The jobless rate in Hawaii continues to go down. 2012 has started out well, with the jobless rate in Hawaii moving down again and coming in at 6.5 percent. That number represents only a slight drop from 6.6 percent in December, but nonetheless it is a drop.
The most recent drop represents a third consecutive drop, and puts Hawaii at it lowest jobless rate in three years, when the rate was at 6.4 percent in February of 2009. Hawaii also remains well below the national average of 8,3 percent. All of this points to numbers starting to swing back in the right direction, and more importantly, hold at these low numbers over the long run.
According to the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization the forecasted statewide unemployment rate should average around 6.2 percent this year and 5.5 percent in 2013. As recently as 2006 the rate averaged 2.5 percent, which represented amazing jobless numbers for Hawaii.
Unemployment claims continue to fall despite the recent closing of Hawaii Medical Center’s hospitals in Ewa and Liliha, said Dwight Takamine, labor director.
“While tourism is fueling our overall recovery, the ongoing expansion of the business sector and the precipitous drop in initial unemployment and total weeks claimed clearly indicates the positive momentum moving our economy forward,” Takamine said. These are good numbers, as past reports for unemployment were not good.
Around the state the unadjusted rate rose to 5.7 percent in Honolulu in January from 5.4 percent in December. It rose to 9.4 percent from 8.9 percent in Hawaii County and to 8.3 percent from 7.4 percent in Kauai County. In Maui County it was unchanged at 7.1 percent.
This is excellent news for Hawaii, as it shows a growing trend that our economy is slowly but surely recovering. Hopefully future reports will show that the jobless rate continues to drop over 2012 and into 2013.