County jobless rises half a point to 2.3 percent

The Maui News

Maui County’s jobless rate for December jumped a half-percentage point from 2017 to 2.3 percent, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations reported last week.

The jobless rate was 1.8 percent in December 2017.

The unemployment rates for Maui and Molokai grew in December compared to 2017. For Maui island, the rate was 2.3 percent, up from 1.7 percent; on Molokai, the rate was 4.3 percent, up from 3.9 percent.

Things were different on Lanai, where the jobless rate was a minuscule 0.5 percent, down from 1.2 percent a year earlier.

The Maui County rates were not adjusted for seasonal conditions, such as holiday and summer hiring, making month-over-month comparisons less definitive.

The statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 2.5 percent, up from 2.4 percent in November and 2.1 percent in December 2017.

Initial unemployment claims in December decreased 3 percent compared to 2017 and 10 percent over November.

The biggest job gains in December month over month were logged in the leisure and hospitality sector, up 1,300 jobs; construction, up 600 jobs; and education and health services, up 400 jobs.

Driving the leisure and hospitality gains was the resolution of the 51-day strike by 2,700 hotel workers at five hotels statewide, including the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, at the end of November, the department said.

The professional and business services sector lost 200 jobs. Government jobs fell by 1,400, mainly due to the release of general election workers, the department said.

Compared to the previous December, nonagricultural jobs in Hawaii grew by 9,500, or 1.4 percent.

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