Carl Bonham says the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO) believes the state might lose around 30,000 people who will move away because of the island’s economic recession.
Bonham spoke as part of the regular online meeting of the State House Select Committee on COVID-19 on Monday, June 1. He said the economy of other states will recover more quickly than Hawaii’s, because of our state’s high reliance on the tourism economy.
The Governor has already said he will extend the out-of-state 14-day quarantine beyond its current expiration date of June 30. A year ago, around 30,000 travelers a day came to Hawaii; on May 31 that number was 1,469. Most hotels and tourist-facing businesses are closed.
As the State’s unemployment benefits begin to time out, Bonham noted that people may have no way to support themselves. Bonham said UHERO’s analysis shows that people who cannot find work with or without family ties in Hawaii will likely need to relocate to the mainland to find work.
He said the 30,000 drop in population is forecast by 2022, and could be worse depending on how quickly tourism revives.