Wednesday, September 22, 1999

jobless rate
declines to 5.6%

The August data showed a
drop both from last month
and the year-ago period

By Russ Lynch


Art Hawaii's jobless rate dropped to 5.6 percent last month, down nearly a full point from 6.5 percent in August 1998 and a small improvement from 5.8 percent in July, state officials said.

There were 33,650 people unemployed last month, a drop of 5,550 from 39,200 in August 1998.

On an island-by-island basis, Kauai had the best year-to-year improvement, with a jobless rate of 7.1 percent last month, down from 9.7 percent in the previous August. The Oahu unemployment rate for August was 4.8 percent, down from 5.6 percent in August 1998.

The Big Island also had a year-to- year decline in its jobless rate, to 9.6 percent from 10.6 percent.

Maui's rate improved to 5.1 percent from 6.4 percent and Lanai also showed improvement, with a jobless rate of 3.5 percent compared with 4.5 percent in August 1998.

Molokai's unemployment rate improved to 15.8 percent, from 15.1 percent a year earlier.

Looking at just the July-to-August comparison, the state Department of Labor & Industrial Relations said reopening the state's public schools after the summer break created 2,300 more jobs and temporary-help agencies hired 300 more people than in the previous month.

The social services sector had 1,600 fewer jobs in August than in July, as summer youth hire programs ended.

The U.S. unemployment rate for August was 4.2 percent. However, that figure is seasonally adjusted while the state rate is not.

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