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County jobless rate at 2.8% in month of April

Hawaii was one of 12 states with unemployment below 3 percent

The Maui News

After jumping to 5.8 percent in March, Molokai’s jobless rate slid back down to 4.7 percent in April, lower than at the same time last year (5.4 percent) but still the highest in the state, according to a report released Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Meanwhile, Lanai’s unemployment rates were once again the lowest in the state at 1.3 percent in April, 1 percentage point less than the 2.3 percent the island recorded in April 2018. Lanai’s unemployment rates dropped as low as 0.8 percent in February but rose to 2.7 percent in March.

Maui island reached 2.7 percent in April, an increase over the 2.1 percent it recorded at the same time a year ago. The Valley Isle’s jobless rate was 2.8 percent in both February and March.

Overall, Maui County’s unemployment rate in April was at 2.8 percent, up from 2.1 percent in April 2018 and in keeping with economic forecasts that predict unemployment to eventually rise to pre-recession levels after years of record growth. County rates were at 2.9 percent in March and 2.8 percent in February.

The breakdown for each island was not seasonally adjusted, meaning the numbers do not take into account seasonal employment fluctuations like the winter holiday and summer vacation hiring. This devalues month-to-month comparisons.

Statewide, unemployment was at 2.8 percent in April, up from 2.2 percent at the same time a year ago. The seasonally adjusted numbers are similar at 2.8 percent in April of this year and 2.3 percent in April 2018.

Across the state, 651,450 people were employed, with 19,000 out of work, an increase over the 15,700 who had no jobs back in April 2018, the department reported.

From March to April, agricultural jobs in the state increased by 1,200. The leisure and hospitality industry saw the greatest gains with 1,100 more jobs, followed by construction (500), professional and business services (200), education and health services (200) and manufacturing (100). Government jobs rose by 300.

Meanwhile, industries that lost jobs included the trade, transportation and utilities sector at 700 fewer jobs, as well as financial activities (400 fewer jobs) and other services (100 fewer jobs).

Compared to a year ago, total nonfarm jobs have expanded by 3,800, or 0.6 percent.

The U.S. Department of Labor also reported last week that a record 12 states, including Hawaii, had unemployment rates below 3 percent in April. Overall in the U.S., jobless rates were at 3.6 percent, down from 3.9 percent in April 2018.

To view current and past unemployment rate reports, visit labor.hawaii.gov/blog/category/news.