More growth expected
ANOTHER dose of strong economic forecasts is revealed in the new quarterly state figures on jobs, income and tourism, and the state's top economist sees years of island prosperity ahead.
"We remain optimistic that Hawaii's current economic performance can be sustained throughout the next few years," said Ted Liu, director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.
With state unemployment at a national low of 2.9 percent at the end of the last quarter, 26,150 more people were employed in the state than in the same quarter a year earlier -- the biggest year-to-year increase in 15 years.
The biggest increases in jobs came in professional and business services with 3,050 and in construction, with 2,900.
The Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism's last quarterly report of the year includes 100 pages of mostly upbeat statistics and forecasts.
It predicts a 3.5 percent growth in personal income for Hawaii residents for the year, with total wage and salary jobs expected to grow by 2.7 percent.
The tourism industry is expected to show big gains, with 7.4 million visitors this year, up 6.5 percent from 2004. Visitor spending is predicted to reach $11.6 million in 2005, up 6.5 percent from last year.
While the pace of growth is expected to slow down, projections put personal income growth at 2.8 percent next year, 2.6 percent in 2007 and 2.5 percent in 2008.
Total job growth is expected to level off at between 1.5 percent and 1.2 percent per year after this year.
Bankruptcy filings went up 16 percent in the second quarter of 2005 compared to the same quarter in 2004. The 967 bankruptcies filed for the quarter, however, were far below the peak pace of 1998 when 5,813 bankruptcies were filed for the year across the state. Filings had been on a steady decline since 2001, with 3,112 filed last year.
The state report said a stiffening in the bankruptcy law was likely to blame for most of the increase. A law that took effect last month sets new limits on Chapter 7 filings.