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Kaua‘i jobless rate tumbles to 3.0 percent

LIHU‘E — Local businesses continued to beef up employment rosters to start the year, in turn sending the jobless rate on Kaua‘i to its lowest level for the month of January since the pre-pandemic era.

The unemployment rate dropped to 3.0 percent in January from 3.7 percent in January 2022, according to monthly data released by the state Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism. That was the lowest figure for the month since January 2020, when the jobless rate measured 2.4 percent.

The most recent
unemployment rate tumbled on the back of steady gains in a number of sectors of the island economy.

Natural resources, mining and construction boosted its job rolls to 2,300 from 2,000 in the January over January period. That was up 15 percent. Accommodation also added 300 jobs to end up at 3,900. That was up 8.3 percent.

Retail trade, professional and business service, and arts, entertainment and recreation each employed 200 more people in the period. Manufacturing, other service, health care and social assistance, and transportation, warehousing and utilities all added 100 jobs. The most recent data was not seasonally adjusted.

“It’s good news, right? It’s good news for Kaua‘i,” said Peter Fuleky, an associate professor with The Economic Research Organization of the University of Hawai‘i’s Department of Economics.

The decrease in the Garden Island’s jobless rate came against a backdrop of more people apparently looking for work.

As a result, the labor force inched up to 36,700 in January from 36,450 in January 2022. At the same time, the number of employed civilians rose to 35,600 from 35,100.

On the downside, three sectors post job losses in the period. Federal government, financial activities and state government each cut 100 jobs.

The jobless rate on Kaua‘i was the lowest of the four major islands in January, the monthly data showed. Honolulu County recorded a 3.1 percent unemployment rate, down from 3.2 percent.

Maui County weighed in at 3.1 percent, down from 3.6 percent. And Hawai‘i County came in at 3.4 percent, up from 3.1 percent.

Of note, the January 2022 jobless rates for all counties was seasonally adjusted, as part of an annual process executed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in March. The January 2023 jobless rates are not seasonally adjusted.

Looking ahead, a number of factors could impact the local and island chain-wide labor markets, such as rising interest rates, more bank failures and whether the U.S. economy slips into recession.

“This is spring break time; typically a strong period of the year,” said Fulkey on a time when tourism numbers generally swell. “The question is: Who is the summer going to look like? … The last two summers were extremely strong.”


Wyatt Haupt Jr., editor, can be reached at 808-245-0457 or

Source: The Garden Island

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