Hawaii unemployment drops to 4.9 percent in April

HONOLULU (AP) -- Hawaii's unemployment rate dropped to 4.9 percent in April, the state's lowest rate since October 2008, officials said Thursday.

The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage point from 5.1 percent in March. The rate is 1.2 percentage points lower than the 6.1 percent seen in April last year.

Unemployment has consistently declined since August of 2011, when it was 6.7 percent.

When the rate began climbing in 2008, the country was experiencing the Great Recession — the longest and deepest recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The slight drop in unemployment in April from March was not because more people had jobs, but because some left the workforce.

State officials say 100 fewer people had jobs in April compared with March, while 1,550 left the workforce.

In all, 614,000 people were employed in April and 31,850 were unemployed in a total labor force of 645,850.

The national unemployment rate was 7.5 percent in April, 7.6 percent in March, and 8.1 percent in April last year.

Unemployment rates in the counties in April were 3.9 percent in Honolulu, 6.6 percent in Hawaii County, 5.7 percent in Kauai and 4.8 percent in Maui. The county rates aren't seasonally adjusted.

Statewide, the mining, logging and construction industry has seen the biggest increase in non-agricultural jobs in the last 12 months. There were 32,100 such jobs in April, compared with 28,800 jobs in April 2012.