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Hawaii Economic Forecast Update:
Weak Growth Expected in New Year

Prospects are good for an early-2010 return to growth in Hawai'i. Recent data suggest we are past the trough of the visitor industry downturn, and gradual improvement will occur as the global recovery takes hold. The construction cycle is expected to bottom out late next year. After steep losses, most industries will begin to start adding jobs early in the new year. The pace of recovery will be modest, because of lingering weakness in the U.S. and Japan and the disastrous State budget picture.

forecast summary


Global Economic Forecast:
Asia Leads World Recovery

After a deep, synchronized recession, growth is resuming across a broad swath of the global economy. Leading the rebound are the dynamic Asian economies. These countries, which were hit hard by last year's collapse of world trade, have now seen a return to export-led growth, much of it originating from demand within the region. Growth has also returned to the U.S. and Japan, but the depth of the decline, lost household wealth, and lingering credit problems mean that full recovery will take a number of years.

forecast executive summary


Hawaii Economic Forecast Update:
Recovery Still Around the Corner

Things are looking up for the U.S. and global economies. Japan returned to growth in the second quarter, and it appears likely that the US will post positive growth for the current quarter. It is harder to find evidence of a turnaround in the Hawai'i economy, although we expect recovery to begin by early next year. A technical recovery will not mean a rapid return to economic health. Because of anticipated weak US and Japanese consumer spending and the drag from continuing State fiscal problems, the local economy will take a number of years to fully recover.

forecast summary


Hawaii Construction Forecast:
No Bottom Yet to Construction Downturn

The U.S. recession is easing, but prospects for a quick Hawai'i construction recovery remain poor. At the national level, expansion is just now getting underway. We expect U.S. output to grow by more than 2% during the current quarter, but job losses will continue into the first part of 2010. And, while overall credit conditions have improved, commercial lending is still being affected by the weak economic outlook and the hangover from past excesses. For Hawai'i, this means that commercial and resort development will continue to suffer for some time. The downturn in residential permitting has actually deepened, and we will not see any marked improvement until home prices bottom out in 2011.

forecast summary


Hawaii Economic Forecast:
State Budget Crisis Threatens Recovery

Two recent developments have caused us to mark down a bit our already weak outlook for the Hawai‘i economy. The H1N1 flu epidemic has worsened prospects for Japanese tourism, which will lead to somewhat larger visitor losses this year. But the bigger concern is fallout from the State fiscal crisis. Government actions to address the growing revenue shortfall will further depress jobs and especially income this year and next, with the risk that recovery could be further delayed.

Forecast Summary


County Economic Forecast:
Neighbor Islands Bear Brunt of Recession

Hawai‘i’s counties face the most challenging economic environment in many years. The severe U.S. and global recessions will last through much of 2009, and when recovery does begin it is likely to be anemic by historical standards. This means a long and deep downturn for the Hawai‘i visitor industry. Construction activity will continue to decline for the next several years, acting as a further drag on the economy. The downturns in tourism and construction are most severe on the Neighbor Islands, and so these counties will suffer a more severe recession than O‘ahu. Government stimulus will help to support growth, but it will not be sufficient to avoid a long and painful contraction. The spread of the A/H1N1 virus poses a risk that is impossible to quantify at this time.

Forecast summary


Hawaii Economic Forecast:
After Sharp Drop, Recovery Will Take Time

The next several years will be difficult ones for Hawai‘i businesses and households. The visitor industry will languish, as the deepest global recession in decades continues to undermine travel demand. Local construction activity will weaken further, because of the unwinding residential cycle, a poor business outlook and persistent problems in national credit markets. Like their counterparts on the mainland, Hawai‘i residents have become more cautious in their spending, which is contributing to local economic weakness. Deteriorating labor market conditions over the next two years will prevent a quick rebound of their purchasing power and confidence. Add in a looming state government fiscal crisis, and the result will be a long and deep Hawai‘i recession.

forecast Summary


Hawaii Construction Forecast Update:
Global Downturn Hammers Construction

The global credit crisis and deepening recession have materially worsened prospects for the Hawai‘i construction industry. Commercial and resort building are in retreat, hampered by a bleak national outlook and financing constraints. The residential construction downturn will continue as income and wealth losses undermine housing demand. We now expect a deeper ajustment in the local real estate market, although somewhat milder than past Hawai‘i experience and much less severe than the steep contractions in some mainland regions. Government spending initiatives may provide substantial support for the industry in the medium term, but they will provide very little stimulus over the next two years.

forecast Summary


Hawaii Economic Forecast Update:
No Quick Recovery from Hawai‘i Recession

The global financial crisis and widening global downturn have materially worsened prospects for the Hawai‘i economy. Economic conditions are now poor in virtually every visitor market, and as a result we expect the current sharp tourism downturn to continue well into next year, with no significant recovery until 2010. Moderate contraction of the construction industry and the developing state fiscal crunch will also weigh on the local economy. The Hawai‘i economy is now in recession, and as the downturn continues into 2009 we will see larger job and income losses than we have experienced to date.

forecast Summary


Global Economic Forecast:
Crisis Contagion Spreads Global Recession

The unfolding financial crisis will cause the deepest slowdown of global growth in many years. In 2009, the rich world will be in recession, and developing economies will suffer a sharp reduction in growth rates. The anticipated depth and duration of recession in the U.S. and Japan will present additional challenges for Hawai‘i’s ailing visitor industry and the overall local economy.

forecasT Summary


Hawaii Economic Forecast Update:
A Hard Fall for Hawai‘i Tourism

The U.S. downturn and record-high oil prices have taken a big bite out of the Hawai‘i tourism industry. Visitor arrivals will tumble 9% this year, the biggest annual decline since 2001. Because of deteriorating conditions for the U.S., Japanese and global economies, we now believe that a visitor industry recovery will not begin until 2010. While economic statistics for the aggregate economy this year are coming in a bit better than expected, this will not last. With the steep tourism downturn, ongoing slowing in construction, and a developing state fiscal crunch, the Hawai‘i economy is in for a weak 2009.

Forecast Summary


Hawaii Construction Forecast:
Construction Downturn Milder than Mainland

Hawai‘i’s construction sector is now on the downward side of the cycle, but slowing continues to be considerably more moderate than in many U.S. mainland markets. The current business cycle slowdown, increased land and construction costs (mostly due to a surge in commodity prices), together with tighter credit conditions present challenges for new construction in the islands. Local non-residential construction and military housing renovation projects are helping to moderate the cyclical downturn.

ForecasT Summary


Hawaii Economic Forecast Update:
Oil Surge Fuels Inflation, Threatens Deeper Downturn

Prospects for the Hawai‘i economy have worsened significantly since our March Annual Hawai‘i Forecast. The failures of ATA and Aloha airlines, the loss of a second NCL cruise ship, and the dramatic surge in oil prices will damage a local economy that was already feeling the effects of the national downturn. We now expect small net declines in both real income and jobs this year, and higher 5% inflation. A significant recovery of the local economy will not begin until 2010, making this a relatively shallow but lengthy Hawai‘i economic contraction. A deeper slowdown could occur if oil prices remain at their current record levels or if the national housing slump worsens more than expected.

forecast Summary


County Economic Forecast:
Zero Growth Expected Statewide

To varying degrees, each of the four counties has shared in the state’s broad pattern of slowing over the past several years, a process that becamemore pronounced in 2007. This synchronized slowing is nomistake, reflecting broad statewide—and even global—slowing trends in construction, visitor spending and overall economic activity. There are similarly common adverse developments that will influence the county economies over the next several years. These include the failures of Aloha Airlines and ATA, the loss of two NCL cruise ships, a weak external environment for tourism, and the turning of the statewide construction cycle. This year, job and real income growth will fall in a fairly tight range around 0% in each of the four county economies. Our expectation is that it will be several years before the islands return to a moderate pace of economic expansion.

forecast Summary


Annual Hawaii Economic Forecast:
Economy Grinds to a Halt

The Hawai‘i economy that powered its way through much of this decade slowed to a standstill in 2007. The drag from a weakening visitor industry and an unwinding construction cycle spread to the broader economy. A U.S. recession is now underway. The mainland slump, national credit market problems, and soft local fundamentals mean there will be little growth in Hawai‘i for the next two years. Some sectors will see net job losses. Moderate growth is not expected to resume until 2010.

forecast summary


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