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Maui Unemployment Rate Continues to Fall, Slightly

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Maui Unemployment Down Slightly in February

File photo.

File photo.

By Sonia Isotov

Maui’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined in December to 5.5%, down from 5.7% in January, and 6.7% one year ago, according to statistics released by the Hawaii State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations (DLIR) today.

Statewide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Hawaii in February 2012 was 5.1%, down from 5.3% in January, and 6.2% one year ago. The seasonally adjusted rate for the state was level at 5.2% between January and February. No seasonally adjusted rate is available at the county level.

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Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.7%, down from the revised rate of 7.9% in January.

In another measure of employment, total seasonally adjusted non-agricultural jobs declined by 2,500 in February over January. Over-the-month expansion occurred in financial activities, which added 200 jobs. Over-the-month decreases in jobs took place in construction and manufacturing (-100 each), education and health services (-200), trade, transportation and utilities (-400), professional and business services (-500), and leisure and hospitality (-900).

In professional and business services, a post-holiday seasonal drop in employment services came a month later than typically (in January).

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Within the public sector, employment in government contracted by 900 jobs, with the bulk of the drop in state government.

Compared with one year ago, total seasonally adjusted jobs have risen by 9,100, or 1.5%, in Hawaii. Since February 2012, there have been gains of 1,000 or more jobs in the following major sectors: construction (+2,300), trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,600), professional and business services (+1,500), leisure and hospitality (+1,500), other services (+1,400), and educational and health services (+1,100).

The unemployment rate figures for the state of Hawaii and the US in this release are seasonally adjusted, in accordance with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics methodology. 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.

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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. This 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.

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