Hawai’i’s unemployment rate slightly decreased

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawai’i State Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT), announced Thursday the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October 2021 was 6.3 percent compared to 6.6 percent a month earlier in September.

“This is encouraging because it indicates the economy is recovering,” Gov. David Ige said. “We still have a long way to go, but there are currently a lot of job opportunities and we encourage people to apply and get back to work.”

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Dr. Eugene Tian, chief economist of the State of Hawai’i said the October unemployment statistics show that our labor market conditions continue to improve

DBEDT said statewide, 605,950 were employed and 40,850 unemployed in October for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 646,800.

However, the nation’s unemployment rate is at 4.8 percent in September, which is down 5.2 percent in August, according to DBEDT.

According to Tian, Hawai’i’s unemployment rate was the highest in the nation at the beginning of the year and then dropped to the 8th highest in the nation in July due to the recovery of tourism.

Since August, there were some challenges in dealing with the Delta Variant cases which impacted tourism.,” Tian said. “Our unemployment rate ranking worsened and our unemployment rate continued declining, and October was the 9th consecutive decrease since the beginning of the year.” 

One year ago, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Hawai’i was set at 14 percent, which was 7.7 percent higher than October of 2021 and almost doubled the national unemployment rate.

The national unemployment rate for the nation was at 6.9 percent in October of 2020, and DBEDT said it is at 4.6 percent for October 2021, which is 2.3 lower than it was last year.

Seasonally adjusted positions include but are not limited to construction, manufacturing, trade, transportation, utility, information, financial, real estate, education, administrative, waste management, leisure & hospital, arts, entertainment, local government, state and federal government jobs.

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The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate nationwide was also 14 percent, however, for Hawai’i, it was 8.2 percent higher than October of 2021, staying at a firm 5.8 percent.

According to DBEDT, jobs have increased by 54,000 over the year. The data provided was in accordance with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) methodology.

“Hawai‘i is the most tourism dependent state in the nation and the pandemic hit tourism industry the most which is why Hawai‘i had the highest unemployment rate in the nation between April 2020 and March 2021,” Tian said. “With the opening of tourism, especially the opening of international travel, we expect that our labor market conditions will improve faster in the months to come.”

Tian said U.S. unemployment decreased by 1.7 percentage points between January and October of 2021, from 6.3% to 4.6%. Meanwhile, Hawai’i’s unemployment dropped by four percentage points, from 10.3% to 6.3%.

“Hawai’i’s labor market recovery was faster than the U.S. as a whole,” Tian said.

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