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Hawaii jobless rate lowest ever

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Isle jobless rate lowest ever

Source: Honolulu Advertiser/Star Bulletin

artjobsx.jpg

Once again, Hawai'i had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation last month.

Hawai'i's jobless rate fell to 2.1 percent in October, marking the third straight month the state has posted the lowest unemployment rate in the nation.

October's rate was down 0.4 percentage point from September's seasonally adjusted 2.5 percent rate, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said yesterday. In comparison, the U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipped to 4.4 percent in October compared with 4.6 percent in September. The jobs data are adjusted to compensate for seasonal factors, such as holidays, that could skew year-over-year comparisons.

Hawai'i's monthly seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has been below 3 percent for nine of the last 12 months. Economists expect state economic growth to slow this year. However, the low unemployment rate shows that Hawai'i's economy remains on strong footing, helped by a robust real-estate market and a stable tourism sector.

Despite the dip in the unemployment rate, which is derived from a survey of households, a separate survey of businesses showed a net decline of 2,400 nonagricultural payroll jobs to 621,400 jobs in October from June. Still, 12,800 new jobs have been created statewide since October of last year.

The October jobs report showed a month-to-month decline in other services; trade, transportation and utilities; education and health services; and leisure and hospitality. The government sector gained jobs.

On a nonseasonally adjusted basis, the Big Island's jobless rate in October fell to 2.2 percent, versus 3 percent last year; Honolulu's rate fell to 1.9 percent, compared with 2.7 percent a year ago; Maui County recorded 1.9 percent, down from 2.6 percent a year earlier; and Kaua'i's rate fell to 2.0 percent from 2.5 percent a year ago.

In October, Hawai'i's seasonally adjusted labor force totaled 657,700 and was composed of 644,000 employed and 13,700 unemployed people.

*Hmm its good news but most of those jobs don't pay very liveable wages and are mostly service-oriented or governmental. :(

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Wow, congratulations to Hawaii. Perhaps Puerto Rico's Government could take counseling from the Aloha State. What do you think? 2.1% vs 10+ %

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^Speaking of the 10% unemployment rate in PR, i read recently that Puerto Rican truckers are being recruited to Utah, the state with the 2nd lowest unemployment. So in other words it looks like they are using this situation to their advantage?

Despite the low unemployment rate in Hawaii its becoming more and more expensive to live. :(

Here's an article from today in the Star Bulletin:

Hawaii's worker shortage bodes future problems

HAWAII'S anticipated influx of military construction and the retirement of baby boomers remain on the horizon, but the state already is beginning to feel the strain of a severe worker shortage. The state and business community must devise a strategy to compete with other states to attract workers before the scarcity results in economic calamity for Hawaii.

A poll of Americans last month ranked Hawaii the eighth most desirable state to call home, chiefly because of its climate and environment. Foreigners ranked the state third, perhaps unaware of factors such as affordability, amenities and housing availability, for which domestic respondents ranked Hawaii No. 48.

Hawaii's unemployment rate has been below 3 percent for nine of the last 12 months and in October shrank to 2.1 percent, less than half the national rate and Hawaii's lowest since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started keeping track 30 years ago. The rate is more than 1 percent lower than it was in early 2004, when apprehensive employers convened a special "jobs summit" at Fort Shafter.

Meanwhile, other states are implementing strategies aimed at dealing with a job shortage certain to become more severe. Labor is especially scarce in Western states, partly because of the expansion of energy development and despite the growing Hispanic work force.

In Utah, second behind Hawaii with a record-low jobless rate of 2.5 percent, a trucking company has begun to recruit drivers from Puerto Rico, where the rate was 10.8 percent in September. Utah economist Mark Knold recalls that Utah's previous low was 3 percent in April 1997, and the economy stumbled three years later when it "ran out of workers."

Seeking more workers for its coal, oil and natural gas expansion, Wyoming state and company officials have attended job fairs and put up billboards in Michigan aimed at luring people from the troubled auto industry. The strategy is paying dividends among those accustomed to harsh northern winters. The mountain state had tried a job campaign in the South after Hurricane Katrina, but prospective workers chose not to move after learning about Wyoming's frigid winters. They might find Hawaii more suitable.

In some sectors, especially the health-care industry, the impending crunch is nationwide. The average age of registered nurses is nearing 50 years, as baby boomers approach the period at which they will need increased health care. Hawaii's shortfall of registered nurses already is more than 1,000 and expected to reach nearly 4,600 by 2020.

Hawaii has nearly 20,000 more jobs than a year ago, reaching employment of 644,000 in October, but it remains an employee market. Economists predict businesses will have no choice but to raise wages to attract workers, passing on higher costs to consumers, thereby worsening Hawaii's low-ranking affordability and housing shortage, thus discouraging migration of workers from the mainland -- an ominous circle.

Also look at the average rent and how much it has climbed on O'ahu: :(

M1514771125.GIF

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Interesting to know that other states are "trying" to help PR with its unemployment problem. Not long ago Florida's Department of Education was recruiting teachers over here plus I also read that Baltimore's Police Dept. was also recruiting Puerto Rican cops and now Utah is recruiting truckers, hahahaha this is getting good by the hour. BTW in PR the average rent is much lower.

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^That sucks because a lot of experience and talent goes too.

Here's another story related to the low unemployment rate, now they are starting to look to foreign countries for workers. It has already started for the cruise industry, nursing, etc and now hotels?

Start of trend? Hotel hires foreign workers

Source: Honolulu Advertiser

Twenty-five workers from the Philippines arrived at Kona International Airport yesterday in what could foreshadow a new mini-wave of immigrant labor to the Islands.

The Fairmont Orchid Hawaii arranged with the U.S. Labor Department to bring up to 45 Filipinos here on seasonal work visas through August to help staff the hotel in the face of the nation's tightest labor market.

A handful of other hotels have also inquired about the process as they are having trouble filling jobs with the state's unemployment rate at 2.1 percent.

"We've done everything we possibly can (to find workers) here on the Big Island and the state," said Fairmont Orchid general manager Ian Pullan. "And we just have not been able to fill the number of vacancies that we've had."

The arrival of Filipinos to work in hotels comes on the 100th anniversary of Filipino immigration to Hawai'i. In 1906 a group of 15 Filipinos was recruited by the Hawaii Sugar Planters Association to work at the Ola'a Plantation on the Big Island.

The government approved Fairmont's plan when it determined there was a shortage of American workers for the hotel jobs and that the immigrants would have adequate housing.

The Fairmont is bringing over Filipino workers who are relatives of hotel employees with whom they can stay, Pullan said. He said 25 workers arrived in Kona yesterday, and the hotel is interviewing candidates in the Philippines for 20 more positions. The 45 positions include housekeepers, kitchen helpers, cooks and dining room attendants.

The seasonal work visas expire Aug. 15, but Fairmont may reapply to extend their stay.

This is the first case of seasonal work visas for a Hawai'i hotel, said James Hardway, a spokesman for the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

"It is precedent setting," Hardway said. "We do know from talking to other hotels and some other industries that they are watching to see what happens in this case, to see how successful it is."

SAME WAGES, BENEFITS

Seasonal work visas are usually given for white-collar jobs such as teachers, doctors or in the technology sector but have also been given for agricultural workers, Hardway said.

The immigrant workers will be given the same wages and benefits as current employees in the same positions. That ranges from about $13 to $18 an hour for the non-tipped workers, said Wallace Ishibashi Jr., a union representative.

The ILWU Local 142, which represents employees at the Fairmont Orchid, has worked with the hotel on the seasonal work visa program and supports it, Ishibashi said. One of the union's concerns is making sure local workers have job opportunities, but the state's low unemployment rate has made it difficult to recruit despite the hotels' best efforts, he said.

"It's not that we're not trying to hire local people," Ishibashi said, adding that drug test failures are another stumbling block.

The seasonal work visa program is a "temporary fix" to relieve current employees who have been overworked because of the vacancies, he said.

"They're working so many hours because we don't have enough workers and we have had openings for a while now," Ishibashi said.

SHORT-TERM SOLUTION

Fairmont general manager Pullan also said bringing in Filipinos, while to an extent a last resort, will help employees who have been working long hours for about a year.

"It was more of an issue of we were not able, with that number of vacancies, to satisfy the worklife balance of our current colleagues," he said. "It was an opportunity for us to say to our current colleagues, 'We hear you and we're at least bringing family members over to help.' "

In some cases family members are being reunited after more than 10 years, he said.

The hotel, which has about 850 positions, has had more than 100 vacancies from line-level to executive positions over the past year, Pullan said. Recent local hires and the 25 workers from the Philippines will reduce the vacancies to 60, he said.

Pullan said the seasonal work visas are a short-term measure, and the hotel's primary focus is on recruiting people from Hawai'i. The hotel's ongoing efforts include incentives and partnerships with high schools and colleges. The hotel even tried recruiting former Hawai'i residents in California and Las Vegas.

In recent years, some Filipinos, including doctors and fishermen, have come to Hawai'i temporarily to work, said Dean Alegado, associate professor and chairman of the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of Hawai'i. But he hasn't heard of Filipinos coming here to work at a hotel.

"It's kind of ironic for the Filipino community," he said. "It's the centennial of the immigration, and it continues, except now it's the hotels."

NO SIMPLE TASK

Alegado was also surprised that the plan won union support. "From what I understand, the position has been that if wages and working conditions are improved, you should be able to attract more workers. But I guess with the tight labor market there's a squeeze," he said.

Obtaining seasonal work visas is difficult, especially for unskilled labor, he said.

"You have to really convince the Department of Labor that a labor shortage exists," he said.

Honolulu immigration lawyer Maile Hirota said obtaining seasonal work visas requires going through "a lot of administrative hoops."

"But I know there's extremely low unemployment in Hawai'i, so I'm not surprised that employers would have to go outside the state to get help, or even outside the country," she said. "That shows how much employers in our state are willing to do to get the people that they need. ... I'm sure that people are going to be watching the Fairmont to see how it works out."

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Wow didn't know how big the Filipino population was in Hawaii. BTW is interesting to noticed that in English Filipinas is wrote as Philippines but the people from the Philippines (Filipinos) is wrote as in Spanish.

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^Yeah and there are a lot of words in the many different Filipino languages that are borrowed from Spanish. However, there are some words in Spanish borrowed from Filipino languages like:

* carabao

* barangay

* yoyo

* abaca

* cogon - a grass.

* sampaguita- a flower

* gumamela - a flower

* baguio - from bagyo, typhoon/hurricane

* bolo - A big knife/ short sword.

* palay - rice plant

* caracoa - small barge

* pantalan - wooden pier

There also many there that still speak Spanish and a hybrid called Chavacano which is a Spanish Creole.

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^I think most of those are prodiminent or most familiar in Spain.

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Hawaii has nearly 20,000 more jobs than a year ago, reaching employment of 644,000 in October, but it remains an employee market. Economists predict businesses will have no choice but to raise wages to attract workers, passing on higher costs to consumers, thereby worsening Hawaii's low-ranking affordability and housing shortage, thus discouraging migration of workers from the mainland -- an ominous circle.

Also look at the average rent and how much it has climbed on O'ahu: :(

M1514771125.GIF

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^The only thing about these rates is that they are measuring it with basically what is left on the market to rent (as i'd imagine is the case elsewhere). The past few years have been horibble for renters because during the low interest rate time period a lot of rentals went on the market to be sold and the remainder were monopolized as the rental market became very tight. I think it will start to back off in the near future because people aren't buying homes like they were because its so expensive.

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^The only thing about these rates is that they are measuring it with basically what is left on the market to rent (as i'd imagine is the case elsewhere). The past few years have been horibble for renters because during the low interest rate time period a lot of rentals went on the market to be sold and the remainder were monopolized as the rental market became very tight. I think it will start to back off in the near future because people aren't buying homes like they were because its so expensive.

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The median in Honolulu is around 600,000 now and dropping, so its a good sign. Rentals are still a different story. :(

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The median in Honolulu is around 600,000 now and dropping, so its a good sign. Rentals are still a different story. :(

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^Yeah it is very decieving because of expensive properties on the market like that. However, its still very high. The cheapest monthly rent in the island are probably found in Hilo town and most likely on Molokai but there isn't an abundance of opportunities or high paying jobs there compared to other places in the state.

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^Yeah it is very decieving because of expensive properties on the market like that. However, its still very high. The cheapest monthly rent in the island are probably found in Hilo town and most likely on Molokai but there isn't an abundance of opportunities or high paying jobs there compared to other places in the state.

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One of the arguments people throw around to "justify" paying or perhaps make them feel better about paying such high prices is that they don't have to pay for heating during the winter (or air conditioning if you live in the vallies, hillsides or on the windward side). Also, the highest prices are usually in the city or near it where everything is pretty much located but there are exceptions like living near the Ocean or upper-middle class hoods. :P

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One of the arguments people throw around to "justify" paying or perhaps make them feel better about paying such high prices is that they don't have to pay for heating during the winter (or air conditioning if you live in the vallies, hillsides or on the windward side). Also, the highest prices are usually in the city or near it where everything is pretty much located but there are exceptions like living near the Ocean or upper-middle class hoods. :P

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A whole new bunch of jobs will soon become available from the State Government and if your lucky to get one you will probably be able to live quite well 'cause they usually get paid quite a bit.

Labor crisis looms for government

About one in five state employees is nearing retirement

Source: Honolulu Star Bulletin

artlabor.jpg

As baby boomers reach their golden years, the state government is facing a potentially massive labor crunch that could have some departments losing a third of their workers to retirement.

A study by the state Department of Human Resources shows that 22 percent of the government work force, or about one in five state employees, is closing in on retirement.

The state is Hawaii's largest employer with 49,427 civil service and exempt workers as of June 20, 2005. Of those state workers, 7,220 are between 55 and 59 and another 3,514 are between 60 and 64.

The largest work group comprises teachers, with 12,925. They make up 26 percent of the state work force, have an average salary of $47,266, are on average 43 years old and have 11 years' experience.

The highest-paid group are educational officers, such as principals and vice principals, represented by the Hawaii Government Employees Association. Their average age is 51 with an average salary of $79,323.

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Las Vegas and Dallas are also recruiting puertorican teachers.

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^What do you think about that? It seems like many places are recruiting the talented from PR.

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Yep,the intelligent and proffessional people are leaving PR,mostly the low-class,un-intelligent(?) people stay.

I think I read(or heard)not long ago that about 150,000 puertoricans are leaving for the US every year,its a huge ammount.

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^Gosh damn thats a crazy amount wow. Do you have any idea how many people move back to the island each year? I'd imagine that some do return after a while.

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^Gosh damn thats a crazy amount wow. Do you have any idea how many people move back to the island each year? I'd imagine that some do return after a while.

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I know some come back(don't know the ammount) but not many,things here are horrible,they're worse everyday,inflation is about 20%,San Juan is one of the most expensive cities in the US(its more expensive than Honolulu).Unemployment is about 10%(its more but the Government won't say it is).

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