Hawaii Grapples With Great Depression-level Unemployment As Tourism Plummets

Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head Mountain in Honolulu, Oahu Island, Hawaii

The unemployment rate in Kahului, Hawaii skyrocketed to 35% in April — nearly 10% higher than the national unemployment rate at the peak of the Great Depression — and the highest of any metropolitan area in the U.S., according to the latest data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As COVID-19 decimated tourism and the planes stopped coming in, job losses on the island piled up with unprecedented furor. In March, Kahului had some of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation at 2.2%.

In an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 on the islands, Hawaii’s government acted fast — imposing a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all visitors. While the move was lauded by many and proved effective in preventing major outbreaks of the respiratory disease on the islands, the impact to tourism, Hawaii’s biggest industry, proved quick and severe.

Read more at ABC News.




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