Friday, November 19, 2010

Hawaii’s Economic Outlook Is Sunny

Economic Optimism Grows

A state forecast puts the recovery at a faster pace than expected, thanks to strong visitor numbers

The state forecasts a speedier recovery, thanks to strong visitor numbers

The four headlines above trumpet the Star-Advertiser’s top business story today and were a little repetitious (“thanks to strong visitor numbers”), but if the news is this positive, it can’t hurt to shout it out more than once.

Even the visitor-number rebound is starting to sound repetitious, inasmuch as it’s been happening for months.

You have to believe the improving economic climate will be reflected in the current governor’s $300,000 study on Honolulu rail’s financing plan. She has refused to sign off on the Final Environmental Impact Statement until her Maryland-based consultant assesses Honolulu’s ability to pay for the system.

Since rail is planned to operate for the remainder of this century and beyond, the consultants undoubtedly brought a crystal ball with them.

The one dark note in today’s story concerns the construction industry, which is still lagging the tourism sector.

“Hawaii construction jobs, which peaked at 40,000 workers a month in 2007, continue to hover around 28,500 per month today, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,” the Star-Advertiser reports.

Anti-railers are fond of saying Honolulu rail is a “jobs project." It’s not; rail is a mobility-restoring, traffic-avoiding reliable-transportation project, but it will create tens of thousands of jobs during this decade.

That's exactly what Hawaii's economy needs now. Surely our Maryland visitors will notice.

No comments: