State unemployment dips to 5% in January

The unemployment rate for Maui declined 0.3 percentage point to 5 percent in January, compared with the same month in 2013, the state Department of Labor & Industrial Relations reported Monday.

The percentage was higher than the 4.5 percent in December, though county statistics are not adjusted for seasonal changes in employment, such as the flurry of hiring during the winter holidays and summer vacations. Statistical seasonal adjustments allow for better reflection of month-to-month changes.

The January unemployment rate was 3 percent for Lanai, the lowest in the state, which was down 1.6 percentage points from 2013. Molokai had the state’s highest jobless rate at 6.9 percent, which was down 1.8 percentage points from 8.7 percent in January 2013.

The overall Maui County jobless rate was the same as Maui island’s at 5 percent, down from 5.4 percent in 2013.

Statewide unemployment, which was seasonally adjusted, was 4.6 percent, down from the 4.7 percent in December and 4.9 percent in January 2013. The rate continued a general downward monthly trend, going back to the 6.7 percent rate in August 2011.

The seasonally adjusted national rate for January was 6.6 percent.

The seasonally adjusted labor force of 655,900 in January was slightly higher than the 653,700 in December. The number of employed in January was 625,650, up from 623,100 in December; there were 30,250 unemployed in January – which as slightly higher than the 30,550 the previous month.

The major industry sector job gains in January, compared to December, were in leisure and hospitality, up 700 jobs, and educational and health services, up 200. The “other services” sector was up 900 jobs. In the leisure and hospitality category, gains were registered in food services and drinking places.

Job losses in January month over month were logged in the trade, transportation and utilities category, down 1,800; in professional and business services, down 800; and in construction, down 500. In the trade, transportation and utility sector, the major declines were in retail trade, after the release of seasonal workers following stronger than normal hiring in October and November, the labor department said.

Public sector employment fell 300 jobs in January, compared to December, with local government accounting for the decline.