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Construction seen leading Hawaii’s economic growth in 2015

    A beachfront home that is under construction in Kahala.

The rebound in Hawaii’s construction sector, which only partially materialized this year, is expected to accelerate in 2015 and make up for some of the slack in the state’s sluggish tourism industry, economist  Jack Suyderhoud told business leaders Wednesday morning at the First Hawaiian Bank Business Outlook Forum at the Blaisdell Concert Hall.

 Completed construction activity is forecast to end this year up 9 percent and  rise an additional 12 percent next year based on construction permit data and the continued pent-up demand for housing, according to Suyderhoud, economic adviser to First Hawaiian Bank and professor of business economics at the University of Hawaii Shidler College of Business.

Suyderhoud sees visitor arrivals this year rising just 1 percent, a record high for the third year in a row but substantially lower than the 3 percent he forecast a year ago for 2014. For 2015, Suyderhoud  is forecasting visitor arrivals to increase at a slightly higher clip of 2 percent.

He sees visitor spending rising just 2.2 percent this year — lower than his previous forecast of 5.3 percent — but rising 2.9 percent in 2015.

"Tourism will contribute to growth, but construction will finally fulfill its anticipated role as the leading growth engine in 2015," Suyderhoud said.

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