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County of Kaua‘i jobless rate falls to 2.1 percent in May

LIHU‘E — A drop in the civilian labor force coupled with job additions in key sectors helped push the unemployment rate to its lowest point for the month of May in at least 35 years on Kaua‘i.

The jobless rate slid to 2.1 percent in May from 2.6 percent in May 2023, according to monthly data released by the Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism on Thursday.

The most recent reading was the lowest for the month of May based on online records dating back to 1990. The previous low for the month was 2.2 percent, which was posted in May 2018 and May 2019.

Job growth was led by the food service and drinking places sector, which added 200 jobs in May to bring its total roster to 4,400. That marked a gain of 4.8 percent in the period.

Five sectors — state government, other service, local government, health care and social assistance and accommodation — each added 100 jobs in the period. That marked increases of 3.2 percent, 9.1 percent, 7.7 percent, 3.8 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.

Five other sectors — retail trade, professional and business service, natural resources, mining and construction, financial activities and federal government — each shed 100 jobs in the period. That marked decreases of 2.6 percent, 3.3 percent, 4.8 percent, 9.1 percent and 16.7 percent, respectively.

All told, civilian employment eased to 35,200 in May from 35,550 in May 2023 for a drop of 0.98 percent. The civilian labor force contracted to 35,900 in May from 36,500 in May 2023 for a decrease of 1.64 percent.

The highest unemployment rate recorded in the four major islands was on Maui, whose economy continues to recover from the deadly Lahaina Fire on Aug. 8, 2023. The wildfire claimed the lives of 102 people and destroyed more than 2,000 structures.

The jobless rate on Maui climbed to 3.6 percent in May from 2.5 percent in May 2023. The unemployment rate on O‘ahu fell to 2.1 percent in May from 2.6 percent in May 2023, while the jobless rate on Hawai‘i County dropped to 2.4 percent from 3.1 percent.

Statewide, the unemployment rate eased to 2.4 percent in May from 2.7 percent in May 2023. Data not seasonally adjusted.
Source: The Garden Island

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