UHERO Forecast for the State of Hawaiʻi: Wildfires deliver heavy blow to Maui economy

23Q3 Forecast

The tragic Maui wildfires have inflicted deep pain and loss on the affected communities, and sorrow among all of Hawaii’s residents. There are also economic costs for the county and the state as a whole, many of which will last well into the future. In our first forecast since the fires, we assess the implications of the fires’ aftermath for the path of the Maui economy over the next several years, and what that will mean for the state economy.

UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham provides a summary of the 2023 third quarter forecast report in this episode of “UHERO Focus”

3 thoughts on “UHERO Forecast for the State of Hawaiʻi: Wildfires deliver heavy blow to Maui economy”

    1. Cathryn, these are of course very important concerns. I know that local lenders (and perhaps national ones as well) are trying to work with those directly affected by the fire, but I presume that this will not extend to those adversely affected by layoffs or reduced hours due indirectly to the fires. Like other economic downturns, there is certainly pain for affected families that cannot be fully made up from unemployment and other benefits. We can hope that visitor industry recovery moves forward as rapidly as feasible to minimize these impacts. Of course it is always wise to check with your lender about any accommodations they may be able to make. It can’t hurt.

  1. A careful reader has noted that in our box, “Funds Flowing in to Support Maui Families and Recovery,” we may be overstating how rapidly some assistance is occurring. In particular, funds to support businesses are taking longer to be dispersed than many would like. The $25 million grant program for businesses that we mention has apparently not yet been fully funded, nor begun to disperse funds to businesses who suffered losses. In addition, the reader noted that there is a bottleneck with Small Business Administration funding because owners need to have visited the site, which of course has begun only recently. In some cases this has resulted in applications being rejected and requiring new submissions once a visit is possible. While the federal, state, and nonprofits are providing substantial direct assistance to affected families, certainly these delays in business support will be maddening to business owners. We appreciate the information we are getting from folks on the ground on Maui.

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