Molokai unemployment office to be unstaffed

Molokai unemployment office to be unstaffed

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - Molokai's unemployment office is losing its sole employee, leaving residents on the island with the state's highest unemployment rate without access to face-to-face services when filing claims.

The Maui News reports that Chocho Kaupu was set to retire Tuesday after more than 30 years on the job. No one has been hired to fill the vacancy.

Linda Chu Takayama with the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations says the state doesn't yet have the funds to fill the position.

She says residents can still access unemployment services online and by phone.

But Hawaii Rep. Lynn DeCoite says some things needed to be handled face-to-face. She has suggested having the department request funding from Hawaii's congressional delegation to hire a replacement for Kaupu.

Statistics show Molokai's unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in December, compared to the state's 2.9 percent.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.