Unemployment rises on Molokai, flat on Oahu, falls on other islands

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Behind the announcement of 6.3% July unemployment across Hawaii were jobless rates that actually fell on most islands.

Oahu joblessness held steady at an unadjusted 5.8%; at the other end of the spectrum, Molokai unemployment rose from 12.1% in June to 14.8% in July.

Island-by-island figures Monday from the Hawaii Department of Labor & Industrial Relations went further than Friday's statewide number from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Big Island unemployment fell from 10.4% in June to 10% in July. Kauai joblessness fell from 9% to 8.7%. The island of Maui fell from 8.3% to 8%. Lanai joblessness fell more from 7.9% to 7%.

There are currently fewer than 600,000 wage and salary jobs in Hawaii, and more than 40,000 unemployed workers, but both figures are better than year-before levels.

"Significantly fewer this year," said Pearl Imada Iboshi, the state economist who is currently acting head of DLIR. "We're continuing to see steady improvement."

The steady improvement works out to about 4,000 fewer unemployed persons from July 2009 to July 2010, though only a quarter percent of that happened in the past month.

The total work force has risen only 1,100 in the past year and actually shrank from June to July. Possible explanations include unemployed workers exhausting their benefits so that they are no longer counted; military workers deployed elsewhere; construction workers returning to the mainland after wrapping up the jobs they came here for; and people decided to leave the work force to return to school.

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