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State: Visitor industry strong; optimistic on economic growth

Published On: Nov 15 2012 11:57:14 AM HST
Updated On: Nov 15 2012 05:17:14 PM HST
Hawaiian Islands

HONOLULU -

In its fourth quarter 2012 economic report, the Department of Business,
Economic Development & Tourism projected higher growth of visitor-related
indicators and more optimistic growth of most other economic indicators in 2012.

DBEDT expects positive economic growth in Hawaii for the rest of 2012 and expects to see continued positive growth in 2013.

"We remain cautiously optimistic with regard to the state’s immediate economic future," said DBEDT Director Richard C. Lim.  "Despite political uncertainties often inherent in election cycles and recent natural disasters, the visitor industry is projected to remain strong."

Lim also noted that construction jobs increased 1.4 percent during the third quarter of 2012 after 17 consecutive quarters of decline.  State Capital Improvement Project
spending increased 32.9 percent during the first nine months of the year, and the
private building permit value increased 39.1 percent during the same time period.

"The construction industry has turned a corner and we hope to see greater growth in that sector next year,” Lim said.

Following a higher-than-expected growth in visitor arrivals in the first three quarters of 2012, DBEDT projects that overall visitor arrivals will increase by 9.4 percent for 2012, 0.8 of a percentage point higher than its previous forecast.

Total visitor spending is now projected to increase 18.8 percent in 2012, 3.6 percentage points above the previous forecast.

Hawaii’s economy is affected by both the conditions in the U.S. economy and key
international economies. According to the Blue Chip Economic Consensus Forecast,
the U.S. economy is expected to grow at the 2.0 percent range in 2012 and 2013.

Labor market conditions continue to improve with unemployment projected to be 8.1 percent for 2012 and 7.8 percent for 2013.

Though the Japanese economy is slightly weaker than expected, the exchange rate is still in favorable to Japanese visitors at about 80 yen per dollar.

For the local economy, DBEDT increased the forecasted growth rates of most of the
economic indicators such as real personal income, GDP, and jobs compared with its forecast in August 2012.

The number of non-agricultural wage and salary jobs in Hawaii is expected to increase 1.5 percent in 2012, 0.3 of a percentage point higher than the growth rate of nonagricultural wage and salary jobs in Hawaii projected in the previous forecast.  Nonagricultural wage and salary jobs increased 1.3 percent during the first three quarters of 2012.  As with the national economy, job growth has lagged other economic indicators in Hawaii.

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