HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A University of Hawaii economic report says construction this year will join tourism in propelling the state economic recovery.
"At long last, tentative signs of life are emerging in construction, which will help drive growth in 2013," says the report issued Friday by UHERO, the UH Economic Research Organization.
In 2012, visitor arrivals grew 9 percent and their spending rose 18 percent, but the rest of the economy didn't keep up.
Now, however, UHERO says construction employment is almost 30,000 for the first time in three years. The report notes that there were almost 40,000 construction jobs in Hawaii in 2007.
Private building permits are up 42 percent, though more than half of them are for additions and alterations and the lion's share of those are solar panel installations.
"The pickup in permitting figures presages what we think will be a strong industry expansion building over the next several years," UHERO says.