Saturday, April 17, 2010

Job Growth Yet Another Sign of Hawaii’s Recovery

The general excise tax surcharge collected since January 2007 to cover the “local share” of Honolulu rail’s costs is running at about 99.5 percent of initial projections, yet some continue to question the project’s financial viability.

That skepticism is a remnant of the worst days of the recession in the waning years of the past decade, but a week doesn’t go by now without encouraging news about the health of Hawaii’s economy.

The Honolulu Advertiser’s top story on the print edition’s front page today is headlined “More in Isles finding work.” The number of Hawaii residents with jobs grew in March for the second straight month after 20 straight months of declines.

Consumer Confidence Rebounds

Yesterday’s Star-Bulletin reported on First Hawaiian Bank’s assessment that consumer confidence is “clearly improving” as seen in car and store sales figures. CEO Don Horner said same-stores sales were up 5 percent in the first quarter from a year ago.

“We haven’t seen it get back to 2007 and 2008 levels, but it’s encouraging that we’ve found a bottom based on the confidence numbers,” he said.

As the positive indicators continue to accumulate, we can only expect Hawaii’s economic rebound to nudge the pessimistic assessments closer to the margins.

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