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Hawaii jobs expected to grow for first time in four years

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Hawaii’s job market is on pace to grow this year for the first time since 2007 and the visitor industry is expected to shrug off a drop in Japanese tourists, according to a state forecast released today.

Job creation, one of the last pieces of the economy to recover from the recent recession, is forecast to increase by 1.8 percent in 2011, the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism reported. That’s up from a 1.3 percent rise predicted by DBEDT in its last forecast three months ago. The number of jobs generated by the economy had fallen in 2008, 2008 and 2010.

DBEDT revised downward slightly the number of visitors it expects to travel to Hawaii this year because of the natural disasters in Japan, but it revised upward the total amount of visitor spending.

“We note that visitor arrivals from the rest of the world are still growing, especially visitors from Canada and that cruise visitor counts are growing at double digits during the first three months of the year,” said Richard Lim, DBEDT director.

“We are also pleased to see jobs are growing again in the areas outside of tourism, such as information, professional and business services, and educational services,” he said in a news release.

DBEDT is forecasting the number of non-agricultural payroll jobs to grow to 603,900 across the state this year, up from 593,200 last year. However, the 2011 forecast is still far below the 624,900 jobs in the economy in 2007 before employers began cutting back as a result of the economic downturn.

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