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Unemployment jumps to 8.4% on Maui Island in September 2023, primarily due to fires : Maui Now


On Maui Island, unemployment climbed to 8.4% in September 2023, a 3.7% increase from August 2023 and a 4.6% increase from a year ago, according to statistics released by the Hawai‘i State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

A driving factor for the jump in unemployment are the Maui wildfires of Aug. 8, which destroyed many businesses and jobs in Lahaina — and led to a dramatic island-wide drop in tourism that has led to other job losses.

But elsewhere in Maui County, unemployment dropped in September from the previous month. Lānaʻi’s unemployment fell to 1.2% and Molokaʻi to 1.3%

Hawaiʻi unemployment figures for September 2023: Source: State of Hawaiʻi

For the State of Hawaiʻi, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September was 2.8%, the same as in July and August. In September, 656,400 persons were employed and 19,200 were unemployed, for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 675,600 statewide.


Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.8% in September, the same as in July.

The not-seasonally adjusted rate for the state was 3.3% in September, compared to 3.1% in August.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for State of Hawaiʻi from September 2021 to September 2023. Source: State of Hawaiʻi

In a separate measure of employment, total nonagricultural jobs increased by 200 month-over-month, from August 2023 to September 2023.


Job gains were experienced in:

  • Private Education & Health Services (+500)
  • Professional & Business Services (+300)
  • Manufacturing (+200)
  • Construction (+100)
  • Financial Activities (+100)

Job losses occurred in:

  • Information (-100)
  • Other Services (-200)
  • Leisure & Hospitality (-800)
  • Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-1,300).

There was notable job losses in the predominant subsectors of Leisure & Hospitality (Accommodation; and Food Services & Drinking Places) and Trade, Transportation & Utilities (Retail Trade; and Transportation & Warehousing) because of the Maui wildfires.


Government employment went up by 1,400 jobs. The rise in Government was in state government, due to the deployment of the National Guard on Maui and a higher-than-seasonal-average increase of workers in the University of Hawai‘i system.

Year-over-year (September 2022 was the 30th month of pandemic effects), nonfarm jobs have gone up by 6,600, or 1.1%.

However, in comparison with March 2020 (the last month prior to pandemic effects), nonfarm jobs were down by 22,900, or -3.5%.

Source: Maui News

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