The Uniqueness of Hawaii’s Economy

Hawaii is the only Island State in the Union.

As an island state, Hawaii faces many unique micro and macroeconomic challenges not found in the economies on the mainland. Hawaii’s industrial base, labor markets, and intellectual expertise are critical to the State’s economic health and growth. Mainland states can compete for labor and expertise and enjoy a significant cross border transfer of skills among industries.

Due to the high cost of living and remoteness from its nearest neighbor state, Hawaii does not enjoy the same cross border transfer of industrial skills. The trend has been that once an industrial skill leaves, it is lost to the State. If a local industry or labor skill is lost to off-island interest, the ability to replace the industry or capability is difficult at best.

Since the early 1990’s, the ship repair industry in Hawaii has diversified into critical industrial sectors that insures Hawaii’s ship repair industrial base remains robust and viable.


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