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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, April 2, 2005

Jobless rate in Hawai'i rises to 3%

By Dan Nakaso
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawai'i's unemployment rate increased slightly to 3 percent for February as Wyoming replaced Hawai'i for the distinction of having the best jobless rate in the country, at 2.9 percent.

Since last April, the Islands have seen a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate below 3.5 percent — and at or below 3 percent for the last three months. January's earlier reported 3 percent rate was revised to 2.9 percent.

The rest of the nation in February had a 5.4 percent unemployment rate overall, a slight bump from January's 5.2 percent rate. In March, the national unemployment rate was 5.2 percent.

Over the past year, Hawai'i's unemployment rate has been over 2 percentage points lower than the national rate.

The Islands added 4,100 seasonally adjusted, nonagricultural jobs statewide in February — a 3 percent increase from a year ago.

The size of the workforce grew to 609,100, while 18,850 remained unemployed.

Hawai'i also had the sixth highest rate in the nation for year-to-year job growth.

"We are pleased to see Hawai'i's employment growing, adding nearly 28,200 new jobs since December of 2002, which continues Hawai'i's record high levels of employment," said Nelson Befitel, director of the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. "It is especially satisfying to note that for 29 straight months in a row, Hawai'i's unemployment rate has remained far below the national rate."

Reach Dan Nakaso at dnakaso@honoluluadvertiser.com or at 525-8085.