By CHELSEA JESEN
The Big Island’s unemployment rate dropped in August, following the same trend as both the state and nation, state officials said Thursday.
Hawaii County’s unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent in August, down almost a percentage point from 9.2 percent in July, according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Unemployment in August 2011 was 10.2 percent.
Hawaii Island’s work force in August consisted of 82,300 people, of whom 74,550 held jobs, according to preliminary county unemployment statistics kept by the department.
Statewide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent, down from 6.3 percent in July and down from 6.8 percent in August 2011. Some 38,900 people remained unemployed and 601,350 held jobs in August, according to the department. The unadjusted rate was 5.7 percent.
The last time the state’s adjusted unemployment rate was that low at 6.1 percent was January 2009, during the early stages of the Great Recession, according to the department.
Nationwide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in August, down from 8.3 percent in July and 9.1 percent in August 2011, according to the department.
The number of unemployed people nationwide stood around 12.5 million, showing little, if any, change from July, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since January, the nation’s unemployment rate has averaged 8.28 percent. It was listed at 8.1 percent in August.
Around the state, Honolulu’s unemployment rate decreased from 5.6 percent in July to 5.1 percent last month. Kauai also saw its rate fall from 7.7 percent in July to 7 percent in August, according to the department.
Molokai had the worst unemployment rate at 14.5 percent, but that’s down from 15.9 percent in July, according to the department. Lanai saw its unemployment rate drop to 1.9 percent and Maui’s unemployment rate decreased to 5.9 percent.
Statewide, education and health services saw the highest number of jobs added at 1,100 positions, with about 64 percent of those jobs in the ambulatory care and social assistance fields. Construction added 800 jobs; the leisure and hospital industry increased by 700 jobs; and 500 positions were added in both professional and business services and government. The department attributed the increase in construction jobs to several special trade projects on Oahu.
Nonagricultural jobs listed as other services saw the most jobs lost at 400 followed by professional, scientific and technology services, which lost 200 jobs. About 100 jobs were lost in the company and enterprise management.
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