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Annual General Membership Meeting & Elections

Featuring guest speaker, Paul Brewbaker, PhD, Economist

When: THURSDAY, November 21
11:00 am to 1:00 pm
Where: CTC Pacific
94-487 Akoki Street
Waipahu, HI  96797
United States
Contact: Clarice Watanabe
808 629-7503

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"Tourism, housing and the 20-teens Hawaii economic outlook” 

Featuring Guest Speaker: Paul Brewbaker, PhD, Economist

NEW Date: THURSDAY, November 21, 2013



BIA Members: $35 | Non-Members: $45

*Register by Monday, November 18 for $10 discount off registration!


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The first half of Hawaii’s current expansion, out of 2009, was tourism (export)-led. Transient accommodation capacity has dwindled. Real room rates have raised destination costs to their limit. Airline capacity (scheduled seats) has maxed out. For now, tourism export growth is pau. That leaves government expenditure and investment expenditure, assuming consumption keeps on truckin.’ At 4% unemployment on Oahu or less, and 5% unemployment on the Neighbor Islands, private consumption is growing, but government is exerting fiscal drag. State and local government retrenched and now the federal government is. A large share of federal military activity in Hawaii GDP makes the islands more vulnerable than average to federal sequestration, aggravated by the federal shutdown. Accommodative, low interest rate, monetary policy has helped, but neither tourism nor government will contribute materially to Hawaii economic growth for the remainder of this expansion, even with The Train.


So, it’s all on private investment (capital formation), residential and—where feasible—nonresidential construction. Timeshare, hotel, high-rise office construction are unlikely to grow much; industrial space is dependent on the construction cycle itself. Internet shoppers have their doubts about new retail capacity, and this may be the cycle in which Hawaii builds one shopping mall too many. That leaves residential investment, but the state and counties aren’t rushing to approve new homebuilding, currently the lowest for any 4-year period since 1942-45: only world war yielded less new homebuilding in Hawaii than state and county governments approved since mid-2009 when the recession ended. Meanwhile, an intergenerational battle is shaping up, not just because Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are too generous for Baby Boomers who didn’t make enough babies. People want to age in place, but they live in the wrong place: the suburbs. The prospect of the ratio of older people (65+) relative to working age people (18-64)doubling by 2030 gives new meaning to the expression "old and in the way.” The Politics of NIMBY makes it nearly impossible to think about, not to mention execute, urban redevelopment, but a spatial makeover of Honolulu’s urban core is necessary to sustain mobility for its aging population. If that must happen in the next fifteen years, consider how long it is taking Castle & Cooke to get Koa Ridge approved.

Upside risks include Asian investors. Downside risks comprise the usual Black Swans: geopolitical, biological, meteorological and seismic events. Modern Hawaii experience suggests at least one of these will happen this decade, before taking into account global climate change. All this, and my economic forecast is optimistic!


About the Presenter

Paul H. Brewbaker is the Principal of TZ Economics, a Hawaii consultancy. His background is in research on the Hawaii economy and financial risk analytics from a 25-year affiliation with Bank of Hawaii, concluding as its Chief Economist. He is a graduate of Stanford University and received his Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii in economics. He also did graduate work and lectured at the University of Wisconsin. He frequently lectures in the University of Hawaii system. He is a member of the American Economic Association, the American Finance Association, and the National Association for Business Economics, and is a former President of the Hawaii Economic Association.

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Mailing: P.O.Box 970967
Waipahu, HI 96797
Address: 94-487 Akoki Street
Waipahu, HI 96797

Tel: 808-847-4666

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