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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hawaii jobless rate remained steady at 3.1 percent in January

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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Hawai'i's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained steady at 3.1 percent in January, unchanged from December, according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

The 3.1 percent rate is the highest since October 2004 and an indication that the state's economy is slowing. In January 2007, Hawai'i's jobless rate stood at 2.4 percent.

December's unemployment rate initially was reported in February at 3.2 percent, but the state revised the rate downward by 0.1 point.

Five states had lower unemployment rates than Hawai'i in January, with South Dakota the lowest at 2.6 percent, followed by Wyoming at 2.7 percent. Nationally, January's unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent from December's 5 percent.

Hawai'i's seasonably adjusted labor force in January was 653,700 and was comprised of 633,300 employed and 20,350 unemployed. A year earlier, the labor force was 651,050 with 535,700 employed and 15,350 unemployed, the state said.

"It is important to note that while Hawai'i's economic growth is moderating, several industry sectors continue to create new jobs, helping to maintain a low unemployment rate in Hawai'i," said Darwin Ching, labor department director.

Job gains in January were recorded in construction, trade, transportation, utilities and educational and health services.

The state government registered the largest job growth, primarily in education, the state reported.

Honolulu and Hawai'i counties registered increases in their nonseasonably adjusted unemployment rate in January when compared with December.

Honolulu went from 2.5 percent in December to 2.8 percent in January, while the Big Island increased from 3.5 percent to 3.8 percent in January.

Kaua'i remained at 3.1 percent, while unemployment dropped from 3.4 percent to 3.2 percent in January on Maui.

Reach Curtis Lum at culum@honoluluadvertiser.com.