Categorized | Business

February unemployment rate steady at 4.6%


The state Department of Labor & Industrial Relations has announced that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February was 4.6 percent, unchanged from January.

Statewide, there were 626,400 employed and 30,150 unemployed in February, which combines for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 656,550.

Both initial claims and weeks claims decreased by 44 or -2.4% and 384 or -3.3% respectively for unemployment benefits compared to one year ago. Over the month, both initial claims and weeks claims also dropped by -16.9% and -2.2% respectively from January 2014.

The unemployment rate figures for the state and the U.S. in this release are seasonally adjusted, in accordance with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) methodology. The not seasonally adjusted rate for the State was also 4.6 percent in February, unchanged from January.

In a separate measure of employment, total seasonally adjusted nonagricultural jobs decreased by 2,300 in February over January.

Over the month, there were major industry sector job gains experienced in Financial Activities (+300) and Construction (+100). Jobs in Educational & Health Services remained stable.

Job declines occurred in Manufacturing (-100), Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (-100), Other Services (-1,000), Professional & Business Services (-1,100) and Leisure & Hospitality (-1,800).

The bulk of the job contraction in Professional & Business Services was attributed to less hiring at Professional Employer Organizations and Temporary Help Services. Following an all-time high level of employment in January, Leisure & Hospitality went down as the visitor industry tempered down a bit.

Government increased by 1,300 jobs, primarily due to hiring at the University of Hawaii system. In comparison with February 2013, there has been an increase of 4,400 non-farm jobs.


The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has announced the release of its Employment Forecasts for the Short-Term – 2015 publication, which forecasts that statewide employment will expand by 4.0 percent, or 26,880 jobs, from the first quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2015.

While tourism sparked Hawaii’s rise from the Great Recession, the construction industry will lead the economic recovery with the fastest growth rate (16.7 percent), as well as by creating the most jobs (4,960).

Occupational Projections

All major occupational groups should experience positive job growth as well. Job growth will produce 13,590 annual openings, in addition there will be 16,680 openings that arise due to replacement needs.

Therefore, the forecasted total number of job openings during the 2013 to 2015 period is 60,540.

Large-sized occupations with slower growth rates dominate the top 20 occupations with the most job openings.

Six of these occupations are in the food preparation and serving related occupational group: combined food preparation and serving workers; waiters and waitresses; hosts and hostesses of restaurants, lounges, and coffee shops; dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers; counter attendants of cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shops; and restaurant cooks.

The report forecasts that construction and extraction jobs will grow the most rapidly at 11.5 percent, creating 2,350 job openings annually.

The types of fast growing jobs include elevator installers and repairers, reinforcing iron and rebar workers, cement masons and concrete finishers, carpenters and helpers, drywall and ceiling tile installers, sheet metal workers, supervisors, laborers, roofers, electricians, tile and marble setters, plumbers, operating engineers, and carpet installers.

Jobs in services, the largest group of occupations, will contribute the greatest number of job openings with 9,480 annually. Many of these jobs will be of the food preparation and serving related variety, and others will be building and grounds cleaning and maintenance jobs.

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