Hawaii’s unemployment office will open the day after Labor Day after more than a year of being closed to in-person visits.

Anne Perreira-Eustaquio, who leads the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, announced on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s “Spotlight” program Wednesday morning that the office opening on Sept. 7 will involve walk-ins in the morning and appointment-only visits in the afternoon.

Many Hawaii residents have been eagerly waiting for the office to open and have struggled to reach state officials to resolve their unemployment insurance claims.

The state unemployment insurance office has been closed for more than a year to in-person visits, frustrating many who can’t get through the call center. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

The state’s unemployment rate was 7.7% in June, down from 14% a year ago in June 2020 but still above the national average of 5.9% and far above pre-pandemic Hawaii levels, Perreira-Eustaquio said.

The office will continue its call center but discontinue Zoom and phone appointments once the office is open, Perreira-Eustaquio said. She said people will be allowed to make in-person appointments three weeks prior to Sept. 7.

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