Again, Hawaii ranks low for business


POSTED: Monday, March 23, 2009

WHETHER the nation's economy is surging or sinking, Hawaii continues to rank near the bottom as a place to do business. An opinion survey of chief executive officers this month gave Hawaii 41st place among states for jobs and business growth, and that was before Superferry sailed off into the sunset.

It would have been worse if it weren't for the islands' eighth-place ranking for living environment and 13th for the relatively prosperous economy. The survey of 543 of the nation's CEOs by Chief Executive magazine put the quality of Hawaii's workforce dead last, probably because of business owners' frowning at states with what the magazine calls “;a strongly unionized workforce.”;

The state is listed next to last for the cost of doing business, transportation and business friendliness, 43rd for access to capital and technology/innovation, and 34th for the quality of education.

That, of course, is merely opinion. Other rankings in recent years have been based on gloomy facts—taxes, electricity rates, rental prices and such.

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council's yearly survival index consistently places Hawaii in its bottom 10. In recent years, the forecasting firm Economy.com has ranked Hawaii third highest in business costs, and the Los Angeles-based Milken Institute, a centrist think tank, has concluded that Hawaii is the most expensive state to do business—43 percent above the national average and 13 percent above second-costliest New York.