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Forecast: Tourism strong, growth modest

August 18, 2012
By OSKAR GARCIA , The Associated Press

HONOLULU - A state report says Hawaii's economy is expected to see only modest growth for the rest of 2012 and 2013, despite a strong tourism industry.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism released its third-quarter economic forecast Thursday. The report says that while nontourism sectors have not fully rebounded, there are signs of recovery.

Still, analysts decreased projected growth of most economic indicators such as personal income, gross domestic product and job growth, compared with the May forecast.

"We are pleased that visitor arrivals reached a historical high during the first half of 2012," said Richard Lim, the department's director. "While nontourism sectors have still not fully rebounded, they are showing positive signs of recovery."

Real gross domestic product for Hawaii is forecast to grow by 1.5 percent in 2012, seven-tenths of one percentage point below the forecast last quarter.

Job growth has lagged other economic indicators in Hawaii. The number of nonagricultural jobs is expected to increase 1.2 percent, three-tenths of one percentage point lower than previously projected.

The decreases came after translating national and international indicators to Hawaii's local economy, the report said.

The forecast said the consensus by the top 50 forecasting agencies is that the U.S. economy will grow 2.2 percent in 2012. That's down from the 2.3 percent growth projected in May.

Also, the agencies brought down the consensus consumer inflation rate to 2 percent, from 2.4 percent in the May forecast.

"Hawaii's economy depends significantly on conditions in the U.S. economy and key international economies, especially Japan," Lim said in the report.



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