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Hawaii is paradise, but only for the few who are unaffected by the economy

January 28, 2009 |  9:12 am

Diamond Head looms over beachgoers on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

If you're like a lot of people, you've canceled or shortened your annual trip to Hawaii because you're worried about finances in what is looking more and more like a great depression.

As for Hawaii, one of the world's premier destinations for outdoors enthusiasts, the term "paradise" no longer applies to many of its residents. The jobless rate, in part because of a devastated tourist sector, reached a 10-year high at 5.5% in 2008, according to figures released this week.

And that figure is expected to soar higher in 2009.

A geographical breakdown:

-- Honolulu: 4.2%

-- Molokai: 11.6%

-- Maui: 6.5%

-- Hawaii: 7.1%

-- Kauai: 7.7%

-- Lanai: 6.2%

For the sake of comparison, Michigan is the state with the the highest jobless rate at 10.6%. California, which is closest to Hawaii in terms of air travel, ranks fourth at 9.3%.

The weather may indeed be beautiful, and we wish we were there to help out. But ...

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Diamond Head looms over beachgoers on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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