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DBEDT ups Hawaii economic forecast for 2013

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 11:43 a.m. HST, Feb 22, 2013

Hawaii’s economy will grow at a faster rate this year than previously expected, according to a state forecast released today that cited healthy gains in both the visitor industry and other sectors of the economy.

 Visitor arrivals and spending are expected to break records for the second consecutive year, according to the quarterly forecast from the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Non-tourism sectors, including real estate and construction, are also expected to expand.

Inflation-adjusted gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, is forecast to grow by 2.6 percent in 2013, up from 1.6 percent in 2012. The 2013 forecast was revised up from the previous estimate of 2.4 percent growth issued three months ago.

The DBEDT estimate for 2013 GDP was below the 3.5 percent growth rate forecast by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization last week.

Richard Lim, DBEDT director, said the department’s approach was “somewhat more conservative relative to other forecast models, taking into consideration several unknown variables down the road, like the impact of potential federal budget cuts.”

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