Maui Business

Maui County’s Unemployment Rate Falls to 10.4% for May 2021, State’s at 7.5%

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The state of Hawaiʻi’s unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 8.1% in May 2021, which is much lower than the 21.9% it was in May 2020 (second month of the pandemic shutdown), but higher than the 2.5% it was in May 2019. Chart: DLIR

Maui County’s unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) for May 2021 fell to 10.4%, a decrease of 0.8% from last month, according to data just released today by the Hawai‘i State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations.

Maui County’s unemployment breakdown: Maui Island (10.6%), Molokaʻi (7.3%) and Lanaʻi (4.6%).

For the state of Hawaiʻi, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May was 8.1%, compared to 8.5% in April. Statewide, 595,300 people were employed and 52,150 people were unemployed in May for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 647,450.


The state unemployment rate is significantly lower than the 21.9% it reached in May 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic brought Hawaiʻi’s tourism economy to a screeching halt. But the state unemployment rate is still much higher than the 2.5% it was at in May 2019.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in May, down from 6.1 percent in April.

The unemployment rate figures for the State of Hawai‘i and the United States are seasonally adjusted in accordance with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics methodology. The not seasonally adjusted rate for the State was 7.5% in May, compared to the revised rate of 8% in April.


Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the month of May was 2,639 a decline from the previous month of 1,209 (or 31.4%). The total number of continued weeks claimed for ongoing state benefits for the month of May was 17,299, a decline of 520 (or 2.9%) from the previous month.  In comparison to one year ago, initial claims fell 8,440 to 2,639 or 76.2% and weeks claimed have dropped from a record 102,500 or 85.6%.

In another measure of employment, total nonagricultural jobs increased by 4,000 from April to May. Job gains occurred in Leisure & Hospitality (+2,800), Professional & Business Services (+1,100), Other Services (+700), Education & Health Services (+200) and Manufacturing (+100). 

For the second consecutive month, expansion in Leisure & Hospitality was robust in both Accommodation and Food Services & Drinking Places. Within Professional & Business Services, job gains were strongest in the Administrative & Support & Waste Management & Remediation Services sub-sector.  Employment remained unchanged in Information.


Job losses were experienced in Financial Activities (-100), Construction (-200) and Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (-600). Contraction in Trade, Transportation & Utilities was concentrated in Retail Trade. Government employment remained stable.

Over-the-year (May 2020 was the second month of pandemic effects), non-farm jobs have risen by 55,400 or 10.9%.  However, in comparison with March 2020 (last month prior to pandemic effects), non-farm jobs were down by 90,600 or 13.8%. 


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