The long-term improvement in the Hawaii jobless picture was interrupted this week both by layoff announcements and actual new jobless benefit filings.
First-time claims for unemployment benefits topped 2,000 for the first time since the post-Christmas retail layoffs in early January, the Hawaii Department of Labor & Industrial Relations reported.
There were 2,174 new claims with increases in all four operating counties, though first-time filings fell on Molokai (to 17) and in the Kaneohe unemployment office (to 190).
Total claims, including repeat filings by people already out of work, also rose, to 12,257, the first time the number has been over 12,000 since the second week of March.
Every unemployment office in the state saw increases in total claims, although there was a small decline in agent claims, filed against other states by people now living in Hawaii. About 600 people are drawing unemployment from other states while living in Hawaii.
Jobless claims fluctuate from week to week. At the national level, new jobless claims fell 42,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 346,000 erasing sharp increases of the two weeks prior.
The spike in Hawaii claims came as Farmers Insurance Hawaii announced plans for 74 job cuts from June through the end of the year - but without closing any of its offices statewide - while Tesoro Hawaii said it was proceeding with its refinery closure and about 200 layoffs despite still talking to prospective buyers. These job cuts have not hit the weekly statistics yet.