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State economists are expecting 8.3 million visitors to spend $14.9 billion in Hawaii this year, which would set a new record.
The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s third-quarter report, released Wednesday, revises Hawaii’s economic growth upward.
Tropical Storm Iselle’s landfall and the threat of Hurricane Julio resulted in 13,500 fewer visitors on Aug. 7 and Aug. 8, but the numbers are already turning around, according to DBEDT.
Tourists and Waipi‘o Valley Lookout area
David Fulmer via Flickr
Key economic indicators were mixed during the first half of 2014.
Visitor arrivals during the first half of 2014 were down by 0.5 percent, but the number of scheduled air seats is expected to increase by more than 5 percent during the second of half of the year, according to DBEDT.
Hawaii’s inflation and unemployment rates were low and are expected to remain so for the next few years. DBEDT forecasts inflation to be 1.5 percent in 2014, creeping up to 3 percent by 2017, and unemployment to drop to 4.3 percent this year and fall below 4 percent after 2015.
“Hawaii’s inflation rate (1.1 percent) was lower than the U.S. average for the first time since 2003,” DBEDT Director Richard Lim said in a news release. “At the same time, our labor market continues to improve; we are seeing a record-high labor force and workers employed during the first seven months of this year.”
There was a net loss of 100 construction jobs, but DBEDT predicts more construction activity in the coming months based on a 7 percent increase in private building permits through July.
DBEDT economists expect personal income growth to be higher than originally thought. They are now forecasting growth at 2.6 percent in 2014, up from 2.1 percent projected last quarter; and 2.5 percent in 2015, up from 2.2 percent, the release says.
Read the full report here:
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