Hawaii jobless rate stays at 7.2 percent


POSTED: Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hawaii's unemployment rate remained steady at 7.2 percent in October, even with September, according to statistics released yesterday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A total of 598,824 were employed and 46,656 unemployed out of a labor force of 645,480.

While those numbers might seem encouraging, an estimated 650 state workers who are expected to leave their jobs by the end of the year—some due to retirement and others due to layoffs—have yet to be counted.

The national unemployment rate, meanwhile, climbed to 10.2 percent in October, reaching double digits for the first time in 26 years, according to MarketWatch.





        When: Jan. 13, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall


Admission: $3 general admission; $1 for students, seniors 55 and older, and military personnel with a valid ID


Web site: successhi.com/Job_Fairs.html




Beth Busch, president of Success Advertising Hawaii, which organizes the state's largest job fairs, says a steady unemployment rate between September and October is a good sign.

“;That's a very good thing,”; Busch said. “;I don't expect to see it go way up in Hawaii, but I think we've seen the bottom.”;

Hawaii's level unemployment rate also might reflect temporary holiday hires from retailers in the last few months.

Several retailers, including Macy's and the Honolulu Cookie Co., were on hand at the September job fair to hire for the holidays.

; Busch says she expects more than 100 employers to participate in the next JobQuest job fair, scheduled for Jan. 13 at Blaisdell Center.

Employers from the government, health care and banking sectors are still hiring, as are more retailers, she said, though the hospitality sector's participation is still weak.

The underemployment rate, meanwhile, reached 14.5 percent between the fourth quarter of last year to the third quarter of this year in Hawaii, according to the bureau.

The underemployment rate counts people who have given up looking for a job, those working part-time jobs but seeking full-time employment, and the unemployed.

Hawaii's unemployment rate in October 2008 was at 4.6 percent.

Hawaii's unemployment rate reached a 31-year high of 7.4 percent in May, and has since been at 7 percent or higher for six consecutive months.