Wednesday, July 21, 1999

Isle jobless rate improves to 6.2%

By Russ Lynch


Hawaii's unemployment rate improved to 6.2 percent last month, from 7 percent in June 1998.

The number of workers without jobs fell to 37,550 last month, a 10.8 percent drop from 42,100 in June 1998, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said today. The state said the civilian work force totaled 601,050 last month, compared with 599,500 a year earlier.

All islands except Molokai and Lanai showed an improvement over last year. Oahu showed a 5.3 percent jobless rate last month, compared with 5.8 percent a year earlier. Maui had a 5.8 percent rate, down from 7.3 percent. Kauai reported 7.6 percent unemployment, down from 11.1 percent. The Big Island had a June rate 11.3 percent, vs. 12 percent a year ago.

The Lanai rate was unchanged at 2.2 percent and Molokai had a 17.4 percent rate vs. 16.9 percent a year earlier.

The statewide jobless rate was still higher than the U.S. average, which was 4.5 percent last month and 4.7 percent in June 1998. (The figures are not exactly comparable, since the U.S. figures are seasonally adjusted and the Hawaii figures are not).

The state's 6.2 percent rate for June was also up from 5.5 percent in May. The labor department said the jobless rate in June is normally higher than at other times of the year because that is when more people enter the job market and tell survey takers that they are in the work force but out of work.

The unemployment figures are gathered from a house-to-house survey.

A more detailed survey of employers showed a slight increase in the number of jobs in the economy, to 532,900 last month from 532,700 in June 1998.

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