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Four percent increase in employment forecast

March 11, 2014 - 9:46am

The Hawaii State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations expects statewide employment will jump 4 percent by 2015.

In its latest forecast, the state anticipates that statewide employment will expand by 26,880 jobs from the first quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2015, according to a press release.

Don Mende, deputy director at the County of Hawaii Research and Development office, said the 4 percent increase is “a decent number.”

“We’re hopeful that the statistics indicate that the economy is rising in the state, and that’s a trend we hope to follow,” he said.

Bill Kunstman, media contact for DLIR, said the construction industry is a factor in the overall increase in jobs.

“We’re not economists but there’s a general consensus that tourism brought us out of the Great Recession and that construction is bringing us back now,” he said.

According to the press release, the construction industry will lead the economic recovery with the fastest growth rate of 16.7 percent, and add 4,960 jobs.

All major occupational groups will experience positive job growth, as well. Job growth will produce 13,590 annual openings, while 16,680 openings will arise due to people retiring or switching occupations.

The report said the total number of job openings projected during the 2013-2015 period is 60,540 and that large-sized occupations with slower growth rates dominate the top 20 occupations with the most job openings.

Six of the occupations are in the food preparation- and serving-related occupational group: combined food preparation and serving workers; waiters and waitresses; hosts and hostesses of restaurants, lounges, and coffee shops; dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers; counter attendants of cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shops; and restaurant cooks.

In Hawaii County, food and beverage industry jobs gained the most jobs during the third quarter of 2013, with 500 of the 1,600 non-agricultural wage and salary jobs added in food services and drinking places, according to the DLIR.

The forecast also said that construction and extraction jobs will grow the most rapidly across the state at 11.5 percent, creating 2,350 job openings annually.

Rapidly growing jobs include elevator installers and repairers, reinforcing iron and rebar workers, cement masons and concrete finishers, carpenters and helpers, drywall and ceiling tile installers, sheet metal workers, supervisors, laborers, roofers, electricians, tile and marble setters, plumbers, operating engineers, and carpet installers.

The DLIR previously reported that Hawaii County’s construction and extraction industry is anticipated to grow 29.7 percent from 2010-20.

Kunstman was not able to say where exactly those construction jobs would be needed on the Big Island.

Jobs in the service industry, the largest occupational category, will contribute annually the most job openings with 9,480, according to the release.

Many of those jobs will be of the food preparation and serving related variety, and others will be building and grounds cleaning and maintenance jobs.

The annual report provides short-term industry and occupational projections for the state of Hawaii. The forecasts use actual first quarter 2013 employment for the base year and employment is projected to the first quarter of 2015.

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