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Update Survey by the Office of Economic Opportunity. The unemployment rate for both males and females for the six major islands was estimated at 11.6 percent, ccmpared to 6.5 percent for the State as a whole. More recently, U.S. Department of Labor correspondence with the State indicates that the present rate is probably higher than the 1975 level, while the overall unemployment rate in Hawaii has dropped to 5.9 percent. 51/

Data for 1975 on the distribution of men in the occupational structure of Hawaii show that native Hawaiians still lag behind other ethnic groups in the percentage of their population with professional/managerial positions. Only 17.8 percent of native Hawaiians are classified as "professional-technical, managerial," compared to 33.6 percent for Caucasians, 34.3 percent for Japanese, and 50.4 percent for Chinese. On the other hand, 53.6 percent of native Hawaiians have occupations classified as "blue collar," while 42 percent of Caucasians, 4 2.2 percent of Japanese, and 21.2 percent of Chinese have blue collar jobs. Filipinos and Portuguese fare even worse than native Hawaiians: 16 percent of Filipinos and 17.7 percent of Portuguese are classified as professional, while 55.4 percent of Filipinos and 58.1 percent of Portuguese have blue collar jobs. Over 2 2 percent of native Hawaiian men have jobs in the "menial" occupational category, a higher percentage than that of any of the other five ethnic groups studied. 52/


In ancient Hawaii, the inhabitants lived in a subsistence economy, farming and fishing for just enough to satisfy their needs. The coming of the white man changed this situation and a market economy grew up alongside the natives' subsistence one.

When trading declined and largescale agriculture took over, the economy changed again. The decline in the native population and the lack of interest on the part of the natives in toiling in the fields made the importation of immigrant laborers necessary. Many native Hawaiians continued to work as supervisors for the plantations, however.

In the early part of the twentieth century, native Hawaiians, and especially part-Hawaiians, had some advantage over other ethnic groups in the professions, particularly in the fields of law, politics, and teaching. This advantage disappeared by 1940, however. By 1950, full-Hawaiians were over-represented in the unskilled labor class. Data for 1975 show that only 17.8 percent of native Hawaiian men have professional/managerial positions, while 53.6 percent are classified as blue collar workers. According to 1970 U.S. Census information, the employment status of native Hawaiians is as follows:

  • 4.3 percent of native Hawaiian men and 5.2 percent of native Hawaiian women were unemployed, compared to State figures of 2.6 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively;
  • 76.4 percent of native Hawaiian males over the age of 16 were in the labor force, compared with the State figure of 81.5 percent;
  • 47.9 percent of native Hawaiian women over the age of 16 were in the labor force, compared with 49 percent for the State as a whole.

A 1975 Census Update Survey estimated that the unemployment rate for native Hawaiians was 11.6 percent, compared to 6.5 percent for the State of Hawaii as a whole.


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