Hawaii new jobless claims fall

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii new jobless claims fell by more than 200 in the latest weekly report, to 2,626 statewide. Most of the decline was on Oahu this time.

Total weekly claims for the week to Jan. 13, including repeat filers, fell more than 800, to 11,428, with declines spread more evenly across Hawaii's four operating counties.

Jobless claims tend to go up and down a lot, but in Hawaii total weekly claims have topped 12,000 only five times since the beginning of September. Two of those weeks were in January as seasonal retail workers were laid off. The local numbers reported in this story are not seasonally adjusted.

Claims were above 14,000 each week in January 2012, according to actual claims counts made by the Department of Labor & Industrial Relations and posted by the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.

On Oahu, new claims fell below 1,000 for the first time in January, though they have been below 1,000 more often than not since last summer.

On the Big Island, there were 287 new claims, one more than the week before but lower than the two weeks before that. There were two more new claims in the Kona office, offset by one fewer in the Hilo office.

In Maui County, there were 230 new claims in the Wailuku office, down five, and nine new claims in the Kaunakakai office, down one.

On Kauai, there were 102 new claims, down five from the week before.

New agent claims fell from 64 to 47. Agent claims are filed against other states by people who are now in Hawaii.

Economists have noted two separate trends in unemployment both in Hawaii and on the mainland, in which people who are newly laid off quickly find new work while those who have been unemployment for more than six months are continuing to have difficulty getting a new job.

On Thursday the Labor Department in Washington D.C. reported 238,000 seasonally adjusted new jobless claims nationwide, up from the week before but still in a low enough range to produce a lower unemployment rate if it persists. The outplacement firm Challenger Gray reported a downtrend in layoff notices and the payroll contractor ADP reported an increase in hiring, but both firms cautioned that their information was from the private sector and did not account for any possible government layoffs.

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