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

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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Comments (2)

Even at those rates, Hawaii is reportedly having trouble handling all of the new unemployment applicants. The Star-Bulletin is reporting that the state is having to hire an additional 25 staffers to handle the higher claims loads.

Media madness is one of the causes of this downturn. There is a good side no one seems to recognize. Even with unemployment at 10% means that 90% of people are employed... Think about it.

In fact, most of those that are unemployed, while not a nice place to be, have support with unemployment compensation and are thus, not destitute.

Another good thing is that now may be the best time to visit Hawaii with better deals than you can normally find on everything from airfare to hotels, shopping and dining.

Now if the media would just stop hammering the negatives daily, I am sure everyone would recover much more quickly.


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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.