Bank of Hawai’i predicts more economic growth

The strength of the state’s economy is even surprising the most confident bank

economists. And, according to at least one of them, there is no end of the boom

in sight.

“We’re seeing stronger numbers than expected across all economic

indicators,” said Paul Brewbaker, Bank of Hawai’i chief economist and author of

the bank’s “1999 Hawai’i Annual Economic Report” released earlier this


On the rise faster than earlier predicted are gross state product

(value of all products sold in the state) and personal income, both forecast to

rise between 3 percent and 3.5 percent; job growth, growth in total visitors

(by 3.5 percent to an all-time high this year); and construction growth of 10

percent this year and higher double-digit growth rates in the near future, the

report states.

“Since 1998, we’ve had to consistently adjust our consensus

forecasts for growth upward,” Brewbaker said. “I would expect further upward

revisions to our forecast as well as the consensus forecast.”

The bank’s

business confidence survey reveals business owners feel more optimistic about

future business prospects, their industries and the state economy than they

have in a decade.

A full 51 percent of those responding to a survey feel

the state economy will grow, with over 38 percent feeling it will stay the

same. Just 10.7 percent feel the prospects for the state economy are somewhat

or much lower than current levels.

Brewbaker also predicts, as he did

earlier this year at a meeting on Kaua’i, that the state unemployment rate will

fall below the national figure, which is around 4 percent.

The state and

national figures nearly mirrored each other in July, when Kaua’i’s rate was 6.5



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