Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Hawaii’s 3% jobless
rate lowest in U.S.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipped to 3 percent in May, down from 4.3 percent in the same month last year.

It was the lowest unemployment rate Hawaii has seen since the 2.9 percent posted in October 1991, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said yesterday.

Art Hawaii had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation for the month of May, the department said.

The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate last month was 5.6 percent, down from 6.1 percent in May 2003.

Department Director Nelson Befitel said the first year and a half of Gov. Linda Lingle's administration has been marked with consistently low unemployment and steady job growth.

"This positive trend reflects the state's improving economy and the business community's high confidence and optimism of the direction that our state is being led," Befitel said. "Consistent low unemployment will lead to better paying jobs for our working families."

Honolulu City and County had the lowest unemployment in the state with a 2.6 percent non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate in May, down from 3.7 percent in the same month last year. Seasonally adjusted numbers are not available by county.

All islands saw a drop with Lanai at 1.9 percent compared to 2.9 percent, Maui falling to 2.9 percent from 4 percent, Kauai improving to 3.6 percent from 4.8 percent, the Big Island coming in at 4.7 percent compared to 6.8 percent and perennially high Molokai sliding to 11.1 percent from 13.5 percent.


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