By Sonia Isotov
The Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT) is projecting continued economic growth for the state in its latest economic forecast released in its Quarterly Statistical and Economic Report, 1st Quarter 2012.
While the department sees stronger growth in the visitor industry, the overall forecast remains consistent with the previous quarter.
“Moderate but steady growth is being reflected in most of our key economic indicators,” said DBEDT Director Richard C. Lim, in a written statement. “So, we feel that the state is still on the right course for continued recovery.”
Overall, DBEDT expects positive economic growth in Hawai’i for the rest of 2012 and 2013 as reflected in small adjustments to its forecast numbers.
The year 2012 started with a number of positive indicators such as: the increase of nearly 5% in the scheduled air seats to Hawai’i during the first 4 months of 2012; the decline of unemployment claims (with a 9.7% drop during the first 5 weeks of 2012); and an increase of 5.8% in the state’s general excise tax collections.
Offsetting the positives are uncertainties such as the possible recession in the Eurozone economies, a significant federal government budget cut, and uncertainties surrounding the Honolulu rail project.
In this quarterly forecast, DBEDT projects that overall visitor arrivals will increase by 4.4% for 2012, 1% higher than its previous forecast. Total visitor spending is now projected to increase 6.4% in 2012, 0.8% above the previous forecast.
DBEDT has kept the forecast of most of the economic indicators such as personal income, GDP, and consumer inflation unchanged compared to its forecast in November last year.
The number of wage and salary jobs in Hawai’i is now expected to increase 1.5% in 2012, slightly lower than the 1.6% increase previously projected.
For other major economic indicators, the current forecast is unchanged from the previous forecast. DBEDT expects the Honolulu Consumer Price Index (CPI), a proxy for inflation, to rise 2.8% in 2012 – the same as the previous forecast.
The forecast for 2012 real gross domestic product for Hawai’i is 1.8% growth, the same as the forecast last quarter.
The DBEDT Quarterly Statistical and Economic Report contains more than 100 tables of the most recent quarterly data on Hawaii’s economy as well as narrative explanations of the trends in these data. The full report is available at: http://www.hawaii.gov/dbedt/info/economic/data_reports/qser.