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Hawaii Starting To Feel Coronavirus Economic Slowdown

Casey Harlow / HPR

Hawaii is feeling the effects of the global response to the spread of coronavirus. 

Even before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic this week, and President Donald Trump announced major steps to stem the spread of the virus, Hawaii was already feeling the effects of a global economic slowdown.

And it’s not all in tourism.

In this week’s shipping and transportation report, PBN found that Matson was projecting losses as high as $15 million for 2020, mainly in the first quarter and throughout its Pacific operations. This is a follow-on effect of China manufacturing fewer goods as it put entire cities on lockdown, and the delays as supply chains shifted production to other countries.

University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization further revised its economic projections as global travel is curtailed. UHERO had reported that it expected tourism spending to decline by 10%, costing up to 6,000 jobs. Now it anticipates steeper declines.

This will impact businesses large and small.

Economic relief efforts are underway. The Small Business Administration has $2 million available in loans in Hawaii for small business and non-profits that have sustained losses due to corona virus concerns. According Jane Sawyer, district director of the SBA’s Hawaii District Office, these loans are meant to help small businesses survive a cash flow crunch, with more details on the program to come within the month.

A. Kam Napier is the editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News.
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