State unemployment rate stagnates at 4.5%


POSTED: Friday, November 21, 2008

Hawaii's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 4.5 percent in October, ending a string of six consecutive increases over the previous month.

Still, the jobless numbers are considered lagging indicators, and local economists have been predicting this week that the state economy will continue to contract until beginning to recover in 2010. In October 2007, Hawaii's unemployment rate was 2.8 percent.

The national unemployment rate in October, which was reported earlier this month, was 6.5 percent.

A total of 635,100 people were employed last month, down from 637,400 in the previous month but up from 629,100 in the year-earlier period. There were 30,250 unemployed in October, up from 30,050 in September and sharply higher from 18,200 in October 2007.

By island, Oahu's jobless rate decreased to 3.8 percent in October from 4.2 percent in September but rose from 2.4 percent a year ago. The Big Island's jobless rate fell to 6.3 percent from 6.7 percent in September but up from 3.3 percent a year ago. Maui fell to 5.0 percent from 5.2 percent in September and up from 3.2 percent a year ago. Lanai fell to 4.4 percent from 4.9 percent in September and 1.0 percent a year ago. Molokai fell to 12.5 percent from 15.3 percent in September and 5.4 percent a year ago. Kauai, though, rose to 5.4 percent from 4.9 percent in September and 2.5 percent a year ago. All the island figures are nonseasonally adjusted.