Business Report: Consumer spending on an island other than Oahu

Consumer spending on an island other than Oahu

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For many years, our only decent measure of inflation has been the Honolulu consumer price index. We've been left guessing, or relying on anecdotal information, when we want to know how things differ on different islands.

The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism has lately been addressing that by surveying hundreds of people on Maui to try to measure differences. The good news is that the Honolulu CPI actually came pretty close to measuring Maui. This study found average Maui household spending in 2014 was greater than Oahu. But the difference was less than $3,000 over a full year.

Still, the differences in some key areas are interesting – the average Maui household spent less on education and housing, but more on food and transportation. Oahuans collectively spend a third more on education and I wonder if that's skewed by households sending kids to Punahou and Iolani. Close scrutiny of the numbers suggests a household can reduce spending by more than the rate of inflation by cutting off expenditures on alcohol and tobacco.

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