Jobless rate up slightly
to 4.1 percent, well
below national level

Hawaii's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in December, the same as the month prior, according to figures released yesterday by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

In December 2002, the unemployment rate stood at 3.9 percent.

The latest figure is still well behind the national unemployment rate of 5.7 percent.

In December, Hawaii's labor force totaled 610,400 comprising 587,400 employed and 26,700 unemployed.

During 2003, Hawaii's economy added 10,900 private non-agricultural jobs.

Among the major industries, the largest gains occurred in trade, transportation and utilities, with more than 2,700 jobs added. The leisure and hospitality sector added more than 2,600 jobs.

Education and health services also added more than 2,600 jobs, while professional and business services increased by more than 1,100 jobs. The state and federal governments experienced a small decrease in jobs.

With the boom in the construction and an anticipated expansion of the cruise ship industry, the department predicts continued job growth this year.

"The growth in these industries will also have a positive effect on other existing industries such as tourism and real estate," said DLIR Director Nelson Befitel.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment numbers take into account regular fluctuations throughout the year such as teachers and students being out of school. By factoring in those numbers, the line of unemployment is flatter and will not show dramatic shifts seen in unemployment numbers that aren't seasonally adjusted.


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