Hawaii businesses
remain confident

Island businesses continued to have strong confidence in Hawaii's economy, according to a Bank of Hawaii survey conducted before the state's gas cap went into effect and before Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.

"Despite an oil price of $65 per barrel at the time of the survey in August 2005 (as well as this week), majorities of business respondents expected higher performance for the Hawaii economy, their industries and their sales," Paul Brewbaker, the bank's chief economist, said yesterday.

The Bank of Hawaii Business Confidence Survey found 56.2 percent of respondents expected somewhat or much higher performance for the state's economy during the next 12 months. In contrast, only 7.4 percent expected lower performance for the economy.

The poll also found 47.9 percent of those surveyed expected their companies to post increased profits over the next year.

One-third of respondents expected higher capital spending, while one-quarter expected higher employment in the next year.

Brewbaker noted that over the past 12 months, Hawaii's regional economic performance ranked among the top performing states nationwide.

Employment growth in Hawaii has exceeded the national average and, at 2.9 percent, is higher than in any year since 2000, when it was 3.1 percent, he said.

The mailed survey received 316 responses from firms randomly sampled from an independent business database. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5.5 percentage points.

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