Hard times require employers’ creativity
A survey has found that Hawaii businesses are pessimistic about the economy.
RECOGNIZING the role of tourism in Hawaii's economy, the state's businesses are more pessimistic about the near future than at any time during the past decade. They realize they must tighten their belts and find creative ways to stay alive as the economic hard times continue.
A semi-annual survey sponsored by the American Savings Bank-sponsored Business Banking Council last week reported that the general outlook fell to 81 points in this year's second quarter, down from a decade high of nearly 140 in 2005 and 104 in the first quarter. The point system is based on 403 random interviews conducted in June and July.
A performance index that measures changes in employment, gross revenue and profit before taxes had dipped to 107 from 120 a year ago. However, while 20 percent of the businesses surveyed reduced their workforce in the past year, 15 percent have actually increased their staff. However, 63 percent said they feel the economy will worsen in the next year.
This year's survey focused on the state's visitor industry, which has experienced a decline with the demise of Aloha and ATA airlines and the sharp rise in the price of jet fuel. State tourism liaison Marsha Wienert told other board members of the Hawaii Tourism Authority that the industry might be forced to broaden its focus on fewer, higher-spending visitors.
Gave Lee, the bank's executive vice president for commercial markets, said businesses "will be challenged to seek creative opportunities that will ultimately strengthen their position over the long term." Some hotels have begun to offer bargain rates, and that strategy might have to continue for the foreseeable future.
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