Big Island unemployment rate up in June

KAILUA-KONA — The unemployment rate on Hawaii Island increased by more than half a percentage point from May to June, according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Meanwhile, the state rate, which is adjusted to account for seasonal fluctuations, stayed constant for the fourth consecutive month.

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Statewide, 2.8% of Hawaii’s labor force was without work in June, equivalent to about 18,650 unemployed people.

That rate is consistent with what the state has reported since March and just three-fifths of a point higher than the state’s two-year low of 2.2% in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The state also saw a net increase of 300 non-agricultural jobs last month with large gains in professional and business services, which gained 400 jobs, and construction, which gained 200 jobs.

Other sectors reporting job gains included trade, transportation and utilities as well as leisure and hospitality.

Losses occurred in the sectors of financial activities and education and health services.

Locally, the unemployment rate in Hawaii County increased to 4.1% in June, up from 3.4% the month prior.

But unlike the statewide numbers, unemployment rates for the individual counties and islands aren’t seasonally adjusted, meaning they don’t take into account seasonal fluctuations associated with events like the summer vacation season.

Historically, the county has seen a noticeable bump in the unemployment rate in June, according to state data.

With the exception of 2008, the month of June has historically been the unemployment rate’s annual high water mark before regularly dropping back down in July.

The other counties across the state saw increases in their respective unadjusted unemployment rates, all increasing to 3.1% last month from 2.5% in May.

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The state’s unemployment rate consistently remains below the national rate.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics under the U.S. Department of Labor reported a national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.7% for the month of June.

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