Hawaii jobless claims fall to 4-year low

Published: Aug. 24, 2012 at 8:54 AM HST|Updated: Aug. 24, 2012 at 8:55 AM HST
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By Howard Dicus

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii jobless claims have fallen to 12,218 in the newest weekly report, including first-time claims that fell to 1,404 statewide. Both figures, actual tallies of claims filed last week, are the lowest since 2008.

The data were encouraging, especially given the national new jobless claim tally of 372,000, up 4,000 from the week before, a report that was blamed for the Dow falling 115 points Thursday. Investors, concerned about this and several overseas reports including a plunge in Chinese industrial production, shifted money to Treasury bills.

Jobless claim counts are volatile - they rise and fall a lot - and both the bad national numbers and the good Hawaii numbers could change next week. But Hawaii weekly new jobless claims have topped 2,000 only twice in four months and have been below 1,700 for four weeks.

The last month report on Hawaii employment, covering July, saw 800 more jobs in construction but 400 fewer jobs in federal, state and local government, compared to the month before. Economists said they saw improvement but it was slow. As before, they also cautioned that some people who were newly employed were making lower wages, or had fewer benefits, then they had enjoyed in their previous jobs.

In the new weekly claims count, Oahu claims fell to 7,029, with week-to-week and year-to-year declines in all three offices, Honolulu, Kaneohe and Wailuku. Fewer than 800 of those claims were first-time filings, also with declines in all three offices.

On the Big Island, total claims fell to 2,266, with first-time filings falling before 300. Both the Hilo and Kona offices registered declines in both total and first-time claims.

Maui County counted 1,629 claims, up 16 from the week before, including 183 first-time claims, down 50 from the week before. However, the Kaunakakai office counted 19 new claims, up six, and 133 total claims, up 39.

Kauai claims fell to 767, including 81 first-time claims, both down from the week before. But there was a small rise in agent claims statewide. Those are claims filed against other states by people who are now in Hawaii.

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