As the jobs picture brightens in Hawaii, we must aggressively pursue ways to ensure that paychecks become less scarce across the state in the months ahead. In fact, one of my top priorities in Congress would be to strengthen the relationship between such federal agencies as the Office of Personnel Management and job seekers in Hawaii.
I firmly believe that we can improve the state’s employment outlook by creating opportunities for the federal government and institutions such as the University of Hawaii to work more closely together.
Already, government jobs (federal, state, and county) continue to help drive Hawaii’s labor market, accounting for a total of 124,600 jobs. Leisure and hospitality are among the other growth sectors, creating 106,600 jobs. Rounding out the top six are trade, transportation, and utilities, which are generating a combined total of 111,100 jobs. For its part, the federal government, alone, accounts for 34,700 jobs, ranging from entry level to highly-skilled positions in agencies such as the Departments of Defense and Interior.
As a result, Hawaii’s unemployment rate sits at 6.4 percent, compared to the 8.2 percent for the national rate. The last time Hawaii’s employment rate reached 6.4 percent was in February 2009.
To help accelerate the economic recovery, job seekers can call or visit any of Hawaii’s One Stop Centers, which are dedicated to providing such free services as career counseling and resume building. Click here to find centers located on Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island, Moloka’i, and Kaua’i.
I also encourage you to share with me your thoughts on ways in which the federal government can provide better opportunities for Hawaii residents, who are interested in public sector jobs.
Me ke aloha
Esther Puakela Kia’aina