Hawaii’s economy continues to show ominous signs of weakness, even as record visitors come to the state and the unemployment rate remains below 3%. The latest troubling data: the state finished last among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in a federal report on economic growth for the second quarter of 2019.
The Aloha State’s gross domestic product grew by a dismal 0.5% for the quarter ended in June. Only New Jersey, which posted GDP growth of 0.7%, came close to claiming Hawaii’s dubious distinction of recording the nation’s slowest growing economy for the period, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis reported.
GDP is the value of the goods and services produced by an economy. Hawaii’s meager growth came as the GDP of every state grew in second quarter, in some cases significantly.
For example, states with significant mining industries grew the fastest, with Texas, Wyoming, Alaska and New Mexico all posting growth rates above 4%. Mining increased 23.5% nationally overall, the bureau reported.
The report came as the economy showed other signs of slowing down heading into 2020. Preliminary numbers reported last week in an earnings conference call by the Honolulu-based shipping giant Matson Inc. predict Hawaii’s population will decline in 2019 for a third straight year, a sign that Hawaii’s high cost of living is forcing people to leave the state for other locations with better jobs and lower living expenses.