Maui Experiences Decline in Unemployment Rate

May 18, 2012, 12:38 PM HST · Updated May 18, 3:26 PM
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By Sonia Isotov

The Hawai‘i State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations (DLIR) announced yesterday that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April for the state of Hawaii was 6.3%, down from 6.4% in March.

In Maui County, the unemployment rate was 6.3%, down from 6.9% in March, and down from 7.4% in comparison to one year ago April 2011.

In April over March, all counties, including the islands of Maui County, experienced declines in the unemployment rate, which are not seasonally adjusted.

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Statewide, there were 614,400 employed and 41,350 unemployed in April, for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 655,750.  Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell 9.1% over the year to 1,880 in April 2012 while total weeks claimed decreased by 838 to 13,811 in April 2012, a reduction of 5.7% over the year.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.1%,  down from 8.2% in March.

The seasonal fluctuations in the number of employed and unemployed persons reflect hiring (and layoffs) 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. To deal with such problems, a statistical technique called ‘seasonal adjustment’ is used.

The seasonal adjustment technique uses the past history of the series 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.

When a statistical series has been seasonally adjusted, data for any month can be more meaningfully compared with data from any other month or with an annual average.

Regarding the meaning of “benchmark data” referred to in the table, the DLIR benchmark data refers to 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 child care or transportation problems, for example.

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