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Report: Local economy still on track despite tourism slowdown

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 11:55 a.m. HST, May 14, 2014

Hawaii's economy is continuing its steady expansion, although the pace of growth is slightly slower than previously thought, according to a forecast released Wednesday by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

The main economic  indicators shaping the forecast for 2014 and beyond were mixed. The quarterly report showed a continued slowing in the tourism industry, with solid job growth and a declining unemployment rate.

Inflation-adjusted gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the state's economic output, is forecast to grow by 2.4 percent this year, up from 2.1 percent in 2013. However, the 2014 forecast was revised downward from the previous estimate of 2.6 percent issued by DBEDT in February.

Growth in the construction sector is helping offset some of the slowdown in tourism, DBEDT Director Richard Lim said.

The value of building permits increased 20.6 percent during the first quarter of 2014, helping boost job growth in the construction industry, he said.

"Our labor force and employment figures are reaching record highs while unemployment claims continue to decline," Lim said in a news release.

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