Labor department to lay off 9 workers as unemployment drops

Local News

The state labor department is a victim of its own success.

KHON2 has learned that the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations is laying off nine workers.

Federal funding has been cut due to the recent dip in unemployment numbers.

Experts say Hawaii is in the midst of a robust economy, and it’s the perfect time for those looking to move up in their career or to change jobs to get more money.

Some of the bright spots are the booming construction industry as well as tourism.

The state tells us that Hawaii now has the third lowest rate of unemployment in the country, just below Nebraska and North Dakota. That’s great news for most of the working force, except for those in the labor department.

“This is something we just have to deal with,” said director Linda Chu Takayama. “Yes, the economy is doing well and the result of that is low unemployment and this is just one unfortunate result of that.”

The labor department says funding from the federal government is being cut five percent which amounts to about $500,000.

That means nine workers will be laid off, all of them in the Workforce Development Area. Ironically, these are the people who help the unemployed find new jobs.

“So if anybody is best able to help themselves that would be this group of people,” Takayama said.

KHON2 spoke with Beth Busch, president of Success Advertising, a company that runs job fairs. She tells us that more companies are participating because they’re in need of workers, so there are more job opportunities.

“This is a great time for anybody that wants to try a new career path, make more money, reduce your commute, any of those things you can feel more secure because there are jobs out there and now is a good time to make a change,” she said.

Busch says those who want to do that should start networking on social media and do their research to find out which industry will remain strong in the years ahead.

“If you’re going to change from one career to another, you want to make sure you’re landing in one that’s gonna carry you to sustain you through the rest of your career,” she said.

Busch says this low unemployment is likely to last a few years and adds that the healthcare industry is always looking for people.

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