Hawaii jobless rate edges up slightly
The rate in January moved up to 2.2% from its historic low of 2.0% in December
Hawaii's unemployment rate edged up two-tenths of a point to 2.2 percent in January from its historic low as the number of nonagricultural jobs in the work force continued to grow.
The increase from 2.0 percent in December still left the jobless rate at one of its lowest levels ever and well below the national seasonally adjusted rate of 4.6 percent, according to data released yesterday by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. In January 2006, the state's unemployment rate stood at 2.4 percent.
Nonagricultural jobs increased by 1,400 to 623,900 from the previous month, mainly due to staffing new and renovated retail establishments because of the opening of the Waikiki Beach Walk revitalization redevelopment project.
"Hawaii's vibrant and expanding economy continues to produce new jobs that are providing employment to a substantial number of our residents," Labor Department Director Nelson Befitel said.
Since January 2006, the number of seasonally adjusted jobs has grown by 15,300, or 2.5 percent, with the private sector accounting for 83 percent of the gain.
Overall, the state's labor force grew by 250 over the preceding month to 648,050. The number of people employed fell by 900 to 633,900, while those unemployed increased by 150 to 14,150.
State data showed that the jobless rate was mixed on the individual islands, for which the agency releases only non-seasonally adjusted numbers.
On Oahu, unemployment slipped to 2.0 percent from 2.1 percent in January 2006. The Big Island increased to 2.6 percent from 2.5 percent, Kauai increase to 2.2 percent from 2.1 percent. Maui fell to 1.9 percent from 2.1 percent. Molokai declined to 3.4 percent from 4.7 percent. And Lanai fell to 1.8 percent from 2.1 percent.