BY HAWAII REPORTER

Hawaii Underemployment among Nation’s worst

Hawaii is one of nine states with the highest underemployment rates in the nation, according to a survey by Gallup Inc.

The polling company’s Daily Tracker telephone survey found the Aloha State and eight other states had underemployment of 21 percent to 24.9 percent. That means at least one out of every five people in the state’s workforce were either unemployed or working a part-time job when they desired a full-time position.

Gallup reported that nationally 18.9% of Americans were underemployed in 2010 and said rates varied substantially across states. North Dakota and Wyoming had the lowest underemployment rate with a range of 9.0 percent to 11.9 percent.

Hawaii was in the highest range, in a group that included Illinois, North Carolina, Oregon, Florida, Nevada, Mississippi, Michigan and California.

Gallup obtained the results in more than 200,000 telephone surveys during 2010. It said the margin of error for states is no greater than plus or minus 7 percentage points, with most states in the 4 percentage point range.

The poll results are higher than those released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which earlier this year released figures for 2010 showing Hawaii had higher underemployment than the national average.

The bureau’s figures showed that 16.9 percent of Hawaii’s workforce were either unemployed or underutilized last year, or higher than the nation’s 16.7 percent rate.

Hawaii’s 16.9 percent translates into roughly 1 in every six people either being without a job or having a part-time job when they’d like a full-time position.

The figure also served to underscore the notion that Hawaii’s economy is continuing to experience problems even though its traditional unemployment rate (7.0 percent average in 2010) was below that of the nation as a whole (9.6%).

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Hawaii Reporter is an award-winning, independent Hawaii-based news and opinion journal founded in 2001 and launched in February 2002. The journal's staff have won a number of top awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including the top investigative news reporting awards, business reporting awards, government reporting awards, and online news reporting awards. Hawaii Reporter has a weekly television news show, News Behind the News, which airs on Mondays at 1:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.