The Covid Response in Hawaii Significantly Decreased Employment in Leisure and Hospitality, but Left Mining, Logging, and Construction Untouched

January 10, 2021

The Covid pandeminc spread to Hawaii in March 2020. The timeline of the response to Covid began with a refusal to allow a cruise ship disembark on March 19, 2020. On that same day, the mayor of Honolulu announced the closure of parks and instituted a 15-day ban of dining-in at restaurants and bars. On March 21, 2020, the governor of Hawaii mandated a 14-day quarantine for all visitors and residents returning to Hawaii. On March 22, 2020, the mayors of Honolulu County and Maui County announced stay-at-home orders. On August 25, 2020, the governor of Hawaii announced statewide stay-at-home orders.

The picture of labor force participation in Leisure and Hospitality pre- and post-Covid response shows a large inflection point in April 2020, after the precautions by the government were put in place in March. Chart 1, below, shows the impact of the Covid response on employment in Leisure and Hospitality. Notice the sharp drop in employment after March 2020 (blue line) and the concurrent jump in unemployment rate (orange line). A simple regression discontinuity design shows that there was a very significant drop of 69,000 employees in the Leisure and Hospitality industries after March 2020.

Perhaps what is harder to find, is an industry that wasn’t positively or negatively impacted by Covid. The Mining, Logging, and Construction industry in Hawaii is such an industry. Chart 2, below, shows that the response to Covid did not significantly impact the number of employees in the Mining, Logging, and Construction industry. The blue line, which shows employment in Mining, Logging, and Construction is flat between January 2019 and November 2020. There is no visible change in trajectory after the government response to Covid after March 2020. The statistical analysis supports the insight that there was no significant change in employment in Mining, Logging, and Construction pre- and post-Covid response.

The impact of the Covid response in Hawaii permeated most industries. It’s unclear as to why the Mining, Logging, and Construction industries were untouched by the Covid response. The impact of Covid on Leisure and Hospitality, on the other hand, was large and hit an industry that assumes 21% of the state’s economy–with many of Hawaii’s largest industries revolving around the constant flow of tourists.

Source: https://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet, https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/SMS15000007000000001?amp%253bdata_tool=XGtable&output_view=data&include_graphs=true, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_in_Hawaii, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourism_in_Hawaii#:~:text=In%202017%20alone%2C%20according%20to,the%20constant%20flow%20of%20tourists.

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