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Thursday, February 25, 2021
Hawaii Unemployment Tops in USA
By Selected News Articles @ 4:02 AM :: 3850 Views :: Hawaii Statistics, Labor, Tourism, COVID-19

How far each US state has to go to recover all the jobs lost in the pandemic

From Business Insider, February 23, 2021 (excerpts)

Almost all states still had fewer jobs than before the pandemic at the end of last year, but just how far these states are from reaching previous employment levels vary.

States that rely on industries that have been harder hit nationally by the pandemic are especially far below their February employment levels. This is seen in tourism-dependent states like Hawaii and Nevada which have 13.6% and 6.9% fewer jobs respectively than last February. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks monthly employment and unemployment rates at the state level. The most recent month available for state-level data is December, when the US saw its first month of job loss since April's decline of over 20 million jobs. The total number of nonfarm payroll jobs in the US in December was 6.5% below its level last February, the month before COVID-19 began to spread widely in the US and many states put lockdown orders into place.

Based on the preliminary December data, employment at the end of 2020 was slightly above employment before the pandemic in Idaho and Utah, at 0.2% and 0.3% respectively. Hawaii, Michigan, and New York on the other hand had the highest percent declines, ranging from 10.7% in New York to 13.6% in Hawaii….

Hawaii's leisure and hospitality industry had 47,500 fewer workers than last February, or a 37.3% decline. Even after Hawaii started allowing visitors with a negative test result from other states to bypass a 14-day quarantine (now 10-day quarantine) in mid-October, tourism is still low.

Visitor arrivals dropped 75.2% in December 2020 from December 2019, per the Hawaii Tourism Authority. A recent report from the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization's wrote that "more significant tourism gains will be seen in the second half of 2021 after vaccines becomes widely available."

Hawaii is looking to diversify its economy to make the "state less vulnerable" to sudden changes, Gov. David Ige said. One way the state is doing this is by attracting remote workers with the Movers & Shakas program. Insider's Aki Ito wrote that the program received 90,000 applications and chose 50 people to "stay on Oahu for at least a month and volunteer with a community nonprofit," as Ito wrote.  

In December, Hawaii had the highest unemployment rate among the states at 9.3%, followed by Nevada at an unemployment rate of 9.2%. Both of these rates are higher than the national unemployment rate of 6.7% in December. …

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