Big Island unemployment rate drops slightly

KAILUA-KONA — Hawaii Island’s unemployment rate continues to hover around 4 percent, however, it is down substantially from five years ago when a tenth our island’s labor force was without work.

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KAILUA-KONA — Hawaii Island’s unemployment rate continues to hover around 4 percent, however, it is down substantially from five years ago when a tenth our island’s labor force was without work.

That’s according to an analysis of Department of Labor and Industrial Relations statistics released Friday. May’s unemployment rate of 3.9 percent was down from 4 percent in April and 5.4 percent in May 2015.

The rate is also 61 percent lower than five years ago. In May 2011, 10 percent of Big Islanders able to work were unemployed.

Hawaii County’s workforce totaled 91,450 during May, of those 3,600 were without work. Comparatively, in May 2011, 8,950 of the island’s 89,300 labor force were unemployed.

Statewide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged from April at 3.2 percent, according to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. A year ago, 3.7 percent of the state’s labor force was unemployed; five years ago it was 6.7 percent.

Around the state, Honolulu City and County and Maui County unemployment rates were unchanged from April at 2.9 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively. Kauai County’s rate decreased to 3.4 percent from 3.6 percent.

Nationwide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.5 percent, down from 4.7 percent in April and 5.3 percent a year ago. During the month, some 484,000 jobs were created, decreasing the number of people unemployed nationwide by 484,000 to about 7.4 million.

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Across the state of Hawaii, 22,300 people were unemployed in May, down from 25,050 a year ago. The state’s labor force comprises 688,100 workers, which is up more than 12,000 people from last year.

Jobs were added in construction (700), financial activities (300) and manufacturing (200). Losses occurred in educational and health services (200), trade, transportation and utilities (400), and leisure and hospitality (1,100). The decrease in leisure and hospitality was concentrated in the food services and drinking places sector, according to the state. Government jobs increased by 2,000 positions largely as a result of seasonal fluctuation within the Department of Education.

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