Strong 2014 predicted

Friday’s paper had an abundance of good news for Maui’s economy.

At the Thursday blessing and groundbreaking ceremony for the Pu’unene Shopping Center, it was revealed that the new Target store could employ as many as 300 when it opens in the first quarter of 2015.

The new Target will have company too. Three other large retailers, or anchors, will be joined by as many as 20 other smaller stores in the new shopping area. It is a strong vote of confidence in Maui.

Also in Friday’s paper came news that Maui’s visitor industry had another powerful year. Visitors spent 8 percent more here in 2013 than they did in 2012.

It was a $3.7 billion year for the hospitality business on Maui. Arrivals, daily spending and per person spending were all up over the previous year.

Nationally, Friday’s front page trumpeted “Solid growth brightens economic outlook for ’14.” The federal government reported that the U.S. economy grew at a solid 3.2 percent in the final quarter of 2013. That followed a 4.1 percent growth rate in the third quarter.

In the last three months of the year, consumer spending reached an annual rate of 3.3 percent growth – the strongest showing since 2010.

So, there are very good reasons to be optimistic about the economy for 2014 and beyond. A sound national economy should keep visitors traveling to Maui.

And the growth in our retail sector will provide jobs and shopping opportunities for our residents.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.