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Island’s jobless rateedges slightly upward

LIHU’E — It may have been only the layoffs of seasonal, temporary or casual

state Department of Education workers such as bus drivers and student workers.

But whatever the reason, Kaua’i’s unemployment rate moved up slightly in

May, to 6 percent from the April figure of 5.7 percent.

In May of last

year, the island’s unemployment rate was 7.9 percent.

The state’s

unemployment rate moved up a bit, too, to 4.3 percent in May of this year from

4.2 percent in April of this year.

The state’s unemployment rate was 5.7

percent in May 1999, according to figures released by the state Department of

Labor and Industrial Relations.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.9 percent

in May this year and 4.2 percent in May last year.

Kaua’i’s civilian labor

force in May this year was 29,650, with 27,900 folks working and 1,800 out of

work, officials said.

Statewide in May, 575,000 people were employed and

26,000 were unemployed.

Until May, the unemployment rate had been going

steadily down this year, signs some experts said that Kaua’i’s economy was

finally becoming more reliable after years of a disaster-induced

slump.

With Hurricane ‘Iniki, which ravaged the island in September of

1992, unemployment on island went from 6 percent to 23

percent.

Unemployment levels continued to hover in the double-digits until

1998.

In February of this year, the rate for Kaua’i went down to 6.7; in

March, it continued to shrink, going to 6.2 percent; and in April, the rate hit

5.7 percent.

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