Hawaii jobless claims plunge in weekly tally

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii new jobless claims fell below 2,000 in the newest weekly report, and total claims fell well below 18,000 to reach the lowest level in a year and a half.

The Hawaii Department of Labor & Industrial Relations reported Thursday it counted 1,865 first-time claims and 17,432 total unemployment claims for the period Aug. 15-21.

The new claims number was the lowest since June 26 and second lowest since late August two years ago. The total claims number was the lowest since Dec. 8, 2008.

Both new and total claims fell on every island in every unemployment office. Unemployment claims can fluctuate from week to week but it is unusual for any movement to be felt in every office.

Also down were agent claims, filed against other states by people now living in Hawaii.

Comparing current jobless claims to the same time last year, claims are down 9% on the Big Island, down 14% on Oahu and Kauai, and now by nearly half in Maui County.

The dramatic declines were reported after the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington, D.C., cheered markets with a comparatively modest decline in new jobless claims nationwide following several weeks of increases.

Employment is considered by economists to be a lagging economic indicator, which means it's often one of the last things to get better at the back end of an economic downturn.

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