Hawaii’s jobless rate increasing
Hawaii's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February was 3.2 percent, a 0.1 percentage point increase over January, according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
While the February figure came in above Hawaii's average over the past year, 2.8 percent, it also remained well below the U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.8 percent in February.
"Historically, Hawaii has been able to weather the economic downturns experienced in the mainland," said Darwin L.D. Ching, director of DLIR. "As reflected in Hawaii's low unemployment rates versus the national rates over a considerable stretch of time, the local economy continues to exhibit resiliency, as our economy continues to grow at a moderated pace."
"However, Hawaii, which once had the lowest unemployment in the nation, is now at No. 8. South Dakota was lowest in February, at 2.6 percent.
By island -- for which the data is not seasonally adjusted -- unemployment was highest on Molokai, at 5.9 percent, followed by Lanai at 4.5 percent. As expected, Oahu recorded the lowest unemployment rate statewide, at 2.8 percent.
Job declines in trade, transportation and utilities were primarily due to NCL Corp.'s decision to release hundreds of employees and relocate one of its ships to Europe. Job losses were also recorded in state government, mostly in state education.
The silver lining was a gain of 300 jobs in retail trade, due mainly to the recent opening of Nordstrom at Ala Moana Center.
Job gains were reported in the educational and health services sector, with an additional 500 positions, as well as construction, which added 300 jobs over the month.
The leisure and hospitality category remained unchanged, with a loss of jobs in accommodation and food services balanced out by a 100-job gain in arts, entertainment and recreation.
The number of nonagricultural jobs fell by 1,900 to 626,700 in February compared to January, following three consecutive months of growth.
Compared to February 2007, however, the job count grew by 2,900, with the private sector comprising nearly 80 percent of the gain. Construction gained 1,800 jobs, and educational and health services gained 1,600 jobs over the year.