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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Economic index says state still improving

Advertiser Staff

Hawai'i's official economic index rose for the eighth consecutive month, buoyed by a drop in first-time unemployment claims by Hawai'i residents and the value of new construction permits.

The rise in the state's monthly Index of Leading Economic Indicators suggests continued economic improvement over the next several months, the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism said yesterday.

"The consistent performance of the index suggests that Hawai'i's gradual economic recovery should remain on track at least through the first quarter of next year," said the state's chief economist, Pearl Imada Iboshi.

"However, the lack of vigorous economic growth in the U.S. and Japan, coupled with international security issues, introduce some caution into the outlook."

The indicator, a composite of 10 local, national and international economic measures, is designed to predict conditions in the state for the following five to 10 months.

Eight indicators were positive in September. The most positive contributions came from first-time unemployment claims by residents and the value of new construction permits.

Two indicators that had a negative impact were a slight deterioration in the interest rate environment and a decline in average work hours — the only indicator to have remained consistently negative since October 2001.