Unemployment remains at 4.8% for Maui County

Maui County’s unemployment rate remained at 4.8 percent in May, the same as it was in April, but down 1.6 percentage points from May 2012, according to statistics released Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Maui island’s rate in May was 4.7 percent unemployed, unchanged from April, and down from 6.3 percent in May 2012. Molokai continued to have the state’s highest unemployment rate at 8.3 percent in May, although that was 0.2 percentage points lower than April’s 8.5 percent and 3.7 percentage points down from 12 percent a year earlier. Lanai reported the state’s lowest unemployment, 1.9 percent, down 0.5 percentage points from April’s 2.4 percent and off 0.6 percentage points from a year ago.

Maui County data was not seasonally adjusted. Seasonal adjustments reflect the hiring and layoff patterns that accompany regular events such as winter holidays and the summer vacation season. These variations make it difficult to determine whether employment changes are from normal seasonal patterns or from changing economic conditions. Statisticians compensate for the fluctuations by making seasonal adjustments to labor figures.

Statewide, May’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in May, down 0.2 percentage points from April and down 1.4 percentage points from a year ago. The seasonally adjusted U.S. unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in May, up 0.1 percentage points from April and down 0.6 percentage points from a year ago.

Statewide, there were 615,750 employed and 30,600 unemployed in May.

Initial unemployment claims and weeks claims decreased by 18, or 1 percent, and by 1,788, or 13.2 percent, respectively, compared with a year ago, the department reported. Between April and May this year, both initial claims and weeks claims dropped by 6.3 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

In another measure of employment, total seasonally adjusted nonagricultural jobs declined by 2,000 over the month. Government jobs declined by 2,800, mostly because of shifts in seasonal staffing patterns in the state Department of Education.

In the private sector, monthly job expansion happened in the leisure and hospitality category (plus 800), education and health services (plus 300), professional and business services (plus 100) and financial services (plus 100). Within leisure and hospitality, most of the additional jobs came from food services and drinking places. Employment in the other services category remained unchanged.

There were fewer jobs in manufacturing (minus 100), trade, transportation and utilities (minus 100) and construction (minus 300).

Over the year, among major industry sectors, there have been job gains in construction (plus 2,700) and leisure and hospitality (plus 1,900).