Seasonal unemployment rate at 6.4 percent


The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has announced the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November remained at 6.4 percent, unchanged for the fifth consecutive month. There were 592,150 employed and 40,750 unemployed in November, for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 632,900. Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 9.8 percent in November from 9.6 percent in October.

The unemployment rate figures for the State of Hawaii and the U.S. in this release are seasonally adjusted, in accordance with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) methodology. The unadjusted unemployment rate for the State edged up to 6.5 percent in November from 6.4 percent in October.

Industry Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey)

In another measure of employment, total seasonally adjusted nonagricultural jobs increased by 1,200 or +0.2 percent from 591,800 to 593,000 in November.

The sectors reporting job growth included Professional and Business Services; and Leisure and Hospitality (+300 each); Financial Activities (+200); and Other Services (+100). The industries recording job declines were Construction (-200); Educational and Health Services (-600); and Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (-1,500).

Government registered job increases mainly in State Government partly due to the hiring of poll workers in the general election. Over the year, from November 2009, the seasonally adjusted job count grew by 7,000 jobs or +1.2 percent. The industry that comprised the largest proportion of job gain in the private sector was in Leisure and Hospitality (+3,200).

* Professional and Business Services (+300)

This major industrial series increased by 300 jobs rising for three straight months. Professional, Scientific and Technical Services reported a 200-job gain shared between marketing research and public opinion polling and architectural services. Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services comprised the remaining 100 jobs in employment services.

* Leisure and Hospitality (+300)

Leisure and Hospitality recorded a 300-job increase from October growing for five consecutive months. Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation edged down by a minimal 100 jobs in performing arts companies. Accommodation and Food Services accounted for the balance of 400 jobs in the industry. The majority of the job growth occurred in Accommodation as hotel establishments continued to experience increases in occupancy rates and visitor arrivals.

* Financial Activities (+200)

Financial Activities increased by a modest 200 jobs rising for the second month in a row. Finance and Insurances; and Real Estate, and Rental, and Leasing each added 100 jobs. Finance and Insurances trended up in agencies, brokerages, and other insurance related activities; while Real Estate and Rental and Leasing edged up in offices in real estate agents and brokers.

* Other Services (+100)

This miscellaneous group recorded job gains for the second straight month. The 100-job increase over the month occurred in electronic and precision equipment repair and maintenance.

* Construction (-200)

Construction fell slightly by 200 jobs after reporting two consecutive months of job growth. The majority of the drop occurred in Special Trade Contractors in structural steel and precast concrete contractors; and drywall and insulation contractors. Over the year, this volatile industry registered a 300-job gain due in part to existing construction activities.

* Educational and Health Services (-600)

This major sector contracted by 600 jobs over-the-month after reporting a large gain in October. Educational Services shaved 400 jobs primarily in exam preparation and tutoring. Health Care and Social Assistance comprised the remaining 200 jobs shared among hospitals; and nursing and residential care facilities.

* Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (-1,500)

This major group experienced the largest decline in all sectors falling for the fourth consecutive month. Wholesale Trade slipped by 300 jobs in merchant wholesalers, nondurable goods. Retail Trade trimmed 600 jobs in various entities including gasoline stations; furniture stores; sporting goods, hobby, and musical instrument stores; and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers. Transportation and Warehousing trended down by 600 jobs mostly in scenic and sightseeing transportation, water; and deep sea, coastal and great lakes water transportation.

* Government (+2,300)

Government expanded in November. Federal Government slipped by 300 jobs, while Local Government remained stable. State Government grew by 2,300 jobs primarily due to the hiring of poll workers and election officials in the general election.

Seasonal Adjustment

The seasonal fluctuations in the number of employed and unemployed persons reflect hiring (and layoffs) patterns that accompany regular events such as the winter holiday season and the summer vacation season. These variations make it difficult to tell whether month-to-month changes in employment and unemployment are due to normal seasonal patterns or to changing economic conditions. To deal with such problems, a statistical technique called seasonal adjustment is used. This technique uses the past history of the series to identify the seasonal movements and to calculate the size and direction of these movements. A seasonal adjustment factor is then developed and applied to the estimates to eliminate the effects of regular seasonal fluctuations on the data. When a statistical series has been seasonally adjusted, data for any month can be more meaningfully compared with data from any other month or with an annual average.

Current Population (Household) Survey (CPS)

The labor force statistics are derived from a survey based on the week including the 12th of each month of Hawaii residents with a sample size of about 1,000 households. A series of questions are asked to assess whether a person is currently part of the labor force, and if so, what is their current employment status. Employed persons consist of: 1) all persons who did any work for pay or profit during the survey reference week, 2) all persons who did at least 15 hours of unpaid work in a family-owned enterprise operated by someone in his or her household, and 3) all persons who were temporarily absent from their regular jobs, whether they were paid or not.

Persons are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior four weeks, and are currently available for work. Workers expecting to be recalled from layoff are counted as unemployed, whether or not they have engaged in a specific job seeking activity. Persons not in the labor force are those who are not classified as employed or unemployed during the survey reference week.

Changes to Local Area Unemployment Statistics Data

The 2009 labor force estimates have been revised to incorporate updated inputs, updated population controls, re-estimation of models, and adjustment to new division and national control totals. The updated population controls reflect the annual updating of population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In addition, the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program has introduced a long-run trend smoothing procedure to its seasonally adjusted data series back to January 1976. The smoothing procedure reduces month-to-month volatility in the estimates and addresses long-standing disconnection issues related to end-of-year revisions that will enhance the analytical capability of the estimates.

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