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Jobless rate rises in April

LIHU‘E — A sizable drop in the number of employed civilians helped push the unemployment rate up in the first full month of spring on the island of Kaua‘i.

The jobless rate rose to 2.5 percent in April from 2.4 percent in April 2023, according to monthly data released by the Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism on Thursday.

Despite the uptick, the most recent reading was the lowest in the Hawaiian Island chain for the period.

Job growth was led by the food service and drinking places sector, which added 200 jobs to bring its total to 4,400 as of April 30. That marked a gain of 4.8 percent.

Three sectors — other service, local government and health care and social assistance — each added 100 jobs in April. That marked increases of 9.1 percent, 7.7 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.

Three sectors — natural resources, mining and construction, financial activities and federal government — each shed 100 jobs in April. That marked decreases of 4.8 percent, 9.1 percent and 16.7 percent, respectively.

All told, civilian employment dropped to 34,850 in April from 35,800 in April 2023 for a decrease of 2.65 percent. The civilian labor force contracted to 35,750 in April from 36,700 in April 2023 for a decrease of 2.58 percent. The decrease in the labor force was the largest reduction for any month this year.

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 101 people and destroyed more than 2,000 structures.

The jobless rate on Maui jumped to 4.3 percent in April from 2.6 percent in April 2023. The unemployment rate on O‘ahu inched up to 2.6 percent in April from 2.5 percent in April 2023, while the jobless rate on Hawai‘i Island was unchanged at 2.8 percent.

Statewide, the unemployment rate climbed to 2.8 percent in April from 2.5 percent in April 2023. Data not seasonally adjusted.
Source: The Garden Island

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