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Posted: Friday, February 28th, 2014 10:52 AM HST

Economists predict Hawaii GDP to grow 2.9 percent

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) University of Hawaii economists are predicting the state's economy will grow slightly faster as the recovery expands beyond the tourism industry.

The university's Economic Research Organization said in a report Friday Hawaii's gross domestic product is likely to grow 2.9 percent this year, up from 2.6 percent last year.

The report forecasts visitor arrivals will increase less than 1 percent this year. It says the tourism industry boom is over as high costs, lackluster global growth and high occupancy rates restrict growth.

Economist Carl Bonham says the construction industry should continue to grow as new residential condominiums are built and Waikiki hotel rooms are renovated.

The report says employers won't be hiring as many workers, but tighter labor markets and improved profits should boost personal incomes.

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