Posted on: Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Construction aids job growth
By Sean Hao
Advertiser Staff Writer
During November, private-sector job growth resulted in 10,300 more jobs statewide than November last year as robust construction and a stable tourism industry continued to drive economic growth.
Those job gains didn't fully offset a 2,900-person increase in the number of unemployed, which meant November's unemployment was up from 3.9 percent in November 2002. Still, Hawai'i's jobless rate remained below the national average of 5.6 percent in November.
Based on the strong job growth, the state announced that it will lower the rate that employers must pay to keep the unemployment trust fund solvent.
For 2004, the Unemployment Insurance Tax Schedule will drop from Schedule D to Schedule C, which will cut the estimated average rate employers must pay for the state to provide unemployment benefits from 1.7 percent to 1.2 percent, according to the labor department.
"The low unemployment rate and our strengthening economy one that has added 10,000 jobs since November of last year have contributed greatly to our ability to lower the tax rate we impose upon businesses to keep our Unemployment Trust Fund solvent," said Nelson Befitel, state labor director.
In November, Honolulu and Lana'i posted the lowest unemployment rate at 3.9 percent. That was up from 3.6 percent for Honolulu during the same period last year, but down from 4.5 percent on Lana'i in November 2002.
On the Big Island, November's jobless rate was 5.6 percent versus 5.1 percent the year before.
Maui County, which includes Lana'i, recorded a jobless rate of 4.4 percent, which was up from 4.1 percent in November 2002.
Kaua'i's rate dropped to 4.5 percent from 4.9 percent in the year-ago period.
Moloka'i suffered the biggest percentage increase in unemployment 10.8 percent in November 2003 versus 8.6 percent in November 2002.
Reach Sean Hao at firstname.lastname@example.org or 525-8093.