HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s economy is now projected to grow 2.7% instead of 2.1% as previously thought.
That’s according to a revised forecast released Monday by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
State economists looked at low jobless claims, more federal aid, the Safe Travels program and vaccinations as factors that stimulated the economy.
“Overall, it’s starting to pick up,” said Mike McCartney, DBEDT director.
“You see visitor arrivals starting to go. We have a good Safe Travels program, and I think our vaccination program has been pretty aggressive and we see progress there, so in the summer, things could turn around if we stay on course.”
But McCartney acknowledged it’s harder than usual to predict because so many unique variables are in play right now.
Other highlights of the report included:
- The retail industry appeared to do better than tourism-related industries, particularly with home-related spending as more people focused on home improvement.
- The state ended 2020 with a 9% unemployment rate in December, an improvement over the 10.4% unemployment rate in November. The rate is projected to be 8.2% in 2021.
- Hawaii is forecast to welcome 5.5 million visitors in 2021, a 102.9% increase from 2020. However, visitor arrivals aren’t expected to reach 2019 levels until 2025.
While Hawaii’s economy is forecast to improve in 2021, experts believe businesses will continue to face challenges as it will take a few years to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels.