Hawaii is an expensive state to live in.  Many military spouses choose to work while living here.  
The state unemployment rate was 2.8% in March 2019, below the national average.  It usually remains lower, historically, than 5%.  However, the COVID pandemic has had a significant impact on the state unemployment, which reached 14.3% in 2020, much higher than the national average of 6.9% during the same time.  
Most employment opportunities are in government, leisure and hospitality (hotels, restaurants, retail sales), trade, transportation and utilities.  This is due to Hawaii’s economic dependence on tourism. 
Professional jobs are more difficult to obtain and some professions may require re-certification, registration or transfer of certifications (i.e. nurses, lawyers, accountants etc…), which may be expensive and/or time consuming. 

Q. As a military spouse and for dependents, is it easy to find a job on Oahu?
A. No, because of the following reasons:
  • The jobs available in Hawaii are mostly based on tourism. The second biggest area is either construction or in healthcare.
  • The majority of jobs are in Honolulu. Not everyone wants to live there – so they commute from wherever they are – from west toward town usually. This results in huge crowds on the road during rush hours. Parking downtown is expensive.
  • Most Goverment jobs and some jobs on the bases are restricted to US citizens. 
  • Minimum wage is low compared to our Canadian standard (USD$10.10 per hour). Special minimum wage rates, such as the "Hawaii waitress minimum wage" for tipped employees, may apply to certain workers.  
  • Hawaii employers also may pay 18 year olds and minors the youth minimum wage of $4.25 for the first 90 days of employment. Then, these workers must be paid full minimum wage after 90 days have passed (or after they turn 20).Other labor law exemptions for minors in Hawaii may exist.
All Canadians are required to have an Employment Authorization Document to work in the U.S. For more information, click here

Prior to or when you arrive in Hawaii, you are welcome to email or call the Military and Family Support Center at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam (JBPHH) to request employment advice. Options include individual appointments and email/phone advisement. Call the center’s front desk at 808-474-1999 to request the service you prefer or schedule an appointment at 808-474-0126/0129

Military Spousal Employment Network (Canadian)
URL: https://msen.vfairs.com/

Local job postings
Hawaii Jobs on Demand
URL:  https://hawaiijobsondemand.com/
City and County of Honolulu Jobs
URL:  https://agency.governmentjobs.com/honolulu/default.cfm
URL: https://www.indeed.com/l-Oahu-Island,-HI-jobs.html
State of Hawaii Jobs
URL: https://jobs.hawaii.gov/careers/

Base employment services