Unemployment down during December

KAILUA-KONA — Hawaii County’s jobless rate dropped a bit during December, data released Thursday by the state shows.

About 2.9 percent of the island’s 88,400-person workforce was without work during the month, according to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations reports. The rate is down from 3.3 percent in November, but higher than December 2017 when unemployment stood at 2 percent.

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Meanwhile, unemployment across the state increased slightly from 2.4 percent in November to 2.5 percent in December, according to the department. In December 2017, about 2.1 percent of the workforce was unemployed.

Around the state, Honolulu City and County saw its unemployment rate drop from 2.5 percent in November to 2.2 percent in December. Kauai and Maui counties also recorded unemployment decreases. Both marked 2.3-percent unemployment rates during the last month of 2018. All are up from December 2017.

Nationwide, unemployment rose from 3.7 percent in November to 3.9 percent in December. But, that’s still down from December 2017 when 4.1 percent of the nation’s workforce was without work.

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In Hawaii, job growth occurred in leisure and hospitality (1,300), construction (600), education and health services (400), manufacturing (200), and other services (200), according to the department. The state attributed the significant increase in the leisure and hospitality to the resolution of labor disputes on Maui, Oahu and Kauai.

Employee contraction was reported in professional and business services (200). Government decreased by 1,400 jobs, which the department attributed to the release of general election workers.