Hawaii Economy

Hawaii Economy
Economy of Hawaii

The Hawaiian economy gains most part of its revenue through the tourism, agriculture and manufacturing and service industry. The research and development in oceanography, geophysics, astronomy, satellite communication and biomedicine are some of the activities in Hawaii, which has gained national and international importance.

The cost of living in Hawaii is relatively great when compared to the main land of the United States due to the dependence on import for major goods and the isolation of the state from the major land. Almost all the goods available here has the transportation duty levied on it and is thus costlier. The building materials, the raw materials and many other important things are imported and hence the people have to pay a considerable share of price on the transportation charge.

Major Economic Industries of the Hawaii State

Hawaii is rightly the Mecca of Tourism and every year thousands of people visit this beautiful green island known for its very pleasant climate and the wonderful beaches and surfing areas. Tourism is the largest source of income for the Island and the tourism sector in Hawaii has developed very rapidly after the World War II. The promotion of tourism by the local government and the local businesses and improvement in transportation facility over the period has also helped greatly in the development of Tourism.

The majority of the tourists coming into the island are from the mainland of the United States, Canada, Australia, and some countries of the Far East. The main places of tourist interest are the Hawaiian National Park in the Big Island and the Waikiki and the nearby Ala Maona area in the Oahu. More than fifty percent of the hotels and resorts are concentrated over these areas which are the main tourist spot.

The people coming to the Hawaii islands enjoys the nature and beauty of the island along with the best surfing opportunity, recreational and cultural facility, parks, beaches, golf and tennis courts, good food and most of all the best hospitality treatment. It is the rapid growth in tourism that had helped Hawaii to be the international market centre in the Pacific Basin and leading to a tremendous increase of the US mainland and foreign countries capital investment.


Agriculture is the basis of the economy of the common people and some of the most valuable crops of the island include sugar cane, pineapple, macadamia nut and coffee. Hawaii is the first largest producer of pineapples in the nation and the second in the sugar cane production. Large quantities of Flowers are also produced in Hawaii for the purpose of export to other states and countries. The agricultural products like sorghum, maize and nursery products are showing a very slow but progressive growth. Other crops produced in the State of Hawaii are Avocado, bananas, guava, papayas, tomatoes and many other fruits. Some of the vegetables grown for the local consumption include beans, corn, lettuce, taro, potatoes etc.

Livestock products like beef, hog, dairy and eggs along with the commercial fishing are also an important source of income in Hawaii. The skipjack tuna or the aku is the major fish catch of the island, which forms about the total 50 percentage of the commercial fish catch.

Hawaii Industry

A several hundred of manufacturing companies in diversified field are another major source of income in Hawaii. The leading manufacturing activity in the island is the processing of food items mainly refined sugar and tinned pineapples. Other processed food items includes Hawaiian specialties like the tropic fruit juices, candies, dairy products, jams, jellies, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks. These processed foods are sold locally and are also exported to the mainland of America. However, Hawaii does not have any mineral deposits; the manufacturing plant in the state, which includes oil refineries producing a number of petroleum and various chemical products; steel mill manufacturing unit, cement, aluminum and concrete pipe plant all derive their raw material through the import from the US mainland.

The manufacturing industry is mainly concentrated in the Oahu Island. The garment manufacturers confined to Honolulu produces cotton fabrics, printed materials and apparel which are marketed in the state and are exported to the mainland and other countries. Paper printing, stone, clay and glass products also contribute to the manufacturing sector of the state.

Hawaii Trade and Finance
Though majority of the raw materials and many of the basic needs of life are imported into the Hawaii Island from other parts of the world, the state also actively participate in the export of many manufactured goods and food items. The major export goods of the state are sugar, tinned pineapples, flowers, fabrics, garments, and tinned fish (especially aku tuna).
Hawaii Services
Major part of the states income is from the service industry which also includes the tourism. The defense expenditure of the federal government is the second major income of the state which includes the Army, Navy, Air force and the Marine bases in the county Oahu. Software development, personal services like hotels, private health care and rentals, finance, real estate and insurance are some of the other important service areas in Hawaii.
Hawaii Economy at a Glance
Data Series   Jan
Labor Force Data  

Civilian Labor Force

  633.4 635.1 636.6 636.6 636.9 636.4


  589.8 591.5 592.8 594.0 595.1 596.0


  43.6 43.6 43.7 42.7 41.8 40.4

Unemployment Rate

  6.9 6.9 6.9 6.7 6.6 6.3

Nonfarm Wage and Salary Employment


Total Nonfarm

  584.8 585.8 588.7 591.1 593.6 587.9

12-month % change

  -3.3 -2.5 -1.6 -0.7 0.2 -0.5

Mining, Logging, and Construction

  30.1 29.8 30.7 29.5 31.1 30.2

12-month % change

  -13.0 -11.8 -7.5 -8.7 -2.8 -4.1


  13.4 13.5 13.6 13.4 13.6 13.6

12-month % change

  -5.0 -2.9 -2.2 -2.2 0.0 0.0

Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

  110.5 110.5 111.4 111.9 111.3 111.4

12-month % change

  -2.6 -2.5 -0.5 0.3 0.3 0.6


  8.6 8.7 8.7 8.6 8.8 8.7

12-month % change

  -5.5 -9.4 -7.4 -8.5 -2.2 -4.4

Financial Activities

  27.8 27.9 27.6 27.5 27.4 27.4

12-month % change

  -1.8 -0.7 -1.1 -1.8 -1.8 -1.1

Professional & Business Services

  68.7 69.6 68.5 68.5 68.6 67.4

12-month % change

  -7.0 -4.9 -5.9 -4.7 -4.1 -5.1

Education & Health Services

  75.6 75.9 76.6 77.0 76.9 75.5

12-month % change

  1.1 1.6 2.5 3.4 3.5 1.3

Leisure & Hospitality

  99.7 100.6 101.3 102.6 103.0 103.2

12-month % change

  -2.7 -1.1 -0.1 1.6 2.4 2.8

Other Services

  25.5 25.4 25.7 25.8 26.6 26.4

12-month % change

  -1.9 -3.1 -2.7 0.0 2.7 1.9


  124.5 123.9 124.7 126.4 126.4 124.2

12-month % change

  -2.4 -1.7 -1.3 -0.6 -0.3 -2.0

Mass layoffs


Layoff events, all industries

  9 - 7 7 4 7

Initial claimants, all industries

  735 - 534 672 264 562