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State unemployment rate drops in September

Part-time jobs have been proliferating this year as employers hold back on hiring. now hiring sign

Hawai‘i’s chief economist said the state’s latest unemployment figures paint a picture of an economy that is recovering steadily but unevenly.

The unemployment rate in September was 6.6%, a drop from 7% in August.

Eugene Tian says the number of people now employed is at its highest level since the pandemic began in early 2020, and the unemployment rate is at its lowest since that time.

Tian said reopening the state to non-essential travel on Nov. 1, along with the return of international visitors on Nov. 8, will speed up Hawai‘i’s economic recovery.

"I think the visitor recovery is expected to resume in November," Tian said. "Starting in November, I think by the end of the year, visitor arrivals may recover by about 100%."

Tian said while the state is recovering overall, there are some industries and parts of the state that are lagging. O‘ahu and the Big Island are recovering faster than Kaua‘i and Maui primarily due to the fact that the latter islands are more dependent on tourism.

Tian also says industries such as construction and health care are close to full recovery while the transportation, retail, and hospitality sectors are seeing labor shortages, which are hampering their comeback.

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