Hawaii Economy

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As the most isolated inhabited land mass in the world, Hawaii’s geographical location and limited natural resources present particular economic challenges. In the last 50 years, Hawaii has transitioned from an agricultural economy to one based on tourism, state and local government, and federal — especially military — spending. Hawaii’s economy measured by real GDP is projected to show a 1.8 percent increase in 2017, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

 Overview

Tourism is the state’s primary industry.

But a 2015 U.S. Census Bureau report found the federal government spent more than $20.09 billion in Hawaii during the calendar year.

By comparison, expenditures by visitors who came to Hawaii by air or by cruise ships in 201 totaled $16 billion.

Because of the state’s reliance on tourism, Hawaii’s economy is heavily dependent on both the greater U.S. economy and on the Japanese economy.

Hawaii’s tourism sector moved slightly up and  has been showing  an increase over expectations in 2017.  Visitor arrivals are now expected to increase 2.0 percent in 2017, 0.5 of a percentage point above the previous forecast. The forecast for visitor days in 2017 increased 0.8 of a percentage point to 2.2 percent. The forecast for visitor expenditure growth in 2017 was revised upward to 5.1 percent, from 2.9 percent growth projected in the previous forecast. For 2018, the growth rate of visitor arrivals, visitor days, and visitor expenditures are now expected to be 1.5 percent, 1.4 percent, and 1.9 percent, respectively.

Workforce

Hawaii has a total labor force of about  632, 120 according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Monthly unemployment averages around 2.7 percent.

A high percentage of Hawaii’s work force is unionized, both in the public and private sector. Nationally, the union membership rate — the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of a union — was 12.3 percent. Hawaii — with a total of 123,000 union members — was one of four states last year with union membership rates over 20 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Among Hawaii’s top private employers are Hilton Hotels, Hawaii Pacific Health, Starwood Hotels, Queen’s Health Systems, Kaiser, Wal-Mart, Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaiian Electric, Bank of Hawaii, Alexander & Baldwin, Foodland, First Hawaiian Bank and Kamehameha Schools.

Price of Paradise

Hawaii is a desirable — and expensive — place to live. The high cost of living in the state is known as the Price of Paradise. One of the reasons that it’s more expensive to live in Hawaii than in many places on the mainland is the cost of shipping goods to the islands and between the islands.

The cost of living index, which measures relative price levels for consumer goods and services, for Honolulu gives an indication of Hawaii costs. Honolulu’s index was 186 during the first half of 2016; the U.S. average is 100. The median sale price of a single-family home on Oahu in 2016 was 650,000, according to the Tax Resource website

While costs are high, the state’s per capita income is roughly $35,000. However, the state’s median household income for 2009 was $86,000.

Taxes contribute to the high cost of living in Hawaii. Although Hawaii has among the lowest property tax rates, it has a high income tax rate and a broad-based Hawaii General Excise and Use Tax of 4.5%. Hawaii taxpayers pay $4,399 per capita in state and local taxes. Hawaii’s 2009 state and local tax burden of 9.6 percent of income is slightly below the national average of 9.8 percent, according to the Tax Foundation.

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Contents



                                        
Hawaii Economy

September 2016

Tuesday, September 13

Hawaii Is A Paradise For Pay Phones

August 2016

Monday, August 8

Why Does It Cost So Much To Build Stuff In Honolulu?

July 2016

Tuesday, July 19

NextEra Opponents Take Victory Lap, Ponder Hawaii’s Energy Future

June 2016

Wednesday, June 22

To Hear The Founding Fathers Tell It, Hemp Can Make America Great Again

Thursday, June 9

Hawaii On The Hill: Keeping The Islands On Washington DC’s Map

March 2016

Tuesday, March 29

Bill To Ban Hawaii’s Ivory Trade Heads To Full House

April 2015

Monday, April 27

Living Hawaii: The Jones Act Pays Off — in Politics

Monday, April 6

Living Hawaii: How Much Does Shipping Increase the Cost of Living?

September 2014

Thursday, September 4

Hawaii Takes a $100 Million-Plus Hit as Council Downgrades Revenue Forecast

August 2014

Wednesday, August 20

Hawaii Economists Predict Record Number of Visitors

March 2014

Wednesday, March 26

More People Are Underemployed in Hawaii Than Are Jobless

February 2014

Tuesday, February 11

Help Wanted: The Truth Behind Hawaii’s Low Unemployment Rate

November 2013

Thursday, November 21

Hawaii Loses Money as International Student Population Shrinks

December 2012

Saturday, December 15

What Hawaii’s Low Unemployment Rate Doesn’t Say

September 2012

Tuesday, September 11

Tax Review Commission: Don’t Kill the Messenger

June 2012

Friday, June 22

Why People Can’t Afford to Live in Hawaii

January 2012

Wednesday, January 25

Undermining Economic Recovery

Saturday, January 14

Hawaii Money Blog — Power, Influence and Impact — Jan. 15-22

Capitol Watch — Hawaii Politics and Government — Jan. 16-22

Saturday, January 7

Unintended Consequences of Tapping the “Rich”

Hawaii Money Blog — Power, Influence and Impact — Jan. 9-15

Capitol Watch — Hawaii Politics and Government — Jan. 9-15

December 2011

Saturday, December 31

Hawaii Money Blog — Power, Influence and Impact — Jan. 2-8

Capitol Watch — Hawaii Politics and Government — Jan. 2-8

Wednesday, December 28

 Abercrombie: Hawaii Construction Jobs Grew at 2nd Highest Rate in Nation

Friday, December 23

Capitol Watch — Hawaii Politics and Government — Dec. 26-Jan. 1

Hawaii Money Blog — Power, Influence and Impact — Dec. 26-Jan. 1

Successes and Missteps of Government in Hawaii

Friday, December 16

Capitol Watch — Hawaii Politics and Government — Dec. 19-Dec. 25

Hawaii Money Blog — Power, Influence and Impact — Dec. 19-Dec. 25

Thursday, December 15

Extended Unemployment Checks Could Run Out for 17,600 in Hawaii

Young Hawaii Veterans Face Post-Iraq Joblessness

Thursday, December 8

Hawaii Money Blog — Power, Influence and Impact — Dec. 12-Dec. 18

Friday, December 2

Economists: Asia-Pacific Recovery Good News for Hawaii Tourism

November 2011

Sunday, November 13

Potemkin Village, Hawaiian Style?

Thursday, November 10

Tom Donohue: Hawaii ‘Great Place’ To Do Biz

Thursday, November 3

UH Economists: Hawaii’s Recovery ‘Tenuous, Far From Complete’

October 2011

Wednesday, October 26

Hawaii Completes 2010 Financials 16 Months Later

Thursday, October 13

Benefits of a Hawaii Stock Exchange Unclear

September 2011

Thursday, September 8

Announcing the Launch of a Campaign for Good Jobs

Tuesday, September 6

New Tax Laws Boost Hawaii Revenue Forecast to 14.5%

Thursday, September 1

Hawaii Problems Won’t be Fixed by Patent Reform

June 2011

Friday, June 24

UH Research a Story of Progress and Potential

Ranking Hawaii’s Return On Investment in University Research

University of Hawaii Research: Delivering on Its Promise?

Friday, June 10

The Seriousness of Hawaii’s Financial Situation

Thursday, June 2

Military Spending in Hawaii Tops $12 Billion, Surpasses Tourism

May 2011

Monday, May 9

Hawaii’s First Community ‘Makery’ Debuts In Palolo

April 2011

Wednesday, April 6

‘Makery’ Could Encourage Hawaii Entrepreneurship

March 2011

Thursday, March 17

Abercrombie Now ‘Flexible’ On Raising GET

February 2011

Monday, February 21

Knowing the Past, Shaping the Future

Globalization and The Great Recession

Thursday, February 3

Fighting For Their Homes

January 2011

Tuesday, January 4

Budget Director Doesn’t Have All the Answers for Lawmakers

Census Snapshot: Waipahu’s Idle Teens

Monday, January 3

Census Snapshot: Ewa Villages Leads Way on Raising Educational Level

December 2010

Wednesday, December 29

Capitol Watch: Dec. 30

Census Snapshot: Waimanalo a Town on the Decline

Tuesday, December 28

Capitol Watch: Dec. 29

Census Snapshot: Hauula a Town on the Rise

Monday, December 27

Separated By a River, Princeville and Hanalei Tell Two Stories

Friday, December 24

Discussion: Hawaii Census

Thursday, December 23

Hawaii Outpaced U.S. In Income Growth, Poverty Decline Since 2000

October 2010

Friday, October 1

No Recovery for Hawaii Economy Anytime Soon

September 2010

Tuesday, September 28

Civil Beat Shares Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Salaries

Friday, September 10

Hawaii Council on Revenues Versus the Fed

August 2010

Tuesday, August 24

Aiona: 99 Percent of State’s Businesses are Small

Tuesday, August 17

How Everyone Knew My Salary

Hawaii’s Lowest Paid State Workers

Hawaii’s Highest Paid State Employees

Civil Beat Shares Hawaii State Employee Salaries

The Waipahu Food Assistance Office Is Empty — and It’s Not for Lack of Need, Nor Is It A Bad Thing

Sunday, August 1

State Pays a Price for Faulty Economic Forecasts

July 2010

Thursday, July 29

Discussion: Hawaii Job Market

Job Market Still Grim for Hawaii College Grads

Tuesday, July 27

Hannemann: Let’s Bring The Superferry Back

Friday, July 23

The Ticker: Money Stories for Friday, July 23

Thursday, July 22

The Ticker: Money Stories for Thursday, July 22

Wednesday, July 21

The Ticker: Money Stories for Wednesday, July 21

Tuesday, July 20

The Ticker: Money Stories for Tuesday, July 20

Monday, July 19

The Ticker: Money Stories For Monday, July 19

Friday, July 16

The Ticker: Money Stories for Friday, July 16

Thursday, July 15

The Ticker: Money Stories for Thursday, July 15

Wednesday, July 14

The Ticker: Money Stories for Wednesday, July 14

Tuesday, July 13

UPDATE: Hawaii Has the Highest Percentage of Minority-Owned Businesses

Monday, July 12

The Ticker: Money Stories for Monday, July 12

Friday, July 9

The Ticker: Money Stories for Friday, July 9

House Finance Chair Weighs In On Frozen Funds

Thursday, July 8

The Ticker: Money Stories for Thursday, July 8

Wednesday, July 7

The Ticker: Money Stories For Wednesday, July 7

The Ticker: Money Stories From Around the Web for Tuesday, July 6

Thursday, July 1

The Ticker: Money Stories From Around the Web for Thursday, July 1

June 2010

Wednesday, June 30

The Ticker: Money Stories From Around the Web for Wednesday, June 30

Hawaii Links for Wednesday, June 30

Tuesday, June 29

The Ticker: Money Stories From Around the Web for Tuesday, June 29

Hawaii House Members to Look Into Investments

Monday, June 28

The Ticker: Money Stories From Around the Web for Monday, June 28

Friday, June 25

The Ticker: Money Stories From Around the Web for Friday, June 25

Thursday, June 24

The Ticker: Money Stories From Around the Web for Thursday, June 24

Discussion: Recession and Recovery

Explosive E-Mail Read in Senate Hearing

Discussion: CGI Contract Controversy

Wednesday, June 23

The Ticker: Money Stories From Around the Web for Wednesday, June 23

UPDATE: Meeting Set With ERS

Tuesday, June 22

Recession? A Day in Oahu’s Hardest Hit Neighborhood

The Ticker: Money Stories From Around the Web for Tuesday, June 22

Monday, June 21

The Ticker: Money Stories From Around the Web for Monday, June 21

Friday, June 18

The Ticker: Money Stories From Around the Web for Friday, June 18

Thursday, June 17

The Ticker: Money Stories From Around the Web for Thursday, June 17

Wednesday, June 16

Update: ERS Follows Up On Interview Request

The Ticker: Money Stories From Around the Web for Wednesday, June 16

Introducing Three New Topic Pages

Monday, June 14

The Ticker: Money Stories From Around the Web for Monday, June 14

Wednesday, June 9

The Ticker: Money Stories From Around the Web for Tuesday, June 8

Monday, June 7

Malasadas Mean Business

‘We’re Just Getting By’

Discussion: Kapahulu Avenue Economy

Hair Dryers Roaring

‘Really Slow’

‘We Just Don’t Make Money’

‘Not Too Good, Not Too Bad’

‘It’s Getting Better, Better, Better’

Worries About Europe

Neighborhood Indicators: The Economy On Kapahulu

Tuesday, June 1

UPDATE: Hot Off the Press: Official Report on State Revenues Projections

The Ticker: Money Stories From Around The Web For Tuesday, June 1

May 2010

Saturday, May 15

Warning: The Real Cost Of The General Excise Tax

Thursday, May 13

UPDATE: Tourism Secrecy Bill Becomes Law

Friday, May 7

If Hawaii Doesn’t Pay Now, Will It Have To Pay More Later?

Do charities cross the line to help donors?

Thursday, May 6

UPDATE: How To Follow Unemployment Numbers in Hawaii

UPDATE: Still Unemployed? You’re Not Alone

UPDATE: Maui Pineapple Co. Dragged Into Human Trafficking Story

Monday, May 3

Discussion: Money

Sunday, May 2

No Strings on Tourism Tax, A “Double-Edge Sword” For Counties

Rent or Buy? Not An Easy Question in Honolulu

Six Years After Plan, Homeless Problem Even Worse

April 2010

Monday, April 26

Is Hawaii helped by uncontested elections?

Saturday, April 24

Should I buy or should I rent? And should the feds help?

Friday, April 23

Inouye Stands Tall While Others May Fall