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County unemployment rate ties record low set in ‘06

Updated: 
November 17, 2017 - 10:16am

KAILUA-KONA — Hawaii County’s unemployment rate during October tied a record low set more than 10 years ago.

The Big Island’s jobless rate dropped to 2.3 percent in October from 2.8 percent in September, according to data released Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR). In October 2016, the island’s rate of unemployment stood at 3.6 percent.

The last time Hawaii County’s rate was 2.3 percent was in December 2006, before the start of the Great Recession. According to monthly data going back to 1990 kept by the DLIR, Hawaii County’s unemployment rate has never dropped below 2.3 percent.

Unemployment peaked at 11.1 percent in June 2011, and has since tapered down over the years. Since 1990, the highest unemployment rate on the Big Island was recorded in June 1994 at 11.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the statewide unemployment rate hit a record low during October.

The seasonally adjusted number plunged three-tenths of a point to 2.2 percent in October, according to the DLIR.

That easily surpassed the previous low of 2.4 percent achieved from October through December 2006 and from May through September 1989.

“The 2.2 percent unemployment rate is the lowest unemployment rate on record dating back to 1976, under current methodology,” DLIR Director Linda Chu Takayama said in a statement.

Around the state, Maui County’s unemployment rate edged to 2 percent, down from 2.6 percent in September while Kauai County rate dropped to 1.8 percent, down from 2.3 percent in September. Honolulu City and County saw its rate decrease from 2.3 percent in September to 1.8 percent last month.

Nationally, the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 3.9 percent in September from 4.1 percent the month prior.

Across the state, job gains were recorded in the leisure and hospitality industry (1,000), construction (800) and information (200). The bulk of the increase in leisure and hospitality was attributed to employment increases in food services and drinking places.

Job losses were reported in manufacturing (100); financial activities (300); trade, transportation and utilities (500); professional and business services (500); and educational and health services (600). Government employment declined by 500 jobs, the DLIR said.

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