UHERO BRIEFS ARE CIRCULATED TO STIMULATE DISCUSSION AND CRITICAL COMMENT. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE INDIVIDUAL AUTHORS. WHILE BRIEFS BENEFIT FROM ACTIVE UHERO DISCUSSION, THEY HAVE NOT UNDERGONE FORMAL ACADEMIC PEER REVIEW.
By Steven Bond-Smith
Hawaiʻi’s economy is in trouble. Unemployment is typically low in Hawai‘i and it was close to an all-time low in March 2020 at just 2.1 per cent. But Covid-19 has ravaged the visitor industry. Business travel and tourism have dried up due to public health restrictions and the risk of contracting Covid while traveling in planes, enjoying tourist resorts, or having face-to-face conventions. In April 2020 unemployment was 21.9 per cent. In the 12 months to September 2020 employment in leisure and hospitality had declined 58.8 per cent. While all US states have recovered somewhat since the start of the pandemic, Hawaiʻi still has the highest unemployment rate of any state in the country at 10.2 per cent in January 2021.