State's jobless rate remains unchanged
By Greg Wiles
Advertiser Staff Writer
Hawai'i's unemployment rate remained at 6.9 percent in February as the state struggled to regain momentum from an economic downturn.
Data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show there were 43,600 unemployed people in the state during the month, or the same number as were jobless in January.
The state has been at a seasonally adjusted rate of at least 6.8 percent since last April as unemployment reached highs not seen since 1978. Economic forecasts call for jobless rates to remain high as the state begins its recovery from a recession.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that most state unemployment rates were little changed or slightly higher during February. Hawai'i's rate, while continuing at a high level, tied with Montana for eighth lowest in the nation.
The national unemployment rate was 9.7 percent during the month.
The figures released yesterday also show:
• Hawai'i's rate was 6.3 percent a year earlier, when the unemployed numbered 3,000 less than in February.
• The state's civilian workforce totaled 635,100 during the month.
• The nation's highest unemployment continued to be found in Michigan, where manufacturing layoffs have contributed to a 14.1 percent rate.
• The lowest percentage was in North Dakota, where there was a 4.1 percent rate.
Hawai'i officials did not issue unemployment data by county yesterday because of the Prince Kūhiō holiday.
The unemployment rate released yesterday doesn't include a count of people who have stopped looking for work and those who consider themselves underemployed.
That data is only released quarterly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In its last report at the end of 2009 the bureau reported that 15.5 percent of Hawai'i's workforce was jobless or working part time because they couldn't get a full-time job.