Maui News

Hawaiʻi Unemployment Rate Drops Slightly to 9% for March 2021, But Higher Than National Rate of 6%

Listen to this Article
3 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

Chart Source: Hawaiʻi Department of Labor & Industrial Relations

The state of Hawaiʻi’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March 2021 was 9 percent compared to 9.2 percent in February, with 590,800 people employed and 58,750 unemployed in March for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 649,550, according to the Hawai‘i State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations.

The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the State was 8.6 percent in March, the same as the revised rate of 8.6 percent in February. But itʻs still significantly higher than the 2.1 percent state rate of March 2020. The number of jobs in Hawaiʻi declined by 104,800 from a year ago.

The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Maui was 12.2 percent for March, down from 12.3 percent in February but still above the 2.1 percent in March 2020. Molokaʻiʻs rate was 6.6 percent for Mach, down from 6.3 percent in February but up from 2.7 percent in March 2020. For Lanaʻi the rate was 4.9 percent for March, down from 4.4 percent in February, but up from 2.5 percent in March 2020.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6 percent in March, down from 6.2 percent in February.


Unemployment Insurance (UI) Claims:

Initial claims in Hawaiʻi for unemployment benefits for March was 3,525, an increase of 245 from the previous month. The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits for March was 18,288, a decrease of 3,954. Weeks claims descended by 17.8 percent due to the exhaustion of the 26-week maximum Unemployment Insurance benefit period and transitioning into the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program.

In comparison to one year ago, initial claims dropped by 11,560 or 76.6 percent and weeks claimed spiked to nearly 11,000 or 142.5 percent.

Industry Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey):


In another measure of employment, total nonagricultural jobs increased by 5,300 over-the-month.  Job gains occurred in Leisure & Hospitality (+3,300), Professional & Business Services (+1,200), Trade, Transportation & Utilities (+400), Financial Activities (+300), Education & Health Services (+300) and Manufacturing (+200). 

The expansion in Leisure & Hospitality was evenly split between Accommodation and Food Services & Drinking Places.  Within Professional & Business Services, for the third straight month, gains were concentrated in Administrative & Support & Waste Management & Remediation Services.  Employment remained unchanged in Information.  Job losses took place in Other Services (-100), and Construction (-400).  Government employment inched up by 100 jobs.  Compared to one year ago, nonfarm jobs contracted by 104,800 (-16.0 percent).

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.

Seasonally Adjusted Labor Force & Unemployment Estimates for Honolulu & Maui County:

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


Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Maui Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments