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Slight uptick for Maui County jobless rate

The Maui News

Maui County’s unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 10.3 percent in May to 10.7 percent in June as the economy slowly marches toward recovery and businesses try to call back workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unemployment on Maui island was 10.9 percent in June, followed by Molokai at 8.8 percent and Lanai at 4.1 percent, according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, which released the latest numbers on Thursday. The rates, while still higher than they were before the pandemic, are for the most part an improvement over June 2020, when Maui County’s unemployment rate was at 22.8 percent — 23.5 percent on Maui, 10.2 percent on Molokai and 3.9 percent on Lanai.

The county’s rates were the highest in the state at the time; last month they were second only to Kauai County, which reported an 11.2 percent jobless rate in June. Unemployment was at 7.9 percent in Hawaii County and 7.1 percent in Honolulu County.

County data had not been adjusted for seasonal hiring changes.

Statewide, the nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in June, while the seasonally adjusted rate was 7.7 percent.

Hawaii is seeing slightly higher rates than the U.S. overall, which had a nonseasonally adjusted jobless rate of 6.1 percent and a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.9 percent in June.

The number of out-of-work residents in Hawaii declined slightly, going from 52,100 in May to 49,750 in June, while the total of employed residents increased from 595,400 in May to 596,500 in June. However, the labor force as a whole declined from 647,500 in May to 646,250 in June.

The rapid return of tourism has driven some of the job gains. Total nonagricultural positions increased by 3,000 from May to June, with jobs up by 2,500 in leisure and hospitality; 1,000 in construction; 600 in trade, transportation and utilities; 500 in other services; and 300 in information.

For the third straight month, expansion in leisure and hospitality was robust in both accommodation as well as food services and drinking places, the department said.

Job losses, meanwhile, occurred in education and health services, which declined by 1,300 jobs; government employment, which dipped by 200 jobs; professional and business services, which was down by 200 jobs; manufacturing, which saw a decline of 100 jobs; and financial activities, where jobs dropped by 100.

Compared to the June 2020, the third month of the pandemic, nonfarm jobs have risen by 41,900, or 8 percent. However, jobs aren’t quite back up to pre-pandemic levels — in comparison with March 2020 at the start of the pandemic, nonfarm jobs were down by 86,400, or 13.2 percent.

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