed rose to 603,850 from 601,800 while the number of unemployed people fell to 43,000 from 45,550.

In May 2020, the state’s unemployment rate stood at a record 21.9% during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The last time the jobless rate was lower than 6.6% was in March 2020 when it was at 2.1% at the start of the pandemic.

In another measure of unemployment, total nonagricultural jobs increased by 100 over the previous month. The largest job increase was 700 in the education and health services category.

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