There was a pause in Hawai’i tourism growth last year, held back by capacity constraints and relatively soft visitor demand. It will be several years before additions to the accommodation inventory permit a resumption of moderate growth in arrivals and expenditure. Together with the residential construction slowdown, the weak near-term visitor outlook means that two pillars of Hawai’i’s economic expansion have been sidelined, at least for now.
At the same time, there are no warning signs on the horizon of an outright end to Hawai’i’s economic expansion. Job and income growth will slow further, but not cease, and the unemployment rate will gradually ease upward from recent record-low levels. As home price appreciation continues to feed through to shelter costs, we will have to contend with higher-than-normal inflation for the next several years. (March 2, 2007)