HONOLULU - Growth for industries other than tourism continues to be subpar in the islands, University of Hawaii economists said in their latest forecast for the state.
Hawaii added a net 6,500 jobs since the beginning of the year, but almost half of these positions are in the accommodation and food service sector, the university's Economic Research Organization said in its report.
Real estate and finance have added jobs too, though not as many as the travel business.
Construction is one of the biggest laggards.
Economists have been expecting for a while that building would recover, but it has yet to decisively rebound. In the first eight months of the year, the number of construction jobs averaged 1 percent less than in the same period in 2011.
There are hints that this will change, however, notably that August construction jobs were more than 6 percent higher than the recent low hit in November 2011, the economists said.
Delays to the construction timeline for Honolulu's rail line - because of a court ruling and the discovery of human bone fragments along the route - prompted the economists to push back their forecast for rail work by one year.
Contractors have seen more private sector work, however, as homeowners renovate and install solar power panels on their roofs.
"We think prospects are very positive going forward, with pending improvements in private building activity poised to offset the adverse impact of delayed rail construction," the report said.
The economists said the biggest risk for Hawaii's economy lies in upcoming federal tax hikes and spending cuts due to kick in Jan. 1 that could trigger another recession if Congress doesn't come up with a solution.
The report called for a long-term plan to reduce deficits by gradually raising taxes and cutting spending in a way that doesn't tip the country back into a recession.