Maui News

Hawai‘i’s Economy Projected to Grow 2.7 Percent This Year

March 2, 2021, 7:46 AM HST
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Kahului Airport. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Hawai‘i’s economy is projected to grow 2.7 percent this year, according to a first quarter 2021 Statistical and Economic Report released on Monday by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

The department is forecasting a projected 2.7 percent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP). This is higher than the 2.1 percent GDP growth projected in December 2020. 

While final estimates of economic growth have not been released yet, DBEDT estimates that Hawai‘i’s real GDP fell by approximately 7.5 percent in 2020, a smaller decline than the 11.7 percent contraction forecast in the previous quarter. 

Highlights:

  • Public, private, non-profit entities and individuals in Hawai‘i were allocated more than $10.6 billion in federal funds in 2020.
  • The second federal economic stimulus package of $900 billion provided qualified individuals with a $600 stimulus check, extended the supplemental $300 weekly unemployment benefit, and allocated additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program. Furthermore, legislation is being considered for a third stimulus package of $1.9 trillion, that includes an additional $1,400 stimulus checks for qualified people. Hawai‘i is expected to receive more than $7 billion federal funds in 2021.
  • The Safe Travels Program brought in 496,186 visitors in the fourth quarter of 2020, representing a recovery of about 20 percent from the same period in 2019. By comparison, visitor arrivals between April and September 2020 were only 1.8 percent of the same period a year earlier.
  • As of Feb. 28, 2021, 17.5 percent of Hawai‘i’s population had been vaccinated at least with one shot, higher than the US average at 15 percent.

DBEDT Director Mike McCartney said, “It has been one year since the onset of COVID-19 and it’s been a tough and challenging time for all of us. I can see positive and encouraging signs ahead for Hawai‘i’s economic prosperity with Hawai‘i’s Safe Travels program fully in place and the aggressive rollout of our statewide vaccination program, coupled with the fact that we have the lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in the country. Given all these signs, I am now more optimistic about Hawai‘i’s social, environmental, and economic prosperity in the future.”

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The full report is available here.

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