Strong growth through rest of 2006 predicted for Hawaii's key industries
Hawaii's economy showed no signs of slowing down in April, as employment remained strong and key industries project robust performance through the rest of the year, state officials reported.
Statewide unemployment hovered at 2.8 percent last month, slightly higher than the 2.6 percent reported in March but well below the national rate of 4.7 percent in April, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations reported.
The unemployment rate has remained near historic lows since January 2005, even as the state's labor force has grown, suggesting that the vibrant economy has encouraged people to migrate to the state or return to the job market after sitting on the sidelines. Employment data count only people who are working or looking for work, and not those who are unemployed and not looking for jobs.
In April, there were 627,550 people employed statewide and 18,050 unemployed, for a seasonally adjusted labor force of 645,600, an increase of more than 15,000 people since April 2005.
Such numbers give public officials confidence about the rest of the year.
"Our analysis indicates that the state economy under Gov. Linda Lingle will continue to be positive for business development and capital investment," said Ted Liu, director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism. "We believe Hawaii can offer the kind of business environment that will sustain strong economic growth."
DBEDT expects the state will host 7.6 million visitors this year, up 2.8 percent from a record year in 2005. Visitor spending is expected to reach $12.4 billion in 2006, up 4.7 percent from 2005.