State Unemployment Rate Remains Steady in February
By Maui Now Staff
Initial and weeks claims decreased by 363 (-20.5 percent) and 2,334 (-20.5 percent) respectively for unemployment benefits compared to last February. Over the month, both initial claims and weeks claims also decreased by -21 percent and -9.1 percent from January of this year.
The unemployment rate figures for Hawaiʻi and the US are seasonally adjusted, in accordance with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics methodology.
The unemployment rate, not seasonally adjusted, was 4.1 percent in February, down from 4.3 percent in January.
Island by Island Rates:
Unemployment rates in Maui County decreased on Maui Island and increased on Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi from month before levels. Maui’s rate for Feb. 2015 was 4.2%, down from 4.3% in Jan. 2015, and 4.9% in Feb. 2014.
Lānaʻi bringing in the most impressive rate of 3.7%, the lowest in the state–up from the 3.4% rate recorded a month before, and the 3.0% rate recorded at the same time last year.
Molokaʻi continued to have the state’s highest unemployment rate of 9.4%–up from the 8.5% rate in Jan. 2015, and the 10.2% rate recorded at the same time last year.
Industry Payroll Employment
In a separate measure of employment, total seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs declined by 1,200 over the month. Several major industries were stable–there was no change in jobs in February over January in manufacturing, educational and health services, leisure and hospitality and other services.
Relatively small declines occurred in construction (-200), financial activities (-200), and trade, transportation and utilities (-400). Professional and business Services (-1,000) contraction was primarily concentrated in the administrative and support subsector–specifically in temporary help services and professional employer organizations.
Government increased by 200 jobs over the month. In comparison with February 2014, there has been an expansion of 7,200 non-farm jobs.
Seasonal Adjustment Notes
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.
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