State unemployment drops slightly to 6.3% in April

HONOLULU — The Hawai‘i State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations announced last week that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April was 6.3 percent, down from 6.4 percent in March.

In April over March, all counties, including the Neighbor Islands, experienced declines in the unemployment rate, which are not seasonally adjusted. Statewide, there were 614,400 employed and 41,350 unemployed in April, for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 655,750.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell 9.1 percent over the year to 1,880 in April 2012 while total weeks claimed decreased by 838 to 13,811 in April 2012, a reduction of 5.7 percent over the year.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.1 percent down from 8.2 percent in March.

In a separate measure of employment, total seasonally adjusted nonagricultural jobs increased by 4,600 jobs in April over March. It marked the third consecutive monthly growth in the job count.

Over-the-month, private sector job gains were experienced in trade, transportation and utilities (+500) and financial activities and other services (+400 each).

Employment in manufacturing, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality remained unchanged. Job losses occurred in construction (-200) and education and health services (-500).

Government jobs rose by 4,100, with the majority of the increase attributed to recent shifts in the year-round Department of Education school schedules, which have created inconsistency in predicting both the timing and amount of seasonal hires.

In comparison with one year ago, total seasonally adjusted nonagricultural jobs increased by 10,100 over-the-year.

As numerous visitor industry indicators and general excise tax revenues have improved, the largest private sector over-the-year job expansion have occurred in leisure and hospitality (+5,100) and trade, transportation and utilities (+1,900). Within leisure and hospitality, just since the beginning of the year, accommodations and food services has added 1,600 jobs.

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.

The unemployment rate figures for the State of Hawai‘i and the U.S. in this release are seasonally adjusted, in accordance with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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