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Saturday, March 12, 2022
Hawaii Workforce Shrinks--Unemployment 4.4% for January
By News Release @ 10:56 AM :: 2999 Views :: Hawaii Statistics, Labor, Small Business

Hawaii unemployment rate better than previously thought

Star-Adv Mar 12, 2022: … DBEDT’s Friday report includes revised federal data for Hawaii’s population in recent years, which led to relatively large reductions to prior published unemployment rates over the past two years.

So the previously reported 5.7% rate for December has been revised to 4.3%. November’s original 6.0% rate is now 4.4%.

Even the previously reported April 2020 peak figure of 21.9% was revised. Now the peak is even higher, at 22.4%….

A rate of around 3% can be roughly considered full employment, though Hawaii’s rate before the coronavirus pandemic took hold was 2.2% in March 2020.

One less positive aspect to employment in Hawaii is the size of the labor force, which remains down by 12,000 workers compared with January 2019 in part because some people have moved out of the state, while others have given up looking for a job.

A labor shortage also exists.

In December there were 54,000 job openings, of which 25,000 were filled, according to Tian….

read … Hawaii unemployment rate better than previously thought

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News Release from DBEDT, Mar 11, 2022

HONOLULU — The Hawai‘i  State Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT) today announced that the monthly labor statistics including labor force, employment, unemployment, and unemployment rate has been revised from January 2010 to December 2021 and job count by industry has been revised from January 1990 to December 2021 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS). The revision is an annual routine executed in March of every year by BLS to reflect new population estimate and re-model estimation.  Based on the revised data series, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was 4.4 percent compared to the revised rate of 4.3 percent in December. Statewide, 644,150 were employed and 29,500 unemployed in January for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 673,700. Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.0 percent in January, up from 3.9 percent in December.

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

The not seasonally adjusted rate for the State was 4.0 percent in January, compared to the revised rate of 4.4 percent in December.

Industry Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey)

In another measure of employment, total nonagricultural jobs increased by 500 over-the-month. Job gains occurred in Education & Health Services (+700); Professional & Business Services (+400); Information (+200); and Manufacturing (+100).  Most of the rise in Education & Health Services was in Health Care and Social Assistance. Employment remained unchanged in Other Services. Job losses were experienced in Construction (-100); Leisure & Hospitality (-100); Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (-300); and Financial Activities (-600).  Contraction in Financial Activities was evenly split between the Finance & Insurance, and Real Estate & Rental & Leasing subsectors. Government employment rose by 200 jobs. Over-the-year (January 2021 was the 10th month of pandemic effects), nonfarm jobs have gone up by 41,700, or 7.5 percent. However, in comparison with March 2020 (last month prior to pandemic effects), nonfarm jobs were down by 58,500, or -8.9 percent.

Technical Notes

Labor Force Components

The concepts and definitions used by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program are the same as those used in the Current Population Survey for the national labor force data:

Civilian labor force. Included are all persons in the civilian noninstitutional population ages 16 and older classified as either employed or unemployed. (See the definitions below.)
Employed persons. These are all persons who, during the reference week (the week including the 12th day of the month), (a) did any work as paid employees, worked in their own business or profession or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of their family, or (b) were not working but who had jobs from which they were temporarily absent because of vacation, illness, bad weather, childcare problems, maternity or paternity leave, labor-management dispute, job training, or other family or personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs. Each employed person is counted only once, even if he or she holds more than one job.
Unemployed persons. Included are all persons who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work, except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find employment some time during the 4 week-period ending with the reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed.

Unemployment rate. The unemployed percent of the civilian labor force [i.e., 100 times (unemployed/civilian labor force)].

Seasonal Adjustment

The seasonal fluctuations in the number of employed and unemployed persons reflect hiring and layoff 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. Therefore, the BLS uses a statistical technique called seasonal adjustment to address these issues. This technique uses the history of the labor force data and the job count data to identify the seasonal movements and to calculate the size and direction of these movements. A seasonal adjustment factor is then developed and applied to the estimates to eliminate the effects of regular seasonal fluctuations on the data. Seasonally adjusted statistical series enable more meaningful data comparisons between months or with an annual average.

Current Population (Household) Survey (CPS)

A survey conducted for employment status in the week that includes the 12th day of each month generates the unemployment rate statistics, which is a separate survey from the Establishment Survey that yields the industry job counts. The CPS survey contacts approximately 1,000 households in Hawai‘i to determine an individual’s current employment status. Employed persons consist of: 1) all persons who did any work for pay or profit during the survey reference week, 2) all persons who did at least 15 hours of unpaid work in a family-owned enterprise operated by someone in their household, and 3) all persons who were temporarily absent from their regular jobs, whether they were paid or not. Persons considered unemployed are ones which do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior four weeks and are available for work. Temporarily laid off workers are counted as unemployed, whether they have engaged in a specific job seeking activity. Persons not in the labor force are those who are not classified as employed or unemployed during the survey reference week.

Benchmark Changes to Local Area Unemployment Statistics Data

Statewide and substate data for 2010-2021 have revised inputs and have been re-estimated to reflect revised population controls and model re-estimation.

Change to Monthly Employment Estimates

This release incorporates revised job count figures for the seasonally adjusted series. The revised data reflects historical corrections applied to unadjusted super sector or sector level series dating back from 1990 through 2021. For years, analysts with the State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) Research and Statistics Office have developed monthly employment estimates for Hawai‘i and our metropolitan areas. These estimates were based on a monthly survey of Hawai‘i  businesses and analysts’ knowledge about our local economies. Beginning with the production of preliminary estimates for March 2011, responsibility of the production of State and metropolitan area (MSA) estimates was transitioned from individual state agencies to the BLS.

For Hawai‘i, this means the transition of statewide, Honolulu and Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina MSA estimates for both the seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted areas are produced by BLS. State agencies will continue to provide the BLS with information on local events that may affect the estimates, such as strikes or large layoffs/hiring at businesses not covered by the survey and to disseminate and analyze the Current Employment Statistics (CES) estimates for local data users. BLS feels this change is designed to improve the cost efficiency of the CES program and to reduce the potential bias in state and area estimates. A portion of the cost savings generated by this change is slated to be directed towards raising survey response rates in future years, which will decrease the level of statistical error in the CES estimates. Until then, state analysts feel this change could result in increased month-to-month variability for the industry employment numbers particularly for Hawai‘i’s counties and islands. BLS can be reached at (202) 691-6533 for any questions about these estimates.

The not seasonally adjusted job estimates for Hawai‘i County, Kaua‘i County, Maui Island, Moloka‘i, and Lāna‘i are produced by DLIR.

Seasonally Adjusted Labor Force & Unemployment Estimates for Honolulu & Maui Co.

BLS publishes smoothed seasonally adjusted civilian labor force and unemployment estimates for all metropolitan areas, which includes the City and County of Honolulu and Maui County. BLS releases this data each month in the Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment news release. The schedule is available at: LINK.

Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization

Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization for States, 2021 Annual Averages

State Measure
U-1 U-2 U-3 U-4 U-5 U-6
United States 2.8 3.2 5.3 5.6 6.4 9.4
Hawai’i 3.9 4.4 6.1 6.7 7.4 11.9


The six alternative labor underutilization state measures based on the Current Population Survey (CPS) and compiled on a 4-quarter moving average basis defined:

U-1, persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force;

U-2, job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the civilian labor force;

U-3, total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (this is the definition used for the official unemployment rate);

U-4, total unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers;

U-5, total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other marginally attached workers*, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers; and

U-6, total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.

* Individuals who want, and are available for work, and who have looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months (or since the end of their last job if they held one within the past 12 months), but were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey, for such reasons as childcare or transportation problems, for example. Discouraged workers are a subset of the marginally attached.

Note that, the state unemployment rates (U-3) that are shown are derived directly from the CPS. As a result, these U-3 measures may differ from the official state unemployment rates for the latest 4-quarter period. The latter are estimates developed from statistical models that incorporate CPS estimates, as well as input data from other sources, such as state unemployment claims data.

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SA: Hawaii unemployment rate better than previously thought

MN: County of Maui unemployment rate at 5% in January


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