January unemployment in county 5.7 percent

Maui County’s January unemployment rate, not adjusted for seasonal fluctuations, was 5.7 percent, which was up from December but down significantly from January 2012’s 7 percent, the state Department of Labor & Industrial Relations reported Friday.

December’s unemployment rate for Maui County was 4.8 percent.

Maui island’s jobless rate was 5.6 percent, up from December’s 5 percent but down from 6.8 percent in January 2012.

Molokai’s rate was 9.6 percent, down from 13.3 percent in December and 14.6 percent a year earlier.

Lanai had the lowest unemployment rate in the county at 4.9 percent. Still, that was up from 1.5 percent in December and 3.8 percent in January 2012.

The Maui County numbers were not statistically seasonally adjusted and do not reflect hiring and layoff patterns that accompany regular events, such as winter holiday season hiring and summer vacation. This makes month-to-month comparisons difficult.

Statewide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.2 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from December.

There were 618,350 employed and 33,850 unemployed in January, for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 652,200.

Seasonally adjusted construction jobs statewide in January were up from December by 600, continuing an upward trend since the second quarter of last year, the department said. According to the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, there was an over-the-year increase of 49.5 percent in the issuance of private building permits in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Other sectors gaining for the month were professional and business services, up 600, and other services, up 500.

Despite strength in those industrial sectors, total seasonally adjusted nonagricultural jobs declined in January by 400 compared to the previous month.

Jobs in trade, transportation and utilities fell in January by 600 jobs, with the largest losses in retail trade; leisure and hospitality by 500 jobs, with losses concentrated in food services and drinking places; manufacturing by 200 jobs; financial activities by 200 jobs; and educational and health services by 200 jobs.

In the public sector, employment remained stable.

By island, the January jobless rates, not seasonally adjusted, and rates for January 2012 follow:

* For Honolulu, 4.8 percent, up from 5.5 percent

* For the Big Island, 7.6 percent, down from 9.2 percent.

* For Kauai, 6.5 percent, down from 8.2 percent.