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The newest University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization (UHERO) report focuses on the impact of the federal tax cuts on Hawaiʻi’s economy.

UHERO reports that Hawaiʻi’s economy ended 2018 on a poorer footing than 2017. Across a number of dimensions, the year saw a flattening out or outright decline in activity. Tourism challenges were not limited to the aftermath of flood and fire, but also reflected weakening in some key markets and a falloff in spending. At home, population growth has been negative for the past two years, weighing on demand. Deceleration is now well established in the islands, posing significant downside risks to our forecast of continuing modest growth.

Report highlights

The U.S. and world slide lower
Since the UHERO fourth quarter report, external conditions facing Hawaiʻi have worsened measurably

And tourism turns
With some month-to-month fluctuations, the number of visitor arrivals to Hawaiʻi has been essentially flat since April, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The labor market cools a bit
After touching 2 percent in May, a record low, the unemployment rate edged up to 2.5 percent in December as employment receded a bit from midyear on.

Construction holds together
Construction employment stabilized last year, after edging downward in 2016–2017.

Not so steady on?
The fourth-quarter Annual Hawaiʻi Forecast looked ahead to a gradual moderation of the business cycle expansion. This report takes a more downbeat view of economic prospects.

For the full public summary go to the University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization website and for a detailed analysis, subscribe to UHERO’s Forecast Project.

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