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Business Briefs

For Thursday, February 24, 2011

By Star-Advertiser staff

POSTED:


'Hawaii Five-0' wins ratings battle

Maybe it was the guest appearance of comedian Dane Cook or maybe it was all those explosions, but Monday's episode of "Hawaii Five-0" chalked up another successful ratings victory, according to Nielsen numbers released yesterday by CBS. "Five-0" drew 10.45 million viewers, which was up slightly from last week and well ahead of the 8.99 million viewers drawn by ABC's "Castle" and the 8.75 million viewers drawn by NBC's "Harry's Law."

Among adults 18-49, a key target audience for "Five-0," the show drew 2.8 percent of the total TV viewing audience and 8 percent of those who were watching TV at the time. The show drew the same percentages last week.

Honolulu's GDP down 1.3% in 2009

Honolulu's economy contracted by 1.3 percent in 2009, according to a report released yesterday.

Honolulu's inflation-adjusted gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity for the city, totaled $44.7 billion in 2009, down from $45.3 billion the year before, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported. The average decline for the nation's 366 metro areas was 2.4 percent.

The Honolulu decline compared with a statewide GDP drop of 1.5 percent in 2009. Honolulu accounts for 75 percent of the state's economic activity.

The biggest factor in Honolulu's decline was the transportation and utilities sector, which accounted for 0.72 percentage point of the change. Construction activity accounted for 0.70 percentage point. The declines were partly offset by increases in government, nondurable goods manufacturing and trade, according to the BEA.

$100,000 goes to local agriculture

The state Office of Planning has been awarded a $100,000 federal grant that will benefit local agriculture.

The Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Commerce Department announced the award yesterday, saying it will allow the state to assess agricultural irrigation systems, design a food market distribution program and develop a local food production strategy. More broadly, the results of the work funded by the grant are expected to save or create jobs, lead to lower-priced food items and help the state become more self-sufficient in its food supply, according to the Economic Development Administration.

"The plan that the State of Hawaii will develop with this EDA grant will improve the condition of the agricultural sector and streamline the food distribution system to strengthen the cluster's productivity and its ability to create jobs," John Fernandez, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, said in a statement.

Investors snap up cheap homes

WASHINGTON » Home sales are starting to tick up after the worst year in more than a decade. But the momentum is coming from cash-rich investors who are scooping up foreclosed properties at bargain prices, not first-time homebuyers who are critical for a housing recovery.

The number of first-time buyers fell last month to the lowest percentage in nearly two years, while all-cash deals have doubled and now account for one-third of sales.

A record number of foreclosures have forced home prices down in most markets. The median sales price for a home fell last month to its lowest level in nearly nine years, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Lower prices would normally be good for first-time homebuyers. But tighter lending standards have kept many from taking advantage of them. With fewer new buyers shopping, potential repeat buyers are hesitant to put their homes on the market and upgrade.

ON THE MOVE

Bank of Hawaii has promoted Peter M. Biggs to vice chairman and chief retail banking officer from senior executive vice president of retail banking. His experience includes senior marketing and retail banking positions at Financial Institutions Inc. and M&T Bank in New York, and Saudi Cairo Bank in Saudi Arabia.

The Joint Commission has awarded Hilo Medical Center with the gold seal of approval for national accreditation. The accreditation recognizes the center's compliance with national standards of care specific to patients' needs, including infection prevention and control, facility safety, leadership and medication management. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 18,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States and provides certification of more than 1,700 disease specific care programs, primary stroke centers and health care staffing services.

Karen Street has rejoined First Insurance Co. of Hawaii as vice president of organizational development. She has 30 years of organizational development experience and was previously an executive vice president of human resources for Central Pacific Bank.






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