Big Island jobless rate falls
The Big Island’s unemployment rate inched down in November while the state’s rate held steady, according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial relations.
Hawaii County’s unemployment rate increased to 6.2 percent in November, down from 6.3 percent in October, 6.1 percent in September and 5.8 percent in August, according to the department, which noted unemployment in November 2012 at 7.3 percent. The island continues, as it has historically done, to hold the highest unemployment rate among Hawaii’s four counties.
Statewide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 4.4 percent in November, according to the department. Unemployment statewide in November 2012 was 5.3 percent.
Around the state, Honolulu City and County’s unemployment rate in November stayed put at 4.2 percent, down from 4.6 percent in November 2012; Maui County’s rate dropped slightly to 4.9 percent in November from 5 percent the month before and 5.7 percent in November 2012; and Kauai County saw its rate in November hold steady at 5.5 percent.
Nationwide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7 percent in November, down from 7.3 percent in October, according to the department. The rate is also down from 7.8 percent when compared to a year ago.
The number of unemployed people nationwide declined from 11.3 million in October to 10.9 million in November, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, which noted nonfarm employment rose by 203,000 positions during November.
In Hawaii, some 29,000 people remained unemployed and 622,000 held jobs in November, according to the department. The number of unemployed increased by 500 from October, however, the number of employed increased by 2,850.
Hawaii Island’s work force in November, the most recent data available, consisted of 81,400 people of whom 76,400 held jobs, according to the preliminary statistics kept by the federal bureau.
Statewide, some 1,100 nonagriculture-related jobs were created during November, according to the department. With the increase, the number of jobs available in October at 616,400 is up about a percentage point from 609,800 in October 2012. Approximately 454,000 of those jobs are located in Honolulu.
The leisure and hospitality sector saw the greatest increase in the number of jobs added with 1,700 new positions, followed by the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which saw 1,400 new positions added. Education and health services added 400 jobs while manufacturing added 300 positions.
On the year, according to state officials, the leisure and hospitality sector has seen the greatest growth in jobs with 5,100 jobs added.
The state attributed the large gains in the leisure and hospitality sector to employment gains in food and drinking establishments. The increases in the trade, transportation and utilities sector were tied to “stronger than typical season hiring” particularly in general merchandise stores and clothing and clothing accessories stores.
The greatest decrease in employment was recorded in the government sector with 2,300 jobs lost because of a smaller volume of November seasonal hiring by the state Department of Education and the University of Hawaii system, according to the state. Government was followed by other services, which saw 300 positions cut, and professional and business services and financial activities each recording 100 jobs lost.
Construction employment remained unchanged in November, according to the department.
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