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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, October 25, 2007

Unemployment up in U.S., but not in Hawaii

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

The state's seasonably adjusted unemployment rate in September was 2.6 percent, unchanged for the third straight month, according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

While Hawai'i's unemployment remained steady, the nation's rate inched up slightly from 4.6 percent in August to 4.7 last month. Idaho continued to lead the nation with a 2.3 percent unemployment rate and Hawai'i reclaimed sole possession of second place, beating out Utah (2.7 percent) and Montana (2.9 percent). Hawai'i was tied with Utah for second place last month.

The state's jobless rate was 2.2 percent in September 2006 and the national rate stood at 4.6 percent in that same period, the state said.

Last month there were 634,950 people employed in Hawai'i, up 1.3 percent from the same period last year.

Combined with the 17,100 who were unemployed last month, the statewide labor force was 652,050, according to the Labor Department.

Labor Director Darwin Ching said the consistent labor statistics are a reflection of a strong economy.

"A thriving Hawai'i economy over the long-term is reflected in the fact that today we have more people employed and less people unemployed than five years ago," Ching said. "Such a feat is testament to Hawai'i's economy, our local employers and their employees, and the economic policies and programs implemented by this administration."

The biggest job growth last month was in the state government, primarily in education, which saw an increase of more than 3,500 jobs, the department reported.

The state said that was caused by the change to a year-round school schedule in public schools.

Hawai'i has not had an unemployment rate at or above 3 percent since December 2004. The highest rate in the past 10 years was recorded in July 1997 at 6 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Reach Curtis Lum at culum@honoluluadvertiser.com.