Recession not over for average person

Andy Trozzi
Andy Trozzi
Paige Yamamoto
Paige Yamamoto
Rick Sharpa
Rick Sharpa

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - On Wall Street, the recession may be over, but economists predict main street america will still feel fiscal pain the next few years.

Our economy may be out of the operating room, but it's still recuperating from the recession. Economists say for the average person that still means no relief anytime soon.

Indulging in four dollar Starbucks to five dollar "fro-yo's" gives no indication Hawaii's economy is on life-support. But don't be fooled. From mass layoffs to mergers and talk of furloughs, its no secret, Hawaii has been hit hard.

The decline in property prices have made it difficult for home owners to refinance or sell. Some are forced to downgrade to save.

"One person in the family lost their job and now you have to go with the times," said Kahala resident Andy Trozzi.

Hawaii has the 15th highest foreclosure rate. Nationally, it's gone up about 32% since last year as more americans lose their jobs.

"Tuition is $6,000, books are close to $1,000," said University of Hawaii student Paige Yamamoto.

College students are also struggling and fearful of facing the ailing economy upon graduation.

"A lot of seniors who graduated last year a lot of them haven't found a job," said Yamamoto.

Forecasters predict unemployment to hit double digits before the end of the year.

"There's typically a three to six month lag time, between when somebody loses a job and goes into foreclosure. We can expect to see foreclosure activity, unemployment-related, go well through 2010," said analyst Rick Sharpa.

Experts say the key to economic recovery is consumer spending and jobs. Things are starting to look up. A sold out 15,000 got "Fergilicious" with The Black Eyed Peas this past weekend, although some were furious they didn't get in. Hawaiian Airlines recently upped its workforce by a 100 and plans to hire another 170 more by next year.

While the worst of the economic downturn is over, forecasters predict Hawaii's economy won't be back to full strength until 2011. Nationally, it could take years before the 7 million jobs lost in this recession are recovered.