Big Island still has state's highest unemployment

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - The number of people without jobs on Hawaii's Big Island remains far higher than in the rest of the state.

The state Department of Labor reported Monday that while unemployment in Hawaii County fell slightly to 9.3 percent in October, the island trails the statewide unemployment rate of 6.4 percent.

Big Island Visitors Bureau Executive Director George Applegate told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald that the island's recovery will be closely tied to increased air travel and a reinvigorated tourism industry.

Applegate said the arrival of Alaska Air to Kona should add 25,000 seats over the next six months, offsetting the suspension of JAL's daily flight to Kona in October.

Unemployment was 5.5 percent on Oahu, 7.8 percent on Maui and 8.5 percent on Kauai.

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