LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i County continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the state.
According to the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, the jobless rate for the state was 6.6% in August. On Kaua‘i, it was 8.9%.
The unemployment rate for August was 7% compared to 7.3% in July.
Statewide, 601,800 were employed and 45,550 were unemployed in August for a total labor force of 647,350. Nationally, the unemployment rate was 5.2% in August, down from 5.4% in July.
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 methodology.
In August of 2020, the state was seeing a 14.1% unemployment rate, with Kaua‘i at 20.1%.
This week, the U.S. Department of Labor and the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations entered into a voluntary conciliation agreement to ensure those with limited English proficiency and eligible non-U.S. citizens seeking to file claims for unemployment insurance benefits have better access to services.
The agreement follows an investigation by the federal department’s Civil Rights Center into complaints that the state’s UI program was failing to make its services fully available to those two groups. During the investigation, the state labor department offered to work with CRC to resolve the complaints amicably.
“This agreement symbolizes how federal and state governments can work together to improve access to government services for limited-English-proficient communities and others protected by civil-rights law, particularly during these difficult times,” said Civil Rights Center Director Naomi Barry-Perez.
“We appreciate Hawai‘i’s commitment to non-discrimination and its willingness to address these allegations affirmatively and cooperatively,” she said.
To provide better access to LEP claimants and eligible non-U.S. citizens, DLIR has, among other actions, agreed to:
• Reinstate non-electronic methods of filing UI claims and appeals;
• Ensure vital information is provided in select non-English languages as required by law;
• Provide interpretation and translation services to individuals with limited English proficiency upon request or where otherwise required by law;
• Ensure that its claims-filing system captures all the information needed to establish whether non-U.S. citizen applicants are eligible to receive UI benefits;
• Train staff on the state’s citizenship and limited-English-proficiency-related obligations under the laws enforced by the Civil Rights Center;.
• Periodically review the language-assistance services provided by its offices to ensure that those services are timely, accurate and effective.
CRC enforces nondiscrimination laws that apply to the nation’s unemployment-insurance program, as well as to other recipients of financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor and, in some circumstances, from other federal departments and agencies.
For more information about the center, visit the Civil Rights Center’s website, dol.gov/agencies/oasam/centers-offices/civil-rights-center or call 202-693-6500 (voice) or 800-877-8339 (relay).