In recent days, there have been several more stories in The Maui News that indicate an economic recovery has begun. There have also been a couple of anecdotal observations that indicate the same thing.
Of course, the obvious story was the one that led Friday's paper under the banner "Hawaii recovery begun - economists." The story reported the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization has concluded the tide has changed and the recovery is under way.
UHERO had been predicting that an economic recovery would begin later this year, so this speed-up in the timetable is good news indeed. While it said that it was still predicting a contraction of the real gross domestic product figure, it slashed the amount from a negative 1.3 percent to a negative of only 0.2 percent.
In 2011, Hawaii's gross domestic product is predicted to grow by 0.5 percent. Not robust, perhaps, but positive nonetheless.
Another positive sign was the arrival of the first nonstop flight from Sacramento by Alaska Airlines. Maui lost this route with the demise of Aloha Airlines in March of 2008. Friday, Alaska debuted its new nonstop on a Boeing 737-800. The plane will accommodate 157 passengers and there were over 150 on the inaugural flight.
Alaska Air continues to show its confidence in Hawaii, adding flights in the last 18 months from the Pacific Northwest, Anchorage, the Bay Area and now Sacramento.
Seats to Maui continue to increase as Alaska is joined by new flights from Southern California by Continental and an announced nonstop from Chicago by United. Again, the airlines are voicing their belief in our recovery by committing seats.
The anecdotal evidence of a recovery revolves around trying to have dinner in South Maui Friday night without a reservation. Frankly, the area was bustling and there were waiting lines at the restaurants we visited for folks like us who didn't have the foresight to make a reservation.
The disappointment in having to wait for our meal soon gave way to the realization that business was good for our friends and neighbors Friday. That made for a very satisfying - if late - dinner.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.