Hawai`i’s Unemployment Rate at Two Percent in December

The Hawai`i State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations announced on Monday that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 2.0 percent, compared to the revised rate of 2.1 percent for November. Statewide, 668,600 were employed and 13,550 unemployed in December for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 682,200. Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in December, the same as in November.

“The revised 2.1 percent rate in November means that the 2.0 percent unemployment rate in December is the historically lowest unemployment rate on record dating back to 1976, under current methodology” said Leonard Hoshijo, Acting DLIR Director.

Both initial claims and weeks claims decreased by 109 or 7.9 percent and by 92 or 1.2 percent respectively for unemployment benefits compared to one year ago. Over-the-month both initial claims and weeks claims increased by 8.6 percent 2.0 percent respectively in December 2017.

The unemployment rate figures for the State of Hawaii and the U.S. in this release are seasonally adjusted, in accordance with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) methodology.

The not seasonally adjusted rate for the State was 1.7 percent in December, compared to 2.0 percent in November.

In a separate measure of employment, nonagricultural jobs increased by 2,100 in December over November. Among the major sectors, there were job gains in Educational & Health Services (+1,000), Professional & Business Services (+400), Financial Activities (+300), Other Services (+200) and Leisure & Hospitality (+100). Within Educational & Health Services, the rise was slightly more in Health Care & Social Assistance (+600) than in Educational Services (+400). Employment in Construction and Manufacturing remained unchanged. Jobs losses were experienced in Information (-200) and in Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (-1,100). Less seasonal hiring in Retail Trade was the primary factor in the drop in Trade, Transportation, & Utilities. Jobs in Government went up by 1,400 jobs, largely due to the seasonal effect of a non-election year (no release of November election workers). In comparison with December 2016, total nonfarm jobs have expanded by 7,200, or 1.1 percent.