County has state’s highest jobless rate

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

  1. YuCalJoe October 22, 2021 6:35 am Reply

    Which pays more, having a job that gives self respect in addition to a paycheck, or staying unemployed by choice with no self respect while living off of working taxpayers?

    1. CommonSenseish October 22, 2021 9:56 am Reply

      Obviously staying unemployed. I can’t believe the County, State and/or Government do not have enough common sense to realize they are the problem. Highest Unemployment Rate but go to any restaurant or business establishment right now and they either have signs or will verbally tell you that they have to modify hours because they can’t get workers…. something is wrong here. HOPEFULLY PEOPLE USE THEIR BRAINS AND PERSONAL EXPERIENCE FROM THE PAST 2 YEARS WHEN IT’S TIME TO VOTE IN THE NEXT ELECTION.

    2. LoCalMoe October 22, 2021 10:02 am Reply

      You only get unemployment INSURANCE when you’ve paid into it. So you’re living off of your own payments.

      And I’d point out that there is another option you fail to consider – having a job that provides no respect. Many are probably glad to get out of that.

      1. Erik October 23, 2021 2:32 pm Reply

        Employers pay unemployment insurance not employees

  2. KauaiFarmMan October 22, 2021 10:32 am Reply

    It’s strange we have the highest unemployment rate when I see businesses all over island hiring , offering over $15 an hour.
    You can’t find a construction crew or a landscaper with an opening. Seems like there’s plenty of jobs. Did everyone get too comfortable on the unemployment racket and now don’t want to work?

  3. D Kawokekami October 22, 2021 10:40 am Reply

    Do you have to show proof of vaccination to collect welfare or food stamps, or just if you’re someone who works? Asking for a friend..

  4. Swizlstick October 22, 2021 7:30 pm Reply

    IF your an employer on this island that can’t
    Find employees,Chances are you got to step
    Your game up….Remember we also have the highest cost of living in the nation..So who wants to work for Crap wages that you can’t
    Survive on anyways. Offer a living wage with
    Great benefits and you can find great employees anywhere.

  5. Gaby Watson October 23, 2021 7:15 am Reply

    The mayor hamstrung the entire tourism community by keeping tourists away and then in the off season when surf is in the 20-40 foot range and only getting higher will only then invite visitors back with open arms on 11/1. I don’t think Hawaii doesn’t want to work, the government flat out won’t let them.

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