LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i County still has the highest unemployment rate in the state, according to an announcement from the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
The county’s rate this September, 8.5%, was down 0.4% from August, more than halving last year’s September unemployment rate of 20.4%.
Moloka‘i, in Maui County, has the highest jobless level in Hawai‘i (9.9%) when measured by island.
Hawai‘i’s unemployment rate was 6.6%, higher than the national rate of 4.8%, down from 5.2% from the previous month.
University of Hawai‘i economic researcher Carl Bonham said he believes statewide job numbers may rise in the coming days if new COVID-19 case numbers continue to wane, during and after a briefing before the state House of Representatives Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness, on Monday.
“I’m cautiously optimistic … that the fall and the winter will be strong,” Bonham said, citing the release of pent-up demand from tourists as a job driver. “Canadians will be able to travel to Hawai‘i this winter. They missed all of last winter, and so I think that’s going to be a real positive.”
But such a jobs boost is dependent on widespread vaccinations and control of the coronavirus, Bonham cautioned.
The Kaua‘i Office of Economic Development did not immediately respond to The Garden Island’s request for comment on the September unemployment rate.
Scott Yunker, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.