Big Island Sees Economic Gains in 2nd Qtr 2012
According to the 2012 third quarter economic report released today by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, overall economic conditions across the state were mostly positive in the second quarter of 2012 with tourism experiencing strong growth.
Like the rest of the state, the Big Island saw economic gains in the second quarter of 2012 with deceased unemployment and an increase in visitor arrivals and spending.
Compared to the same quarter last year, the unemployment rate on the Big Island decreased 1.1 percent, from 10.3 percent to 9.2 percent.
Hawaii County gained 1,200 non-agricultural wage and salary jobs or 2 percent from the second quarter of 2011. Job increases in Accommodation (400 jobs) and Food Services and Drinking Places (300 jobs) exceeded job losses in Professional and Business Services (lost 300 jobs) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (lost 150 jobs). In this quarter, Transportation, Warehousing, and Utility, Wholesale Trade, Educational Services, and Manufacturing each added 150 jobs. In the second quarter of 2012, Government lost 50 jobs.
Visitor spending, total visitor arrivals by air and visitor days increased in all counties in the second quarter of 2012, including Hawaii County. For instance, on the Big Island, visitor arrivals by air increased 8 percent and visitor days increased 6.6 percent compared to the same quarter last year. Hotel occupancy rates in Hawaii County also increased 6 percent in the second quarter 2012 to 58.2 percent.
Officials expect continued positive economic growth in Hawaii for the rest of 2012 and in 2013, particularly among visitor-related indicators.
“We’re pleased that visitor arrivals reached a historical high during the first half of 2012,” said the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism director, Richard C. Lim, whose agency released the report.
“While non-tourism sectors have still not fully rebounded, they are showing positive signs of recovery. That’s why we are focused on policy tools and state support in areas such as construction, renewable energy and light manufacturing.
Following a higher-than-expected growth in visitor arrivals in the first half of 2012, DBEDT projects that overall visitor arrivals will increase 8.6 percent for 2012, 2.1 percentage points higher than its previous forecast.
Similarly, total visitor spending is now projected to increase 15.2 percent in 2012, 6.2 percentage points above the previous forecast.
The forecast for 2013 remains mostly unchanged for non-visitor related indicators from the previous forecast, with 2.3 percent real GDP growth and 2.1 percent real personal income growth. Job growth is expected to increase to 1.8 percent.
The forecast for 2013 visitor arrivals increased from 2.2 percent in the previous forecast to 3.5 percent, and visitor spending is projected to grow at 5.6 percent in the current forecast – 2.1 percentage points above the previous forecast.