Hawaii jobless claims fall; more discouraged workers on mainland

HONOLULU and WASHINGTON (HawaiiNewsNow) – Hawaii new jobless claims fell last week, while total weekly claims have fallen to a four-year low, but on the mainland a drop in the jobless rate is being attributed to more people dropping out of the work force.

Hawaii jobless claims filed last week fell below 12,000 for the first time since June 2008, while first-time filings declined to 1,528, down 22 percent from the same time last year.

Weekly claims fluctuate but a downtrend has become apparent in recent weeks. The weekly count is posted by the Hawaii Department of Labor & Industrial Relations.

The nation's jobless rate fell two tenths to 8.1 percent in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington D.C. reported Friday morning, but apparently less because of new hiring than because of more discouraged workers leaving the work force altogether.

Based on the usual two surveys used to get the national numbers – a household survey and an employer survey – the private sector created about 100,000 jobs, offset by a few thousand fewer jobs in the government sector. But well over 300,000 people who had been in the work force, left it.

Some households have lost their second income as one spouse works but another leaves the work force. Others return to school during economic slumps to acquire new skills and be prepared for the next cycle of prosperity. (University of Hawaii system enrollment has risen in recent years).

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