Thursday, December 1 2022


Published on March 24, 2022 in Latest news from the department, Press room

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) today announced that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February was 4.3%, unchanged from the revised rate of 4.3% in January. Statewide, 644,300 people were employed and 28,700 unemployed in February for a seasonally adjusted total labor force of 673,000. Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.8% in February, down from 4 .0% in January.

Unemployment rate figures for the State of Hawaii and the United States in this release are seasonally adjusted, in accordance with the methodology of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The unadjusted rate for the state was 3.8% in February, down from 4.0% in January.

Paid employment in industry (survey of establishments)

In a separate measure of employment, total non-farm payrolls increased by 2,100 in February from January. Job gains took place in leisure and hospitality (+900); Trade, transport and public services (+800 ); construction (+600); and Professional and Business Services (+300). Most of the rise in leisure and hospitality was in food services and drinking places. The expansion of the Trade, Transportation and Utilities group has been roughly split between Retail Trade and the Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities sub-sectors. Employment was unchanged in manufacturing; Financial activities; education and health services; and other services. Job losses occurred in information (-200). Public employment fell by 300 jobs. During the year (February 2021 was the 11th month of the effects of the pandemic), non-farm payrolls increased by 41,800, or 7.5%. However, compared to March 2020 (last month before the effects of the pandemic), non-farm payrolls fell by 55,900, or -8.5%.

Technical Notes

Components of the labor force

The concepts and definitions used by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program are the same as those used in the Current Population Survey for national labor force data:

  • Civilian workforce. Included are all persons in the non-institutional civilian population aged 16 and over classified as employed or unemployed. (See definitions below.)
  • Persons employed. These are all persons who, during the reference week (the week including the 12th day of the month), (a) were in paid employment, worked in their own business or profession or on their own holding , or worked 15 hours or more as an unpaid worker in a business operated by a family member, or (b) were not working but had jobs from which they were temporarily absent due to vacation, illness, ‘bad weather, child care issues, maternity or paternity leave, work – management dispute, job training or other family or personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for time off or they looked for another job. Each employed person is counted only once, even if they hold more than one job.
  • Unemployed. Included are all persons who had no job during the reference week, were available for work except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find a job during the 4-week period ending by the reference week. People waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off did not need to have looked for work to be classified as unemployed.
  • Unemployment rate. The percentage of unemployed civilian labor force [i.e., 100 times (unemployed/civilian labor force)].

Seasonal adjustment

Seasonal fluctuations in the number of employed and unemployed reflect the hiring and layoff patterns that accompany regular events like the winter vacation season and the summer vacation season. These variations make it difficult to tell whether month-to-month changes in employment and unemployment are due to normal seasonal patterns or changing economic conditions. Therefore, the BLS uses a statistical technique called seasonal adjustment to address these issues. This technique uses historical labor force data and employment count data to identify seasonal movements and to calculate the magnitude and direction of these movements. A seasonal adjustment factor is then developed and applied to the estimates to remove the effects of regular seasonal fluctuations on the data. Seasonally adjusted statistical series allow more meaningful comparisons of data between months or with an annual average.

Current Population (Household) Survey (CPS)

A survey conducted for employment status in the week that includes the 12and day of each month generates statistics on the unemployment rate, which is a separate survey from the establishment survey which gives the number of jobs in industry. The CPS survey contacts approximately 1,000 households in Hawaii to determine an individual’s current employment status. Employed persons include: 1) all persons who did paid or gainful work during the survey reference week, 2) all persons who did at least 15 hours of unpaid work in a family business exploited by a member of their household, and 3) all persons temporarily absent from their regular employment, whether paid or unpaid. Persons considered unemployed are those who do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the previous four weeks and are available for work. Workers temporarily laid off are counted as unemployed, whether or not they carried out a specific job search activity. Inactive persons are those who are not classified as employed or unemployed during the survey reference week.

Benchmark changes to local unemployment statistics data

State and substate level data for 2010-2021 have revised inputs and have been reestimated to reflect revised population controls and model re-estimating.

Change in monthly employment estimates

This press release incorporates revised figures for the number of jobs for the seasonally adjusted series. The revised data reflects historical corrections applied to unadjusted industry-level or industry-level superseries dating from 1990 through 2021. For years, analysts at the DLIR State Bureau of Research and Statistics have developed estimates monthly employment statistics for Hawai’i and its metropolitan areas. These estimates were based on a monthly survey of Hawaiian businesses and analyst knowledge of our local economies. Beginning with the production of the March 2011 preliminary estimates, the responsibility for producing the state and metropolitan area (MSA) estimates was transferred from individual state agencies to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

For Hawai’i, this means that the transition of statewide, Honolulu, and Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina MSA estimates for seasonally adjusted and unadjusted areas is produced by the BLS. State agencies will continue to provide the BLS with information about local events that may affect estimates, such as strikes or major layoffs/hirings at businesses not covered by the survey, and to disseminate and analyze current employment statistics (CES) estimates for local data. users. The BLS believes this change is designed to improve the cost effectiveness of the CES program and to reduce potential bias in state and area estimates. Part of the cost savings generated by this change should be allocated to increasing survey response rates in future years, which will reduce the level of statistical error in CES estimates. Until then, state analysts believe the change could lead to increased month-to-month variability in industry employment numbers, particularly for counties and islands in Hawaii. The BLS can be contacted at (202) 691-6533 with questions regarding these estimates.

Unadjusted employment estimates for Hawai’i County, Kaua’i County, Maui Island, Moloka’i and Lāna’i are produced by the US Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. State of Hawaii.

Seasonally adjusted labor force and unemployment estimates for Honolulu & Maui Co.

The BLS publishes seasonally adjusted smoothed estimates of the civilian labor force and unemployment for all metropolitan areas, including the City and County of Honolulu and Maui County. The BLS publishes this data monthly in the Employment and unemployment in the metropolitan area Press release. The timetable is available at

Alternative measures of labor underutilization

Alternative measures of labor underutilization for states, 2021 annual averages
State Measure
U-1 U-2 U-3 U-4 U-5 U-6
United States 2.8 3.2 5.3 5.6 6.4 9.4
Hawaii 3.9 4.4 6.1 6.7 7.4 11.9

The six alternative measures of labor underutilization based on the Current Population Survey (CPS) and compiled on a 4-quarter moving average defined:

U-1, persons unemployed for 15 weeks or more, as a percentage of the civilian labor force;

U-2, job losers and temporary job leavers, as a percentage of the civilian labor force;

U-3, total unemployed, as a percentage of the civilian labor force (this is the definition used for the official unemployment rate);

U-4, total unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percentage of civilian labor force plus discouraged workers;

U-5, total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other marginally connected workers*, as a percentage of civilian labor force plus all marginally connected workers; and

U-6, total unemployed, plus all marginally tied workers, plus total part-time employed for economic reasons, as a percentage of civilian labor force plus all marginally tied workers.

* Individuals who want and are available for work, and who have looked for a job in the last 12 months (or since the end of their last job if they had one in the last 12 months), but who do not were not counted as unemployed because they had not looked for a job in the four weeks preceding the survey, for reasons such as childcare or transport problems, for example. Discouraged workers are a subset of marginally attached people.

Note that the state (U-3) unemployment rates shown are derived directly from the CPS. Therefore, these U-3 measures may differ from the official state unemployment rates for the last 4 quarter period. The latter are estimates developed from statistical models that incorporate CPS estimates, as well as input data from other sources, such as state unemployment claims data.

# # #

Media Contact:

Dr Eugene Tian

Economic Research and Analysis Division

Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
(808) 586-2470
[email protected]

Charlene Chan

Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism

(808) 824-0134

[email protected]


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