Economic Light? - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News, Weather and Sports

November 29, 2010

Economic Light?

The latest prognostications indicate that the Hawaii economy is improving at a faster clip than was previously believed. While many predictors and chart readers are in the "cautiously optimistic" camp, it is vital to note, once again, how fragile this good news is, as tourism is the driving force behind the renewed forecasts, along with some enhanced federal spending.

We hear the underwhelming news about mainland businesses, with still-existing concerns about job growth, housing issues, trade imbalances, and banking lethargy, and it's all compounded by predictions of stalemate in Washington D.C. with the impending legislative divide. We also know that the private sector has not leapt back into hiring mode, many businesses are not seeing the desired consumer demand for their products or services, and the construction market here is still hurting, but the better-than-expected tourism numbers are certainly a spark that helps. Of course, protesters marching through local hotel lobbies and out onto our pristine beaches is not quite the picture of Hawaii that we really need projected in the news, so let's hope those employment issues get resolved quickly.

If tourism continues its improving growth curve into 2011 and 2012, the ripple effect will undoubtedly help in many other areas locally, as it always does. Consumer confidence is also a key factor. So while "slow, but steady" seems to be the mantra for our rebounding economic engine in Hawaii, no one will complain if that engine moves up into second gear during this recovery period. Think about it…

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