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Local economy continues to recover with positive performances in the first quarter of 2022


Despite several uncertainties for the future, Hawaiʻi’s economy continues to recover with positive performances in the first quarter of 2022.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism on Tuesday released its first quarter economic report.

According to the report, the state continues to recover from 2020 in several major indicators such as tourism, tax revenues and the labor market.

So far this year, visitor arrivals and spending are around 70% compared to the same time in 2019. Air seats are expected to increase in the coming months as international travel slowly returns.

State tax collection saw a 31% jump in January, with increases in general excise and individual income revenues.

However, Hawaiʻi continues to have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. That's partly due to a downward trend in labor force participation, indicating a tight labor market and worker shortage.

Overall, economists expect the unemployment rate to improve as economic growth returns with increases in visitor arrivals and spending.

However, DBEDT director Mike McCartney notes ongoing global supply chain disruptions, as well as increasing oil and energy prices caused by the war between Russia and Ukraine, may impact the state’s economy.

But he says he remains positive about being able to improve the economic prosperity of residents.

Casey Harlow was an HPR reporter and occasionally filled in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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