HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state’s economic fortunes ― which were already looking weak ― are now looking bleak, a team of University of Hawaii researchers have concluded.
In its latest forecast, released Friday, the Economic Research Organization at the University of Hawaii warns several economic factors mean the state is poised to barely tread water over the next few years.
And any major waves, they say, “could well pull us under.”
The title for the UHERO report reflects their unease: “Already weak, Hawaii’s prospects look increasingly dicey.”
Hawaii’s economy has been slowing over the last several years. And that slowing, UHERO reports, has not only gotten worsen but now includes most sectors of Hawaii’s economy.
“Two years of population decline have undercut demand in many sectors. Tourism, while still generating impressive visitor numbers, has seen spending slip, and many international markets have fallen back sharply,” the UH report said.
“Add to that the impending shock to Oahu from the crackdown on home vacation rentals, and prospects for further tourism growth look poor.”
One bright spot in the economy: Construction.
Economists said the construction industry in the islands has been an area of relative strength over the last few years, and continues to grow.
All in the all, the report concluded, the state is in a poor position to weather economic turbulence, including weakness in international markets and a tourism industry increasingly dependent on domestic arrivals at a time when some economists are predicting a US recession within the next year.
“If the economy were booming, these risks might be less of a concern. Unfortunately, population outflow and global weakness have already brought hiring to a halt,” the researchers said.
“That makes Hawaii’s prospects more dependent than ever on what happens next in the broader US economy.”