BLS Report: Hawaii Leisure, Hospitality Industry Lost More Than Gained Jobs Last Year

Jun 7, 2019

Credit Catherine Cruz / HPR

The U.S. Department of Labor released its latest statistics Friday on Hawaii’s job market, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) finding that the leisure and hospitality industry lost more jobs than it gained in the third quarter of 2018.

From June 2018 to September 2018, overall employment fell by 2,708 jobs. The state gained 27,074 jobs but lost 29,782 positions.

The report also noted that opening establishments added 5,245 jobs statewide. Meanwhile, closing establishments resulted in the loss of 6,531 jobs.

BLS said during the third quarter of last year, 7 of the 8 industry sectors in Hawaii experienced more job losses than gains. In the leisure and hospitality sector, for example, losses exceeded gains by 630 jobs.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism reported in May that the unemployment rate, not seasonally adjusted, grew at an average 2.9 percent during the first four months of 2019. That is higher than the 2.2 percent growth in the same period in 2018.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said in a news release that, for the country as a whole, unemployment rates have been at record lows.

“For 15 months in a row, the unemployment rate has been at or below 4.0% as May’s unemployment rate remained at 3.6%, the lowest rate since 1969,” Acosta said. “At 3.1%, wage growth continued a 10-month streak of being at or above 3.0%, which remains encouraging.”

But Associated Press reports, while the country added 75,000 jobs in May, the less than robust hiring was seen as a sign that businesses have become more cautious in the face of weaker global growth, widening trade conflicts and perhaps some difficulty finding enough workers.

Credit Bureau of Labor Statistics / U.S. Department of Labor