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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, May 22, 2001

HSTA, UHPA strikes push up unemployment figures

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

Last month's strikes by public school teachers and the University of Hawai'i Professional Assembly inflated Hawai'i's unemployment rate for April, sending it surging above the national average for the first time since November.

The state rate hit 5.2 percent, up from 4.4 percent in April of last year. The national average last month was a full point lower at 4.2 percent, which was up from 3.7 percent in April 2000.

Hawai'i's unemployment rate hasn't been as high as 5.2 percent since October 1999, according to the state Department of Labor & Industrial Relations.

Last month's unemployment rate represented 31,700 unemployed people out of a work force of 609,700. That reflected nearly 13,000 teachers who walked off their jobs for 20 days, and 3,200 professors who walked off their jobs for 13 days.

In the private sector, employment was relatively stable, with little change in the construction, trade, transportation/communications/utilities and finance/insurance/real estate industries.

The biggest changes came in the services sector, which dropped 500 jobs despite a gain of 200 in the hotel industry, and in manufacturing, which added 200 jobs in the printing and publishing trades.

The services-sector job drop was mainly due to a seasonal reduction of educational services at private schools, the state said.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, which enables month-to-month comparison by allowing for predictable shifts in employment such as school breaks and retail job demands during the holidays, the rate was the same, 5.2 percent. That compared to 4.3 percent in March.

Unadjusted unemployment by island on a year-over-year basis was higher everywhere except on O'ahu, where the rate held steady at 3.9 percent.

The rate on the Big Island was 10.5 percent last month, compared to 6.9 percent in April 2000; 10.5 percent, up from 5.8 percent a year ago, on Kaua'i; 4.9 percent, up from 4.0 percent, on Maui; 19.3 percent, up from 13.5 percent on Moloka'i; and 6.0 percent, up from 1.5 percent, on Lana'i.