Isle jobless rateStar-Bulletin staff
falls to 5.2%
Hawaii's unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent last month, from 6.1 percent in October 1998.
The number of people employed rose by 6,600 to 567,800 from a year-earlier count of 561,200 and the number of people out of work fell by 5,050 to 31,150 last month compared with 36,200 in October 1998, according to the monthly report by the state Department of Labor & Industrial Relations.
The statewide unemployment rate for last month was also improved from the 5.5 percent level recorded in September.
The number of jobs had fallen in September but rose by 4,800 in the following month, the state said. Most of the September-to-October increase came from the hiring of 4,000 part-time and intermittent workers in state education. However, Hawaii's unemployment rate was still well above the national average, which dropped to 3.8 percent last month from 4.2 percent in the year-earlier month. (The national figures are seasonally adjusted while the Hawaii numbers are not.)
All islands except Molokai and Lanai had an improved unemployment picture for October from a year earlier. Maui had the lowest jobless rate in the state at 4.6 percent last month. Oahu, which normally has the lowest unemployment, was behind Maui at 4.7 percent. The Big Island had an October jobless rate of 7.7 percent and Kauai was at 6.9 percent. Molokai had a jobless rate of 18.4 percent and Lanai was at 5 percent.