Unemployment Rate Lower in Maui County

Unemployment rate lower in county

March 8, 2011
Article from: The Maui News

The unemployment rate for Maui County fell one percentage point in January from the same month a year ago to 7.9 percent, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations reported Monday.

That jobless rate for January was higher than the state’s 6.4 percent (not seasonally adjusted) but the best for the Neighbor Islands. Kauai logged an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent and the Big Island 9.3 percent. Oahu’s jobless rate was 5.4 percent.

The national unemployment rate for January (not seasonally adjusted) was 9.8 percent.

By island in the county, Lanai had the lowest rate of joblessness, at 5.3 percent, down from 8.7 percent in January 2010, followed by Maui island at 7.9 percent, down from 8.6 percent, and Molokai at 12 percent, down from 15.5 percent.

Unemployment rates in December were higher on Lanai (6 percent) and Molokai (12.7 percent) but lower on Maui island (7.3 percent). The Maui increase was likely due to an end in holiday employment, said Kevin Kimizuka, Maui County branch manager of the labor department’s Workforce Development Division, on Monday morning.

Anecdotally, Kimizuka said that his division has seen more jobs for part-time work and at the entry level, such as salesclerks, receptionists and warehouse laborers. However, the more career-oriented and managerial-level jobs are not opening up. Most opportunities are temporary in this sector, he said.

He added that his division is seeing fewer people seeking unemployment claims.

Looking at the different sectors statewide, the biggest gain came in trade, transportation and utilities, which was up 2,100 jobs, the Labor Department reported. This comes on the heels of two straight months of declines. Retail trade posted a 2,300-job gain in the month.

Government (1,500) and leisure and hospitality (1,300) sectors also showed gains in the labor department report.

On the other side of the ledger, construction shed 1,000 jobs in January, after seeing three months of growth. All sectors fell, including residential construction and work for trade and framing contractors. From January 2010 to this January, 1,700 jobs were lost in construction.

There were 590,800 employed and 39,650 unemployed people in January, for a seasonally adjusted labor force of 630,450, the report said. Last January, the seasonally adjusted work force was 628,650.