UH Economists: Hawaii's Recovery 'Tenuous, Far From Complete'

Randy Ching/Civil Beat

Hawaii's economy is still sputtering — and it isn't expected to fully recover any time soon.

That's according to the latest quarterly report from economists at the University of Hawaii who say "Hawaii's recovery process is tenuous and far from complete."

"Our forecast is for gains as we move into 2012, but not at a pace that will lead to rapid improvement in economic conditions," the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization wrote in a report released Friday.

But the group wasn't totally pessimistic: It pointed to strengthening tourism as one bright spot. And economists are still counting on Honolulu's rail project to lift construction jobs next year.

UHERO said parts of the local economy are healthier than the U.S. mainland as a whole, but that the state is similarly facing a weak jobs market, limited income growth and lack of construction. The economists called the slowed recover "disappointing, but not particularly surprising."


One of those healthier sectors is the tourism industry. Economists are projecting a boost from the APEC events this month as well as a rebound in visitors from Japan after substantial drop-offs following the natural disasters in March. In September, visitor arrivals from Japan were up nearly 1 percent over last September.

Offsetting a drop in visitors from the U.S. mainland are increases in visitors from Australia, Canada and Korea.

"We anticipate relatively strong visitor numbers in the final quarter of the year," the report said. "For the year as a whole, we expect arrivals to rise 2.1 percent compared with 2010."

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