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State unemployment rate dipped to 3.4% in August

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Hawaii’s unemployment rate slipped one-tenth of a percentage point in August to 3.4 percent as nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 2,400 over the previous month, according to data released today by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

The state’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate, which matched its June number, had been ticking up since dropping to 3.1 percent in February and March.

Total nonfarm payroll jobs last month rose to 479,200 from 476,800 in July. The nonfarm payroll jobs figure includes people who might hold multiple jobs but doesn’t include people who are self-employed.

The U.S. unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent in August.

In another measure of the Hawaii economy, the state’s labor force, which includes people who are employed and those who are unemployed but actively seeking work, edged up to 684,450 from 684,300 in July.

There were 660,900 people employed in August, up from 660,600 the previous month, while the number of unemployed fell to 23,550 from 23,700.

Hawaii’s unemployment rate is derived largely from a monthly telephone survey of households, while a separate survey of businesses determines the number of nonfarm payroll jobs.

The unemployment rate decreased in all four major counties from the previous month. State and national labor force data are adjusted for seasonal factors, but the county jobs data are not seasonally adjusted and thus do not take into account variations such as the winter holiday and summer vacation seasons.

Honolulu County’s rate fell to 3.0 percent from 3.2 percent, Hawaii County’s rate declined to 4.1 percent from 4.6 percent, Kauai County’s rate dropped to 3.4 percent from 3.5 percent and Maui County’s rate slipped to 3.3 percent from 3.6 percent.

Within Maui County, Maui’s jobless rate fell to 3.2 percent from 3.4 percent, Molokai’s rate dropped to 7.9 percent from 9.4 percent and Lanai’s rate decreased to 5.8 percent from 6.7 percent.

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