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Hawaii unemployment rate hits 4-year low

Becky Bohrer, Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) -- Hawaii's unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in four years, hitting 5.3 percent.

That rate, while still preliminary, compares with 5.5 percent a month earlier and 6.7 percent in November 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.

Last month's rate was the lowest in Hawaii since November 2008, just before the state began feeling the effects of the recession and the softened U.S. economy.

The unemployment rate has generally been trending lower since October 2011, when it stood at 6.8 percent.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.7 percent last month.

Hawaii added 4,600 non-agricultural jobs between October and November, according to a state labor department business survey, bringing the total to 612,700. Government employment rose by 2,200 jobs between October and November, which the department attributes largely to temporary hires to help with the general election.

The state added 17,700 jobs between November 2011 and November 2012, with some of the bigger gains seen in the industries of trade, transportation and utilities; leisure and hospitality; and construction.