Maui News

Study: Unemployment Claims in Hawaiʻi are 56.05% Lower Than Last Year

July 17, 2021, 7:42 AM HST
* Updated July 19, 10:55 AM
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Hawaiʻi is struggling to recover from new unemployment claims with last week’s claims higher than at the start of 2020, according to WalletHub’s updated rankings for the “States Whose Unemployment Claims Are Recovering the Quickest.”

Key statistics from the WalletHub report include:

  • Weekly unemployment claims in Hawaiʻi increased by 155.30% compared to the same week in 2019. This was the 9th biggest increase in the US.
  • Weekly unemployment claims in Hawaiʻi increased by 84.66% compared to the start of 2020. This was the 12th biggest increase in the US.
  • Weekly unemployment claims in Hawaiʻi decreased by 56.05% compared to the same week last year. This was the 11th smallest decrease in the US.

WalletHub Q&A:

Should unemployed people wait until their benefits end to find a job?

“No, unemployed people should not wait until their benefits end to find a job. Even if the current unemployment benefits pay well, people should be thinking about the long term rather than the short term,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Right now, many companies are experiencing labor shortages and are desperate to hire employees, which means that job-seekers have a lot of leverage and a lot of options. Now is an ideal time to start looking for a job in order to get the best compensation and most benefits possible.”

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Some states are proposing paying bonuses to people who go back to work. Is this a good idea?

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“It is a bad idea for states to pay bonuses to people who go back to work. The government has already done its job to get the pandemic under control with shutdowns and the vaccine, and it supported people and businesses with multiple stimulus packages,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Now that COVID-19 cases have dropped dramatically and the country has largely reopened, it’s time for the free market to function again.”

If the US fails to reach “herd immunity,” what could that mean for unemployment?

“If the US fails to reach ‘herd immunity,’ that wouldn’t be ideal, but it also wouldn’t prevent us from getting things back to normal. A significant portion of the population is getting vaccinated, which will still greatly reduce the transmission rate and threat of the disease. As a result, we should see a continued decline in unemployment,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “The US has already made big strides toward a full reopening. The more people who choose to get vaccinated, the smoother that reopening will be and the greater companies’ hiring capabilities will be.”  

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Do you expect companies to require getting the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition for employment?

“It is likely that some companies will require getting the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition for employment, with obvious exemptions for people who are medically unable to receive it,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Companies should be able to have a COVID-19 vaccine requirement because they need to do everything in their power to keep their workers and customers safe. In addition, the more companies that require employees to get a vaccine, the faster we will be able to achieve a full reopening.”

How do red states and blue states compare when it comes to recovery?

“With an average rank of 29 among the most recovered states, blue states had a worse recovery from unemployment claims last week than red states, which rank 23 on average,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “The lower the number of the ranking, the bigger the state’s recovery was.” 

How has unemployment in California – the state with the most COVID-19 cases – recovered?

“California’s unemployment claims have experienced the 23rd slowest recovery in the US. For the week of July 5, California had 58,396 new unemployment claims, a 94% decrease from the peak during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. 

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