Gary's Blog

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Maui Good News

Jobless Claims Lowest in 4 Years

Applications for weekly unemployment benefits fell by 5000 to a seasonally adjusted 359,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the fewest applications since April 2008. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, declined to 365,000 the fewest for that measure since May 2008. Applications have fallen roughly 12% over the past six months.

From December through February, employers added an average of 245,000 jobs per month, pushing the unemployment rate to 8.3%,the lowest in three years.

Visitor Arrivals Up

The county of Maui saw visitor arrivals in February total 187,987, a 4.2% improvement over the same month last year. We were within 4% of the all time record high of 195,941 visitors in February 2008. February's numbers are more than 20% above the lows we saw in 2009 and 2010. A 13.1% hike in numbers from Canada boosted Maui’s increase in visitors. And Japanese visitors, although a small segment of arrivals here, increased by 32.1%.

January saw the new record set for visitor spending in Maui County!

Home Sales See Best Winter in Years

The past two months made up the best winter for sales of previously occupied homes in five years, when the housing crisis began.

February sales were at a 4.59 million annual pace, according to the National Association of Realtors. That 13% higher than the sales pace last July, and up 2% from the previous month.

More Good News

  • The economy grew at an annual rate of 3% in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the Commerce Department.
  • The battered housing marked is showing signs of improvement. January and February comprised the best winter for sales of previously occupied homes in five years, according to the National Association of Realtors.
  • Hawaii's Unemployment at 3-Year Low- down to 6.4% for February, the lowest since February 2009. Payroll rose by 2900 in February compared to the same month a year earlier. Maui County unemployment came down to 6.8% from 7.1% in January, Maui Island was at 6.7%, Molokai at 13.3%, and Lanai 3.8%.
  • U.S. Consumer spending rose 0.8% in February, the Commerce Department said, which allowed economists to upgrade their estimates of first quarter GDP growth.

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