The Hawai`i State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations on Thursday announced that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 2.5 percent compared to 2.4 percent in November. Statewide, 666,500 were employed and 16,900 unemployed in December for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 683,400. Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in December, compared to 3.7 percent in November.
Both Initial claims and weeks claims decreased by 38 or -3.0 percent and 721 or -9.4 percent respectively for unemployment benefits compared to one year ago. Over-the-month both initial claims and weeks claims increased by 10.0 percent and 0.2 percent in December 2018.
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 methodology. The not seasonally adjusted rate for the State was 2.3 percent in December, compared to 2.6 percent in November.
In Maui County, unemployment was at 2.3 percent in November, down slightly from 2.6 percent in November. The unemployment number in Maui County has increased by 0.6 percent compared to the same time last year. The highest rate in the county remained on Molokai, where the unemployment was at 4.3 percent in December. That number has decreased by 0.3 percent since November but is 0.4 percent higher than the same time last year.
In a separate measure of employment, there was an increase of 1,100 jobs in December over November. Among the major sectors, there were job gains in Leisure & Hospitality (+1,300), Construction (+600), Education & Health Services (+400), Manufacturing (+200), and Other Services (+200). Within Leisure & Hospitality, there was a significant rise in employment in Accommodation due to the resolution of a labor dispute. Employment in Trade, Transportation, & Utilities, Information, and Financial Activities remained stable. Job losses occurred in Professional & Business Services (-200). Government decreased by 1,400 jobs, mostly as the result of the release of general election workers. Compared with one year ago, total nonagricultural jobs have expanded by 9,500 jobs, or 1.4 percent.