Hawaii’s Economic Outlook Remains Positive

There’s been a new update to the state’s economic outlook from UHERO. That’s the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization. Overall, it sees positive signs. Moderate Job growth and income growth should continue through the year. Tourism numbers should remain high, thanks to favorable global and national conditions.

Two unknowns could have an impact, both out of Washington, D.C. — tax reform and healthcare policies. Until these are firmed up by Congress and President Trump, it’s impossible to gauge their impact, locally.

The report identifies two local trends for which there is plenty of data and both are flattening. One is construction jobs, the other, personal income.

Construction had been adding jobs year-over-year, and that has plateaued as big projects have been completed. Says UHERO executive director, Carl Bonham, “Statewide construction employment will remain near 38,000 workers through 2018, before easing lower as the current cycle begins to wind down.”

Personal income in Hawaii had been growing through seven years of economic expansion since the 2007 recession. Now we’re at a new normal and personal income is expected to rise by just 1.6 percent this year then grow even more slowly. Personal income is expected to grow by only 1.3 percent per year in 2019.

This article first appeared on Hawaii Public Radio, May 5, 2017.


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