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State growth forecast reduced

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s economy will likely grow faster than the national average, but not as quickly as previously predicted for 2013 and 2014, state economists said Friday.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism said in its second-quarter forecast that Hawaii’s real gross domestic product is projected to grow 2.4 percent in 2013 and 2.3 percent in 2014. Both projections are 0.2 percentage points lower than the department’s first-quarter forecast in February.

Economists said in the forecast they’re slightly less optimistic than before about job growth and tourism.

But Director Richard Lim says Hawaii is still poised for steady, positive growth.

“We continue to see strength in the overall economy — near previous estimates,” Lim said.

The consensus forecast for the United States projects 2.1 percent in economic growth in 2013.

Hawaii depends significantly on the national economy and international economies, including Japan, the state forecast said.

Economists say a reduction in capacity on flights from the U.S. mainland means visitor days will likely grow at 3.1 percent in 2013 rather than the 5.3 percent previously forecast.

Forecasts for arrivals in 2014 were unchanged.

The forecast now predicts a growth in visitor spending in 2013 of 5.6 percent, not 7.1 percent as previously predicted. The prediction for visitor spending growth next year was lowered 0.2 percentage points to 4.8 percent.

The report said that during the first quarter this year, unemployment went down and tourism went up, with overall economic conditions positive across the state.

Non-agricultural wage and salary jobs went up 1.4 percent in Honolulu, 3 percent in Hawaii County, 2.5 percent in Maui County and 0.2 percent in Kauai County during the first quarter this year compared with the first quarter one year ago. Visitor arrivals went up 7 percent in Honolulu, 5.3 percent in Hawaii County, 5 percent in Maui County and 6.8 percent in Kauai, the forecast said.


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