State makes economic forecast more bullish - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

State makes economic forecast more bullish

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The official state forecast suggests Hawaii's economy is upshifting, even if only from first to second gear.

Economists for the state now think Hawaii will welcome 7 million visitors this year after all, and they see three more years of modest economic expansion beyond this one.

"We are happy to see that most of the economic indicators in our state showed positive growth during the third quarter of this year," said Ted Liu, director of DBEDT, the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.

Key differences between the new forecast and what was predicted for 2010 three months ago:

- Now: 8% more visitors than in 2009. Before: 5% more.

- Now: 15% more visitor spending. Before: 8% more.

- Now: Job decline of 0.4%. Before: 0.6%.

- Now: 2010 economic growth of 1.4%. Before: 1.2%.

Economic growth of 1.4% is less than the consensus forecast of 2.7% for the United States as a whole this year. But the Hawaii forecast is improved from three months ago while the national forecast is lower.

Net job shrinkage of 0.4% works out to one job in 250. New weekly jobless claims were down slightly in the newest weekly report Thursday, but total claims rose 1,000 to almost 17,000, though that was still much improved from a year ago. The only unemployment office in the state with declines in both new and total claims was Kona.

The new DBEDT forecast kept one prediction the same as before: 2.2% growth in the Honolulu consumer price index, the closest thing the state has for an indicator of inflation.

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