Expert: Economic impact of pandemic to Hawaii could exceed Great Recession

Expert: Economic impact of pandemic to Hawaii could exceed Great Recession
Ka Makana Alii was deserted Wednesday as the state's stay-at-home order takes effect. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - University of Hawaii economist Carl Bonham says it could take months for the full financial toll of the coronavirus pandemic to come into focus.

And he expects layoffs to continue to mount.

“The number of job losses that we’re talking about in March, April, May is in the 100,000 range, including hotel workers," Bonham said.

[Read more: Toll of shutdown takes shape: Nearly 20,000 unemployment claims filed in a single day]

He said about 120,000 people in Hawaii work in hospitality and tourism.

Bonham said that Hawaii should also prepare for a recession as the economic fallout of the pandemic continues to reverberate across a number of sectors.

“This is worse than the Great Recession,” he said. “The best we can hope for is a rapid recovery when we begin to see travel and when we no longer have to shelter in place.”

He added that government aid could slow the scale of the disruption to businesses, but he said bankruptcies are almost a certainty.

This story will be updated.

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